One clinical study that looked at whether Neosporin healed scrapes indicated that using this medication plus a bandage helped speed healing faster than using a bandage alone. Neosporin is believed to encourage healing by preventing infection and providing a moist environment. However, these creams and ointments contain antibiotics, which can cause allergic reactions that prevent the wound from healing in some cases.
Does Neosporin Help With Healing?
Neosporin® first aid products contain various antibiotics and, sometimes, a pain-relieving ingredient, depending on the particular product. Many people keep Neosporin in their first aid kits and use it on every cut, scrape, and minor wound in order to prevent infection. A few small studies have shown that Neosporin may help wounds such as scrapes to heal.
Studies on the Healing Effects of Neosporin
One small study compared Neosporin plus a bandage to a bandage alone, or to various antiseptics plus a bandage, on blister wounds that were intentionally contaminated with Staphylococcus aureus bacteria. The blisters treated with Neosporin plus a bandage healed faster than the rest of the blisters that were treated with a bandage alone or with an antiseptic plus a bandage.
One small study looked at whether Neosporin helped reduce scarring after scrapes were intentionally made on the backs of study participants. The medication was compared to gauze use, and it appeared that Neosporin prevented scarring more than just using gauze.
Neosporin likely works to encourage healing in at least two different ways. As an antibiotic, it helps to prevent infection. It also helps provide a moist environment (due to the petroleum jelly and other moisturizing ingredients in the creams and ointments) that promotes healing. Contrary to the common belief that "airing out" a wound is best, it is now known that a moist environment better promotes healing.
Neosporin [Canadian drug monograph]. Mississauga, Ontario: GlaxoSmithKline;2003 April.
Berger RS, Pappert AS, Van Zile PS, Cetnarowski WE. A newly formulated topical triple-antibiotic ointment minimizes scarring. Cutis. 2000;65:401-404.
Leyden JJ, Bartelt NM. Comparison of topical antibiotic ointments, a wound protectant, and antiseptics for the treatment of human blister wounds contaminated with Staphylococcus aureus. J Fam Pract. 1987;24:601-604.
Field FK, Kerstein MD. Overview of wound healing in a moist environment. Am J Surg. 1994 Jan;167(1A):2S-6S.
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