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A friend used potassium permanganate solution to treat tinea on the hands/feet but after some initial success, the tinea seems to be making a comeback. Could the fungus develop resistance to potassium permanganate?

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I hardly doubt it. The desinfective effect is based on the production of reactive oxygen species. The problem is that the solutions used for this purposes are not very stable. Did you always use fresh (or at least relatively fresh) solution or did you get it once and used it for the whole time? – Chris Mar 17 '14 at 17:26
@Chris, aha, you may be onto something there, the solution was mixed once and then used over a few days, so maybe it lost it's efficacy over time. – Jarnal Mar 17 '14 at 17:57
It is also possible that the fungus could have produced ROS scavengers to survive. What percentage of KMnO4 ?? – WYSIWYG Mar 18 '14 at 8:30
@WYSIWYG, roughly 5 grams to 5 liters of water, ( so about 0.1% solution? ) . What would be effective strategies to overcome the ROS response. Would (a) increasing the sol. strength and/or (b) increasing the duration of submersion and/or (c) increasing the frequency of submersion (number per day) help? Of the three, (b) and (c) would appear to minimize the skin corrosion/discoloration and hence be preferable to (a). Thanks for your input. – Jarnal Mar 18 '14 at 16:41
@WYSIWYG The cells definitely have some enzymes to overcome ROS. Thats why you have to use relatively fresh solutions, otherwise the cells can handle them. – Chris Mar 21 '14 at 9:09

2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted
  1. I don't think a fungus would develop resistance to something so quickly.

  2. As Chris suggested in the comments, it could be because "The disinfective effect is based on the production of reactive oxygen species. The problem is that the solutions used for this purposes are not very stable." So, if fresh solution haven't been used, it may be ineffective.

  3. As commented by @inf3rno, fungal infections could be much deeper and hence, "treating" them superficially may not help much.

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If it would be effective, it has no use, because it affects only the fungus which is on the surface of the foot. Fungal infections can be much deeper... – inf3rno Jun 24 at 16:19

Fungi cannot develop resistance that quickly. Potassium permanganate is only used to clean wounds. Therefore, the reimmerging of the fungus may be because it wasn't killed in the first place. I suggest antifungal cream should be used generously to kill the roots of the fungus in his hands/feet.

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The OP is not asking for medical advice. We discourage both asking for and giving medical advice. – WYSIWYG Jun 24 at 9:28

protected by Chris Jun 25 at 8:21

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