Neosporin is the name brand for an antibiotic ointment manufactured by the Johnson & Johnson company that is formulated with neomycin, polymyxin B and bacitracin. It is primarily used to keep infection out of small cuts and abrasions, while promoting healing. Recently, Neosporin has become a favored remedy to heal acne blemishes. While there have been no clinical tests done on the effectiveness of Neosporin on acne (as of 2009), many minor acne sufferers have reported that it has helped heal their acne blemishes and reduce redness.
Acne results when oil, known as sebum, is excreted from glands underneath the skin. The glands are connected to hair follicles that give sebum easy access to the skin’s surface. When sebum collects with dead skin cells, it’s blocked from leaving the follicle. This creates a blockage, known as a comedo. In addition, the blockage stimulates bacteria growth that causes the gland to rupture. When this all happens, the skin becomes inflamed and blemishes pop up on the skin.
Improving Skin Health
It’s advisable that you get into a routine that promotes overall skin health before turning to Neosporin. This means using a medicated cleanser, toner and moisturizer at least once per day, along with daily use of a topical acne treatment that includes active ingredients like benzyl peroxide and salicylic acid on breakout areas. Having a set skin care routine can rid skin of excess bacteria and sebum and decrease the chances of acne breakouts.
Using on Acne
If you find that you still have breakouts even with a regular skin care routine, then trying Neosporin on existing blemishes to promote healing is an alternative to harsher treatments prescribed by a dermatologist. The best way to use Neosporin on acne blemishes is to dab a small amount on an open pimple; however, don't pop or open pimples just to put Neosporin on them. It's best to let pimples heal naturally; but if they don't, Neosporin will work to keep out bacteria and reduce redness in the short-term. Use only when you have an open pimple or blemish that you want to heal quickly--its petroleum oil base can clog pores and make acne worse if used every day.
If Neosporin and other over-the-counter acne treatments don’t work for you, seek professional help. A dermatologist can evaluate your acne problems and recommend a treatment plan that will work for your skin condition and prescribe antibiotics that are specifically designed to fight acne, including Accutane, minocycline and erythromycin.