Medicine
Fact-checked

At TheHealthBoard, we're committed to delivering accurate, trustworthy information. Our expert-authored content is rigorously fact-checked and sourced from credible authorities. Discover how we uphold the highest standards in providing you with reliable knowledge.

Learn more...

How Do I Choose the Best Antibiotic Ointment?

Choosing the best antibiotic ointment involves understanding your specific needs, considering any allergies, and knowing the active ingredients. Look for reputable brands and consult with a healthcare professional for personalized advice. Remember, the right ointment can prevent infection and promote healing. Curious about which ingredients work best for different types of wounds? Let's explore the options together.
Madeleine A.
Madeleine A.

Choosing the best antibiotic ointment depends on whether a brand name is desired, or if a store brand will suffice. In addition, some people prefer ointments that contain pain relievers. An antibiotic ointment is a topical preparation used to prevent infections from minor skin irritations. Typically, this ointment is used for minor abrasions, cuts, insect bites, or burns, and should never be used on deep wounds or wounds that cover a large portion of the skin.

An antibiotic ointment can contain one or more antibiotics such as neomycin, polymyxin, and bacitracin. The combination of these three antibiotics are often referred to as a triple-antibiotic ointment. Before using the ointment, the area should be thoroughly cleaned with warm water and a mild soap. After the ointment has been applied, the area should be covered with a sterile bandage or dressing. The bandage not only helps keep bacteria out of the wound, it also helps the skin absorb the product better.

Signs of an infection may include fever and chills.
Signs of an infection may include fever and chills.

Sometimes, despite the application of an antibiotic ointment, an infection will develop. Symptoms of a skin infection can include pain, redness, inflammation, and an increase in temperature at the site. Occasionally, pus formation is present, and if advanced, the infection might cause a fever, chills, muscle aches, and nausea. When these symptoms occur, the health care provider needs to be notified because an oral antibiotic may be needed.

Veterinarians may use antibiotic creams on dogs and cats who have sustained minor skin irritations.
Veterinarians may use antibiotic creams on dogs and cats who have sustained minor skin irritations.

Topical antibacterial preparations are also available in antibiotic creams. The active ingredients are typically the same, however, the cream form is generally less greasy. Some topical antibiotics also include pain relievers, such as lidocaine, which is a topical anesthetic. Although generally tolerated by most people, this kind of ointment can cause side effects or allergic reactions. These include local redness, inflammation, and burning. If these side effects occur, the ointment should be discontinued and the health care provider notified.

A tube of antibiotic ointment.
A tube of antibiotic ointment.

Antibiotic creams and ointments are available at grocery stores and drug stores. Store brands are usually less expensive than brand names, even though the ingredients are usually the same. In some instances, the health care provider will recommend a prescription-strength topical antibiotic, but an over-the-counter strength is usually effective for most minor skin wounds. Veterinarians often recommend using antibiotic creams for dogs and cats who have sustained minor skin irritations, but they should never be used by pet owners unless suggested by the veterinarian.

You might also Like

Discussion Comments

fBoyle

I like ointments with antibiotic ingredients and natural antiseptics like witch hazel, vitamin E and aloe vera. I feel that they are more beneficial. Cuts and scrapes seem to heal faster with these. I especially recommend ointments with vitamin E.

bluedolphin

@literally45-- I was wondering the same exact thing last week. I actually compared the ingredients list of several antibiotic ointments at the store. What I discovered was that the well known brand did have an extra ingredient that the cheaper brand did not have. So I ended up getting the well known brand because I felt that it will work better. I suggest that you do the same. If you find a cheaper, generic brand that has the same exact ingredients as a more expensive brand, go ahead and buy the cheaper one. The name doesn't matter, it's the ingredients that matter.

I don't want to sound like I'm advertising a brand, so I won't mention the name. But the ointment I'm using is a double antibiotic ointment with polymyxin and neomycin. It works great.

literally45

Do well known brands and generic brands contain the same ingredients? I need an antibiotic ointment that's very effective. The generic brands are cheaper but I'm not sure if they work as well as popular brands.

Does anyone have a suggestion?

Post your comments
Login:
Forgot password?
Register:
    • Signs of an infection may include fever and chills.
      By: Lucky Dragon USA
      Signs of an infection may include fever and chills.
    • Veterinarians may use antibiotic creams on dogs and cats who have sustained minor skin irritations.
      By: Monkey Business
      Veterinarians may use antibiotic creams on dogs and cats who have sustained minor skin irritations.
    • A tube of antibiotic ointment.
      By: Tinga
      A tube of antibiotic ointment.
    • Some topical antibiotic creams also contain pain relievers.
      By: Coprid
      Some topical antibiotic creams also contain pain relievers.
    • Triple antibiotic ointment protects the skin and heals wounds.
      By: 2xSamara.com
      Triple antibiotic ointment protects the skin and heals wounds.
    • Wounds should be monitored closely in case they don't respond to antibiotic ointments.
      By: lzf
      Wounds should be monitored closely in case they don't respond to antibiotic ointments.
    • Most wounds needs to be covered with a sterile dressing.
      By: casanowe
      Most wounds needs to be covered with a sterile dressing.