Polysporin & Eczema


Eczema is an itchy and often painful skin condition, and if you scratch it long and hard enough, you can break the skin. This can lead to infection. If you're not careful what kind of infection medication you use, you can actually make the situation worse. Some dermatologists recommend polysporin for infections associated with eczema.


Eczema, also called atopic dermatitis, is part of a constellation of allergic conditions that are very common, especially in infants and children. It is a skin condition that manifests itself in dry or blistered patches, often in the folds of skin such as the inner arm or the back of the knee, but it can appear anywhere on the body. There is a particular kind of eczema that shows up in blisters on the hands. Children can outgrow eczema, live with it permanently or, uncommonly, it can begin later in life. Many people who have eczema also have allergies and asthma.


Polysporin is a blend of antibiotics in an ointment. You use polysporin to heal cuts, scrapes and skin infections. If your eczema has become broken and infected, you should wash and dry the affected area and apply polysporin as often as your doctor directs. The infection should heal in a few days.


If any new skin symptoms occur such as swelling, scaling or hardening of the skin or if you notice symptoms of a secondary infection (for example, the affected area does not seem to be healing or begins to weep), stop using polysporin and tell your doctor. If you develop swelling of the face, mouth or throat, you are having a serious allergic reaction to polysporin and must seek emergency medical help immediately.

Polysporin vs. Neosporin

Neosporin may be your first thought when you realize a patch of eczema has become infected. It contains the same ingredients as polysporin--bacitracin and polymyxin--but Neosporin also contains an ingredient called neomycin. Many eczema sufferers are also allergic to neomycin, which can cause a new, more widespread outbreak of eczema.

After the Infection Clears

You can treat the broken skin where you scratched your eczema--this may be called a fissure in which the skin has split open--with hydrocortisone cream over the polysporin ointment. Hydrocortisone softens the damaged skin, allowing healing to take place. You should also use a hypoallergenic moisturizer to keep the skin soft.

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