Side effects include hair loss, irritation of the skin, weakness, and feeling tired. Use is not recommended in children less than 2–5 years old. Use in pregnancy or breastfeeding has not been studied. Selenium disulfide is an inorganic compound with the chemical formula SeS2.
Structure of 1,2,3-Se3S5, illustrative of selenium sulfide.
Selenium disulfide has a composition that approximates to SeS2 and is sometimes called selenium sulfide. However, as used in proprietary formulations, it is not a pure chemical compound but a mixture where the overall Se:S ratio is 1:2. The compounds are Se–S rings containing a variable number of S and Se atoms, SenS8−n.
Many selenium sulfides are known as indicated by 77Se-NMR spectroscopy.
Selenium monosulfide, along with elemental selenium and sulfur, has been used in medicinal preparations in the past, causing confusion and contradiction as to exactly what form selenium is in any given topical preparation.
^Cyclic selenium sulfides R. Steudel, R. Laitinen, Topics in Current Chemistry, (1982), 102, 177-197
^Pekonen, Pentti.; Hiltunen, Yrjō; Laitinen, Risto S.; Pakkanen, Tapani A. (1991). "Chalcogen ring interconversion pathways. 77Se NMR spectroscopic study of the decomposition of 1,2,3,4,5-Se5S2 to 1,2,3,4,5,6-Se6S2 and 1,2,3,4-Se4S2". Inorganic Chemistry. 30 (19): 3679. doi:10.1021/ic00019a022.
Grover, R. W. (1956). "Diffuse Hair Loss Associated with Selenium (Selsun) Sulfide Shampoo". JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association. 160 (16): 1397. doi:10.1001/jama.1956.02960510023006.
Givens, T. G.; Murray, M. M.; Baker, R. C. (1995). "Comparison of 1% and 2.5% Selenium Sulfide in the Treatment of Tinea Capitis". Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. 149 (7): 808–11. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1995.02170200098016. PMID7795774.