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Iodine is a chemical element found in the ocean. It is used to treat a number of medical conditions, including iodide deficiency. Often used as an antiseptic to cleanse the skin prior to medical or surgical procedures, it is also used to treat various skin conditions. Sold as tincture of iodine, it is inexpensive and can be used at home.


Full-strength iodine should not be used directly on the skin due to the risk of irritation or burning. Iodine tincture is a mixture of iodine and an acetone/alcohol solution. It is inexpensive to purchase and can be safety used on your skin. De-colorized iodine is another option that is a clear iodine tincture solution.


RIngworm is a superficial fungal infection of the skin. The rash appears as pink, circular rings and can appear anywhere on your body. Apply a small amount of iodine tincture directly to the ringed rash. Allow it air dry, do not cover it with a dressing. Iodine tincture should be applied three times per day. Improvement should be seen within one week. If treatment is unsuccessful or you are not sure if you have ringworm, consult your doctor.


Tincture of iodine can be used to treat minor skin abrasions. Gently clean the area with warm water and soap. Apply iodine tincture to the area and allow it to air dry. This keeps the abrasions free of germs and allows faster healing.

Diabetic Foot Ulcers

Diabetic foot ulcers have shown improvements with the use of iodine applications twice a day. Due to the risk of abnormal healing patterns related to diabetes, consult your doctor before beginning iodine tincture home treatments. Iodine treatment is sometimes used in conjunction with other ulcer treatments.

Keloid Scars

A keloid is a raised collection of scar tissue that grows on the skin. They are caused by an underlying skin infection. Keloid scars vary in size and usually extend beyond the edges of the original infected area. They are not contagious and may be itchy or tender. Apply iodine tincture to the keloid scar once a day and allow it to air dry. Improvement should be seen within five days. If improvements are not seen or if the scar worsens, contact your doctor.


When using tincture of iodine for skin healing, it will stain the skin a brownish-yellow color. Do not use iodine if you have a history of iodine-related allergic reactions and never take it internally. Be sure to notify your doctor if your condition worsens.