Why did my cheek turn white on applying Selsun blue shampoo?

Q. On application of Selsun blue shampoo, my cheek turned white. Please help.

Answered by
Dr. Thakare Sampada Avinash
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Aug 20, 2016 and last reviewed on: Jul 05, 2023

Hi doctor,

I am a 37 year old male. From my childhood, I had white patches (skin discoloration) that come and go and I was informed that was due to dandruff. I always use moisturizer. I read an online post and I applied Selsun blue shampoo on one side of the cheek where there were light wheatish patch. From the next day, the part started turning white. It has been six months and slowly the white turning into wheatish. But, still it did not entirely match the skin tone. Can you please help me? Is there any cream that I can apply to match my color tone?



Welcome to icliniq.com.

  1. What do you mean by white patches? Was it diagnosed as Pityriasis versicolor or vitiligo?
  2. Please send images. What medications have you used till now?

Thank you doctor,

I am not sure about the diagnosis. But, I was informed that it was because of dandruff in the hair. I used Ketoconazole gel for face for a few days as per doctor's advice. She told me to use it for hair and face. After that, I searched online and applied the Selsun blue shampoo to one of the cheek. After a few days, wherever I applied Selsun blue shampoo the skin had discolored. Please help me fix this as it looks odd. I have attached the picture for your reference.



Welcome back to icliniq.com.

Due to seborrheic dermatitis there can be pigmentation. But, polymorphic pigmentation also can be kept as differential diagnosis. You can apply Tacrolimus ointment 0.03 % daily at night. It will act as an immunomodulator. Yes, it will take some time for repigmentation. Use sunscreen daily. If you have dandruff, then use Scalpe shampoo twice a week that is Ketoconazole 2 % shampoo.

Thank you doctor,

I have not started applying Tacrolimus as I am waiting still to get the medicine. The pigmentation loss only happened after I used Selsun blue on my cheek. As it was winter time, it turned white and slowly more whitish and disappeared but still, some whiteness is there after winter as per the one I attached before. Now that winter is again approaching, I am afraid that I will turn more whitish. Now that my friend is about to mail me the medicine that you prescribed, please also let me know the dosage and its application and any other medications that can be helpful to regain my original skin. Please help me and here is the latest photo of mine.



Welcome back to icliniq.com.

My differential diagnosis is as follows:

  1. Polymorphic light eruption.
  2. Seborrheic dermatitis.
  3. Post-inflammatory hypopigmentation.

I recommend the treatment below. Please consult your specialist doctor, discuss with him or her and start the treatment with consent. Tacroz 0.03% cream (Tacrolimus) once daily for a month. Eumosone-M cream (combination of Clobetasone and Miconazole) at night for 15 days. A very little quantity to be used and not more than 15 days. La shield sunscreen SPF 40 daily in the morning. Continue Aveeno moisturizer as and when required.

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