Selenium Sulfide

[Sə-ˈlē-nē-əm, ˈSəl-fīd]

Trace Elements

Selenium Sulfide for Skin Care Benefits:

Selenium is an essential trace element in humans and animals that can be found in varying quantities throughout the world; the highest currently in South Dakota and parts of China. Selenium’s main function is to serve as a cofactor for intracellular antioxidant enzymes, such as glutathione peroxidase and thioredoxin reductase. This mechanism may serve as the basis for selenium sulfide’s applications in skin care. While selenium is unable to be absorbed by the skin, it serves as a carrier for sulfur to reach the epidermis. 1 Once sulfur reaches the skin’s surface it must be converted to pentathionic acid before exhibiting astringent activity. Studies suggest this oxidation process is facilitated by antioxidants located within epidermal cells, which are assisted by selenium’s cofactor capacity. In doing so, selenium sulfide can effectively help to regulate the skin flora, and reduce flaking and skin discomfort caused by certain microorganisms. Selenium sulfide shampoo, as well as selenium sulfide lotion most often include concentrations of up to 2.5%. 2

  1. Plewig, G. and Kligman, A. Epidermal Turnover of Normal and Dandruff Scalps. J. Soc. Cosmetic Chemists 20, 767-775 (1969)
  2. Mitchell, S. C. et al. The biological activity of selenium sulfide. Sulfur Reports 13.2, 279-289 (1993)
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