Is there an over-the-counter antibiotic cream?

Reviewed by:
Dr. Robert Kwok
Director of Health Informatics
Last updated on December 2, 2021 UTC

If you’re wondering if you can get an over-the-counter antibiotic cream, the answer is yes!

But before you rush out and buy one, ask yourself: Am I sure I need this?

Antibiotic creams can come in handy in the right situations. But they’re probably used more often than they need to be, and that can lead to problems much larger than a minor cut.

Read on to learn more about topical antibiotics and when to use them.

What topical antibiotics can you get over the counter?

The two most common antibiotic creams are bacitracin and polymyxin. These are most commonly recognized under their brand names Neosporin and Polysporin, respectively.

These creams help prevent bacterial infections and are intended for use on deep cuts. 

You don’t need a topical antibiotic for every cut

Contrary to what you may have learned growing up, not every cut calls for a dab of Nesporin.

If you have a minor cut or abrasion, it’s usually enough to wash it thoroughly with hand soap and put a bandage on it. Reach for the bacitracin or polymyxin when it’s beyond a simple scratch but not to the point where you need stitches. (If you’re not sure, clean and cover the wound and call a doctor.)

Antibiotic creams should be used sparingly because overuse can lead to antibiotic resistance.

Are there prescription antibiotic creams?

Yes. Your HealthTap doctor could diagnose and prescribe antibiotics online for:

  • Mild acne.

  • Diaper rash.

  • Eczema.

Still have questions?

We are here to help! Talk to your HealthTap doctor today to get all your health concerns addressed. 



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