After a skin biopsy, is it preferable to use vaseline, polysporin, or neosporin? Preferable in terms of scar, allergies, or anything else that one might expect the patient to care about.

1 Answer 1


A skin biopsy is considered a clean surgical wound, unlike a cut sustained outside.

See this from the American Academy of Dermatology

and this Medscape article with information on wound healing.

  1. Studies are mixed whether antibiotic ointments (like neosporin) work any better than petroleum jelly (like vaseline) on wounds.
  2. For clean wounds, it seems minimal to no difference. There is a little more evidence for neosporin benefit in wounds acquired in dirty circumstances, and in partial thickness burns.
  3. That article, as well as all dermatologists I work with, recommend sterile petroleum jelly (or antibiotic ointment) to REDUCE SCARRUNG - for which vaseline is superior to using nothing, and it may also heal faster. I apply sterile petroleum jelly on patients after I perform biopsies.
  4. Since it has medication in it, antibiotic ointment can have more side effects (like allergic reactions); although those are rare, it's not without risk. Petroleum jelly has no active ingredients and is unlikely to cause any reaction at all.
  5. Always keep it covered with a clean bandaid for the first 24-48 hrs.

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