Neosporin is a petroleum-based triple antibiotic ointment which contains bacitracin, neomycin, and polymyxin. It is available over the counter at pretty much any pharmacy and fights a wide variety of infections which can occur in small cuts, scrapes or burns. Neosporin is therefore found in many first aid kits. It is also used by some people to treat acne, but this is not recommended for reasons which will be outlined a little later in this article.
Despite Neosporin’s popularity, many people are allergic to neomycin. The most common side effects are itching, pain, rash, swelling, and redness. Allergic reactions to ointments are more common in older people and neomycin allergy is more common in people with poor circulation. Allergic reactions can prevent wounds from properly healing. Many people are looking for the best Neosporin alternatives.
Polysporin and Mupirocin
Polysporin is a common option. It is made up of the antibiotics bacitracin and polymyxin B and is available over-the-counter from most pharmacies. It helps prevent skin infections when applied to small cuts, scrapes, or burns but should not be used, for large, deep or serious injuries. Polysporin is easy to use and causes few side effects.
The bacitracin in Polysporin can also trigger allergies but the likelihood is significantly lower than that associated with Neomycin. People who are allergic to Neosporin may therefore be prescribed Polysporin.
Another option is Mupirocin. It is available under the brand names Centany and Bactroban as well as a generic formulation. Mupirocin prevents infection and promotes healing. It is only available by prescription and can kill more bacteria than many over-the-counter antibiotics.
Avoiding anti-biotic overuse
It is important to note that while antibiotic ointments are generally considered safe and helpful for minor wounds they should not be overused. There is global concern among medical professionals about increasingly antibiotic-resistant bacteria. You may therefore want to give non-antibiotic ointments a try the next time you get a minor scrape. These include white petrolatum, Aquaphor Healing Ointment and Nutrasporin which is a chelated silver oxide.
Some people have started using Neosporin to treat or prevent acne. Some even suggest using it as a face moisturizer. However, this can cause problems. The petroleum the ointment prevents the skin from breathing and creating moisture. Clogging your pores in this way is likely to make acne worse, not better. Using Neosporin on large areas of your skin consistently is also not advised since it breaks down the skin’s natural protective layers. The skin then becomes more vulnerable to irritants.
It is also believed that acne-causing bacteria are becoming resistant to the usual antibiotics. This could be due to over-prescription and other over-use. Doctors are beginning to move away from antibiotic treatments because of this. This is another reason you may want to consider finding alternative and dermatologically proven acne treatments. Finding the right solution for your acne can be challenging but if over-the-counter treatments don’t work, you should see a specialist.
Finding the correct treatment for acne
Commonly prescribed acne treatments include Dapsone, retinoids, and combined oral contraceptives. Dapsone is a gel which is most effective when used with a topical retinoid. Retinoids are derived from vitamin A and available in the form of creams, gels and lotions. They are available by prescription only and common brand names are Retin-A, Differin, Tazorac and Azage. When applied to the skin, they help to unclog pores and allow other creams and gels to work better. They also reduce acne breakouts by preventing dead cells from clogging pores. The two functions mean they also help prevent the development of acne scars. Since retinoids are strong, they are only used in cases of moderate to severe acne.
Whether you use Neosporin for cuts and scrapes or on your face for acne, you need to know there are alternatives out there. If antibiotics are absolutely necessary, opt for Muprirocin or Polysporin. Otherwise, seek out the best Neosporin alternatives which don’t contain antibiotics. Since Neosporin was not designed for treating acne, you should avail yourself of a more appropriate treatment.