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.
A skin biopsy is considered a clean surgical wound, unlike a cut sustained outside.
and this Medscape article with information on wound healing.
- Studies are mixed whether antibiotic ointments (like neosporin) work any better than petroleum jelly (like vaseline) on wounds.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Always keep it covered with a clean bandaid for the first 24-48 hrs.