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A 18-year-old female asked:

Is neosporin or petroleum jelly a better antibacterial ointment?

3 doctor answers8 doctors weighed in
Dr. James Ferguson
Pediatrics 48 years experience
Petroleum jelly has no significant antibacterial effect beyond acting as a barrier to their location. As a barrier it can be helpful. If germs are trapped under a layer of petroleum jelly they are free to multiply and cause infection..
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
Dr. Yvette Kratzberg
Pediatrics 26 years experience
Neosporin is an antibacterial ointment. Petroleum Jelly just helps to maintain moisture in order to prevent scarring. For a wound, beginning with neosporin helps to prevent infection. After a few days, switching to petroleum jelly helps to keep the skin moist and elastic and will allow the wound to heal with less scarring.
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
Dr. Patricia Allamon
Family Medicine 16 years experience
The up to date wound guidelines are to clean the wound when it occurs with peroxide or soap and water. After that, daily with soap and water. Neosporin with neomycin does cause allergy and delayed healing in may people. The standard of care is to start with white petroleum. If you have a nasty cut, animal bite, the recommended over the counter antibiotic ointment preferred is plain Bacitracin.
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.

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Last updated Apr 24, 2022

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