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To the Editor:—
The suggestion by Dr. Cornbleet, "Cutaneous Stains Removed with Chemical Depilatories" (The Journal, page 573, Nov. 1, 1947), indicates that an old, convenient, reliable and safe method for removing cutaneous grime and stains is not as familiar to physicians today as it was forty years ago. It used to be, and presumably still is, also in common use by some mechanics, chemists, dyers and others whose work leaves their hands grimy and stained.It consists of washing with a solution of potassium permanganate, rinsing with water, washing with a solution of sodium bisulfite, Na2S2O5 (not bisulfate), and finally rinsing with water until the skin no longer feels slippery.The potassium permanganate oxidizes the sebaceous and other loose organic matter on the skin, loosening the grime. It also oxidizes and decolorizes practically all organic dyes and pigments including merbromin ("mercurochrome"), sodium ethylmercurithiosalicylate ("merthiolate"),
Tuckerman LB. CUTANEOUS STAINS. JAMA. 1948;136(9):643. doi:10.1001/jama.1948.02890260051020