Potassium permanganate is a strong oxidizing agent with some disinfectant properties. It has been used in a 1% to 5% solution as a drinking water disinfectant and for washing fruits and vegetables.
Potassium permanganate is an odourless dark purple or almost black crystal or granular powder in its raw state.
Bacterial inactivation can be achieved with moderate concentrations and contact times (45 minutes at 2 mg/L, 15 minutes at 8 mg/L).
What is potassium permanganate used for?
A weak solution applied to the affected skin is useful to help dry up wet, exudative dermatoses such as:
- Weeping eczema
- Impetiginised eczema
- Blistering skin conditions such as pemphigoid.
Permanganate solution was a traditional treatment for fungal infections, but topical azoles (e.g. clotrimazole) and allylamines (e.g. terbinafine) are more effective and cosmetically acceptable.
A 1 in 10,000 dilutions of potassium permanganate can be a cheap and effective treatment for infected eczema, impetigo, and other skin ailments.
Essential notes on preparation:
- Dilution with warm water to a final use concentration of 1 in 10,000
- Mixing should be performed with a gloved hand to help facilitate the dilution or dissolve the tablet completely before use.
- The final solution should be a light pink color.
- The solution and tablets should be stored securely out of reach of children