What’s Wrong With Neosporin?

Written by:

Maia James

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This blog entry is part of our “What’s Wrong With” series, which profiles a different product each week and gives you the bottom line on its safety. Think of these as cheat sheets for our more comprehensive Safe Product Guides.

Felix has perpetually skinned-knees, busted lips, and various gashes on his face and body during a summer of scootering, biking, rock climbing, and lots of running on concrete. The use of antibiotic creams such as Neosporin or Bacitracin seems like the obvious treatment for these injuries, but using these products is more than just unnecessary.

Antibiotic cream for run-of-the-mill scrapes, cuts, and stings should be avoided because:

  • It’s often not needed. Cuts heal on their own, and recent evidence even suggests that dirt contains beneficial bacteria that may help them heal. (I read about this in the super mainstream Parenting Magazine, by the way.)
  • It can cause skin irritation. About 25% of users experience this, sometimes severely.
  • It may prevent the body from building natural immunities. We’ve all heard of the “hygiene hypothesis,” which asserts that lack of exposure to pathogens increases the incidence of autoimmune disease.
  • It contains petroleum. Neosporin consists of several antibiotics suspended in a petroleum jelly base. Dr. Oz advises us to “steer clear of any products that list petroleum jelly or mineral oil on the ingredient list. The European Union has banned many petroleum jelly products, and experts are concerned they could be linked to cancer. Women with breast cancer have twice the levels of hydrocarbons (substances found in petroleum jelly) in their breasts than women who haven’t had breast cancer.”
  • Perhaps most importantly, the global overuse of antibiotics is causing the emergence of super-resistant organisms which are threatening the well-being of all of us. The Mayo Clinic warns us that “nearly all significant bacterial infections in the world are becoming resistant to commonly used antibiotics. That’s why the decisions you make about using antibiotics—unlike almost any other medicine you take—have far-reaching consequences.”
  • Important: Always check with your doctor about the best way to treat injuries. I am not a doctor!

A Better Bet for Boo Boos

There are safe and effective alternatives to Neosporin. Sierra Sage makes a very popular Green Goo, which includes a blend of healing and antiseptic herbs (such as comfrey leaf and vitamin E) and essential oils. I recently had a mega bruise on my shin and a cocktail party to attend. I smeared Green Goo all over the bruise, doubtful that it would really make a difference. Surprisingly, the bruise cleared up within two days. Was it the Goo? I can’t say for sure, but it definitely seemed like it to me. Green Goo works for sunburns, bug bites, dry skin, open wounds, and blisters.

If you and your kids are doing summer correctly, there are many bumps and scrapes in your future! We are staying away from antibiotic creams in our house. (Ok, I have to admit when I pick a zit I still sometimes put some Neosporin on because this was my habit in high school–but the next time I do this I’m using Green Goo instead!)

This week only Green Goo is on sale when you use the code GIMMEGREENGOO at checkout.

Stay sane,

Maia, Founder & CEO

Note: This article contains affiliate links or sponsored content, which means that if you make a purchase, we may earn a commission. We only recommend products that meet our strict standards for non-toxicity and that we use (or want to use!) ourselves. Thank you so much for supporting the brands that make Good Stuff! 

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Leave a Reply

  1. Robert Loblaw Avatar
    Robert Loblaw

    Goodness, quoting a quack like Dr. Oz is a surefire way to torpedo any credibility.

  2. HellofromBrussels Avatar

    It is absolutely false that the European Union has banned petroleum jelly and mineral oil products. Vaseline is available in any grocery or drug store, and these ingredients are still used in very safe, favorite European brands, e.g. Avène, La Roche Posay, La Mer, etc. There is a reason why these brands and their products have an international cult-following with no adverse side effects. Do what’s best for you and your families, but don’t listen to these lies.

  3. Huss Avatar

    I can’t attest for that green goo. I’ve never used it but I found that neosporin helped with body odor issues. I spread a little on trouble areas like feet, ears, groin, and pits and haven’t dealt with any particularly strong odors since. Will it work for everyone or anyone? I don’t know. In theory, it should since it kills bacteria responsible for creating body odor. I try to use it sparingly because I don’t want to culture superbugs that’ll just grown immune to the neosporin. I typically add it after a shower and then leave it alone until months or so down the road if I do come across the issue again.

  4. Fran Avatar

    This is not a clinical review. It is an advertisement. Sad these are allowed to be published as clinical reviews.

  5. Dianna Avatar

    Immediately stopped reading at “Dr. Oz.”