Potassium permanganate is a highly caustic chemical, a strong oxidizer, and can be very harmful to tissues. It is also a poison. Its use for self medication is safe only in liquid form with solutions containing not to exceed 0.04 percent of potassium permanganate. Weak dilutions are safe for use in topical and external applications to the skin only.
It is commonly used as a disinfectant because of its excellent bactericidal and fungicide properties. It is also used as an algaecide and molluscicide. Its toxicity in its pure chemical form is rated as highly toxic by the acute rating from the US EPA product label. It is not listed as a carcinogen, as a human reproductive and developmental toxin, or as a chemical which can cause endocrine disorders in any watch list by a major health organization.
On the other hand, it is included in the Pesticide Action Network (PAN) list of Bad Actor Pesticides. To be included in this list, a chemical or pesticide should be any of the following: an identified or potential carcinogen, a reproductive or developmental toxicant, a neurotoxic cholinesterase inhibitor, a recognized groundwater contaminant, or a chemical with high acute toxicity, as designated by the US National Toxicology Program, the US EPA, or the WHO.
Potassium permanganate is commonly used as a treatment for skin conditions such as eczema, canker sores, dermatitis, acne, vaginal thrush, vulvovaginitis, and urine infections. Preparing a potassium permanganate bath is a popular remedy for dermatological conditions. It is also used as a wet soak for open sores and blistering wounds. For hair dye allergies, compresses of 1/5,000 potassium permanganate solution can be applied to the affected area.
Again, the need for accurate solution preparation is very important. Potassium permanganate baths must be around the 1/10,000 ratio which results to pleasant pink colored bath. For wet soaks, your solution must be 1/1,000. For severe cases of athlete’s foot, prepare a 1% potassium permanganate hot foot soak solution since it is also an effective fungicide and may just be the treatment you are looking for!
Potassium permanganate has extensive treatment for many conditions. Nonetheless, you should exercise caution when preparing your solutions because this chemical has a high toxicity rating to avoid poisoning. Use only the exact proportions as directed by the label for your treatments and solutions.
Still, it’s not all about the good things; there have been reports that potassium permanganate is used to induce abortion by introducing granules or tablets into the vagina. This is not an effective abortion method resulting to serious and painful damages to the walls of the vagina producing open sores, massive bleeding and infection.
It is also very important that it should never be swallowed because of its caustic and oxidizing capacities. Children who are given potassium permanganate baths and soaks are always under competent adult supervision. In event of ingestion, provide first aid and seek medical attention immediately.
With regards to its potential to cause harmful effects to humans, manufacturers are subjected to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act which states that potassium permanganate for human use are for prescription sale only. Labeling must have clear warnings to the possible effects.
Remember to use potassium permanganate explicitly per label directions. Misuse and over usage can lead to damaging consequences. Using potassium permanganate as an alternative for many medical conditions especially skin disorders should be done with caution since it is a highly toxic chemical and can cause poisoning.
On slightly different note, potassium permanganate is known to leave unsightly and annoying stains on your towels, flannels and even the bath tub not to mention your nails and skin. These can easily come off using an efficient household cleaner. As for the nails, just wash thoroughly with water and mild soap and you’re good to go.