Which is better neosporin or bacitracin

Bacitracin vs. Neosporin: Which Is Better For Me?

Cutting your finger, scratching your toe, or burning your arm doesn't just hurt. These small injuries can lead to bigger problems if they become infected. You can turn to an over-the-counter (or over-the-counter) product to help. Bacitracin and Neosporin are both OTC-compatible topical antibiotics used as first aid to prevent infection from minor abrasions, wounds, and burns.

These drugs are used in a similar way, but contain different active ingredients. One product can be better than the other for some people. Compare the key similarities and differences between Bacitracin and Neosporin to help you decide which antibiotic might be better for you.

Active ingredients and allergies

Bacitracin and Neosporin are both available in ointment form. Bacitracin is a branded drug that only contains the active ingredient bacitracin. Neosporin is the brand name of a combination drug with the active ingredients Bacitracin, Neomycin and Polymixin b. There are other Neosporin products available, but they contain different active ingredients.

One of the main differences between the two drugs is that some people are allergic to Neosporin but not to bacitracin. For example, neomycin, a component of Neosporin, has a higher risk of causing allergic reactions than other components of either drug. Still, Neosporin is safe and works well for most people, like bacitracin.

It is especially important to read the ingredients for over-the-counter products. Many of these products may have the same or similar brand names but different active ingredients. If you have any questions about the ingredients of an over-the-counter product, it is better to ask your pharmacist than to guess.

What you do

The active ingredients in both products are antibiotics, so they will help prevent infection from minor injuries. These include scratches, cuts, scrapes, and burns on the skin. If your wounds are deep or heavier than minor scratches, cuts, scrapes, and burns, talk to your doctor before using either product.

The antibiotic in Bacitracin stops bacterial growth, while the antibiotics in Neosporin stop bacterial growth and also kill any bacteria that are present. Neosporin can also fight against a larger number of bacteria than bacitracin.

Active ingredientsBacitracinNeosporin
Polymixin bX

Side effects, interactions, and warnings

Most people tolerate both bacitracin and neosporin well, but a small number of people will be allergic to both drugs. An allergic reaction can result in a rash or itching. In rare cases, both drugs can cause a more serious allergic reaction. This can lead to difficulty breathing or swallowing.

Neosporin can cause redness and swelling at the wound site. If you notice this and you are not sure if it is an allergic reaction, stop using the product and call your doctor right away. If you think your symptoms are life threatening, stop using the product and call 911. However, these products usually do not cause any side effects.

Slight side effectsSerious side effects
itchingDifficulty breathing
hastilydifficulties swallowing

There are also no known significant drug interactions for Bacitracin or Neosporin. However, you should only take the medication according to the instructions on the packaging.

Use of the ointments

How long you use the product depends on the type of wound you have. You can ask your doctor how long you should keep taking bacitracin or neosporin. Don't use either product for more than seven days unless your doctor tells you to.

You use Bacitracin and Neosporin in the same way. First, clean the affected area of ​​your skin with soap and water. Then apply a small amount of the product (about the size of your fingertip) to the affected area one to three times a day. You should cover the injured area with a light gauze bandage or sterile bandage to keep dirt and germs out.

When to See a Doctor

If your wound has not healed after seven days with either medication, stop using it and contact your doctor. Let your doctor know if your abrasion or burn worsens, or if it has resolved but returns within a few days. Also call your doctor if you:

  • develop a rash or other allergic reaction such as difficulty breathing or swallowing.
  • ringing in the ears or having difficulty hearing.

Major differences

Bacitracin and Neosporin are safe antibiotics for most people's small skin wounds. A few key differences can help you choose one of the two.

  • Neomycin, a component of Neosporin, is associated with a higher risk of allergic reactions. However, any of the ingredients in these products can cause an allergic reaction.
  • Both Neosporin and Bacitracin stop bacteria from growing, but Neosporin can also kill bacteria that are present.
  • Neosporin can treat more types of bacteria than bacitracin.

Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about your individual treatment needs. They can help you decide whether neomycin or bacitracin is a better fit for you.