|Educational/Dermatology - Potassium permanganate |
Potassium Permanganate Topical Solution, a disinfectant that must not be forgotten
Potassium Permanganate (chemical formula KMnO4) Topical Solution is one of the most useful disinfectants and it is used by many dermatologists.
How does it work
It works as an oxidant therefore particularly active on bacteria; it is an astringent agent and has both anti-inflammatory and anti-itch activity. This is a unique property that no other antiseptic displays, ie Hydrogen peroxide is an oxidizing agent as well, but it has an irritative effect on wounds; ie Chlorine and Derivatives are excellent disinfectants but they exert also irritative activity.
When to use
Disinfectants are usually applied on wounds, ulcers, bedsores, or dermatitis; in all these cases potassium permanganate topical solution with its antiseptic, astringent and anti-inflammatory activity is unreplaceable. Dermatologists recommend its application both on wounds / ulcers and dermatitis. On Wounds / ulcers it is used as a compress to be left in place for a long time according to instructions of the dermatologist.
Its use in Dermatitis
In Dermatitis it is primarily used as a sanitizer replacing the common washing with water and detergents that worsen dermatitic processes. In these cases, the Potassium Permanganate Topical Solution washing is called "dry-washing " because the purpose is wetting the skin as little as possible to avoid dermatitis worsening.
In order to proceed with a correct “dry-washing” it is recommended to soak a cotton cloth with the solution (see formula) and squeeze out the solution until the cloth is barely damp. Then rub gently the skin for cleansing and disinfecting. You can wash your hair in this way if you suffer from scalp dermatitis. It is also useful to remove make-up or for face cleansing if you suffer from eyelid or face dermatitis.
Its use in eczema and burns
The Potassium Permanganate Topical Solution is the dressing for all eczema or allergic dermatitis because of its anti-inflammatory and antipruritic properties. In burns it is the ideal disinfectant because it acts as an antiseptic as well as an astringent by reducing pain. Other disinfectants do increase pain.
Safety of use
Despite all the positive properties, the Potassium Permanganate Topical Solution is little used. This is due on one side because pharmacists believe, wrongly, that it is a poisonous substance. Actually, when ingested it causes severe gastric irritation, but the dermatologic dilution has no toxicity. The safety profile of Potassium Permanganate Topical Solution is very high and anyway higher than the majority of disinfectants.
The preparation - formula
Potassium permanganate, once sold in 250 mg tablets, today must be prepared by the pharmacist and the unit dose is 125 mg.
The solution must be prepared at home according to the following instructions: