I read on https://millerfamilydermatology.com/things-that-are-forbidden-in-my-house/ (mirror):

1 Neosporin®

Neosporin is a combination of 3 different topical antibiotics-Neomycin Sulfate, Polymyxin B and Bacitracin Zinc. They say you should use it on “every cut, every time” and claim that it will heal cuts and scrapes in half the time. There are two reasons why I have banned Neosporin from my house.

First, non-infected wounds don’t heal any faster with Neosporin than with vaseline, at least not in any credible study that was performed by a 3rd party instead of a drug company. When it comes to simple wound healing, washing the wound with soap and water and then keeping it covered with Vaseline is king. Many products claim faster wound healing, but there aren’t any randomized controlled trials that show a better response than vaseline. Can you think of an easier study to do?

Second, Neomycin sulfate was allergen of the year in 2010. Bacitracin was allergen of the year in 2003. With repeated usage, about 10% of people will develop allergy to either of these topical antibiotics. Using them on open wounds on the legs is particularly prone to cause allergy to develop. When allergies to these antibiotics occur, patients develop a poison ivy like reaction on areas where they use them (like what you see in the photograph featured in this blog post). In addition, some patients with bacitracin allergy have developed anaphylactic shock. Patients with severe neomycin allergies are unable to receive some vaccines.

I never use Neosporin and see no reason to ever use it.​

Should Neosporin never be used?

2 Answers 2


You can look up practically any medicine that exists and you will find long lists of all of the possible side effects, risks and interactions.

Manufacturers have to list everything that could possibly go wrong, in order to cover their butts legally, in this "Caution: Coffee May Be Hot!" world that we live in. Medical companies have to do extensive testing of every product and document possible side effects that might not even be related. The U.S. spends $55 billion/year on liability insurance.

Neosporin (aka Polysporin where I live) is something I always keep on hand. The tiniest scrape could become infected if not kept clean. Use it sparingly and a tube lasts for years.

During that time, the sun is damaging you more than the eating a tube of Neosporin would! Neosporin is 0.0004% medicine and the other 99.9994% is basically Vaseline (to keep it from rubbing off, and as an inert germ barrier.

@Prince states "[Neosporin] is said to speed up healing but most cases prove that Neosporin is actually one of the antibacterial ointments behind the spread of a lethal strain of MRSA".

The "evidence" provided is a lone link to an article written by a self-proclaimed bee-keeping entrepreneur with no medical background, whose primary cause appears to be promoting a movie she directed.

Let's walk through the article's "proof" piece by piece:

  • Antibiotic resistance (MRSA) is bad. It has even killed people. The example given: like vulnerable babies & elderly in India.

  • the author is allergic to one antimicrobial ingredient in Neosporin. This allergy affect 3% of people, which "is similar rate as allergies to other antibiotics, such as penicillin".

  • The referenced 'study' "Antimicrobial Ointments and Methicillin- Resistant Staphylococcus aureus USA300" mentions Neosporin only once, stating that in some cases, patients tried to treat MRSA with only large amounts of Neosporin -- which didn't cure them. I guess that proves there should be a warning on the tube: "Neosporin will not cure life threatening infections. If you have one, see a doctor."

  • When animals eat antibiotics and then humans eat animals, traces of antibiotics might show up in the humans.

  • My favorite part is her tangent about how "in ancient times" people thought consuming Silver would fight infection. Later they realized eating Silver didn't cure them and instead caused different problems. Then in the very next paragraph she recommends using Silver Oxide instead of Neosporin. The only application of Silver Oxide states in Wikipedia is use as an ingredient in batteries. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silver_oxide

  • The article's only link from a doctor is a two-page opinion essay (far from clinical evidence) written by a single doctor stating that people sometimes think they can use Neosporin to treat major illnesses instead of seeing their doctor, including one idiot who's foot was almost amputated after treating a visibly disgusting infection with nothing but Neosporin once a day. Note the category in which the essay is classified (below the document): Entertainment & Humor

So, using the same logic as the author's case against Neosporin:

  1. Gun-crimes kill a lot of people

  2. Nerf guns are a readily-available, gentler form of a gun but sometimes people misuse them and get hurt.

  3. Therefore nobody should ever use Nerf Guns. That will solve the gun-crime problem.

Or one more:

  1. If you have HIV, eating lots of bubblegum doesn't cure you.

  2. Therefore, bubblegum is responsible for the HIV epidemic.


Neosporin has its advantages but also has way too many disadvantages. It is said to speed up healing but most cases prove that Neosporin is actually one of the antibacterial ointments behind the spread of a lethal strain of MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) called USA 300.

So it'll be highly recommended to resist and desist from the use of Neosporin.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.