It is a widely held belief, and oft-advertised property of neosporin that its use reduces scarring, especially as opposed to other triple antibiotic ointments.

For example: Livestrong

Neosporin is a popular antibiotic first aid ointment used on minor cuts, scratches, etc. According to the manufacturer, using Neosporin can help minimize the appearance of scars when the injury heals.

Is there any scientific basis behind this claim?

1 Answer 1


Yes, at least compared to simply dressing wounds, specifically to abrasive wounds, there are studies supporting the claim. Neosporin is the "triple-antibiotic" ointment comprised of polymyxin B, bacitracin, and neomycin (source). A clinical study from June of 2000 reports that the combination minimizes scarring.

The triple-antibiotic ointment was superior to simple gauze-type dressing alone in minimizing the scarring observed in dermabrasion wounds.

Abstract linked here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10879311

  • 7
    The real question, do the ingredients have any effect, or is it the petroleum base that keeps the wound moist? We know that moist wound healing is good.
    – Sam I Am
    Apr 22, 2012 at 3:57
  • Important to note that the first author listed in the study above works for Hill Top Research, Inc. which is a private company that does testing for the "personal care" chemical industry. Given the amount of bad science the pharmaceutical industry uses to push toxic products to the public, I'd be careful accepting "research" from places like this. They often pay these research mills to generate "evidence" that their products work. Not saying that's necessarily what happened here, just warning folks not to blindly accept a claim because "there is a study that supports it" ...
    – J. Taylor
    Jun 21, 2016 at 18:33
  • ... because in addition to this study, there are also numerous studies (from more reputable sources than a for-profit research mill) documenting the harms that come from overuse of antibiotics, such as fostering growth of antibiotic resistant bacteria (MRSA). Neosporin and other strong antibiotic ointments are totally unnecessary for minor wounds.
    – J. Taylor
    Jun 21, 2016 at 18:42

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .