Topical Antibiotics

Good question, but according to Pr Log, topical antibiotics happen to be excellent for the treatment of acne. Clindamycin and Erythromycin are the two most common topical antibiotics used for the treatment of acne. Topical antibiotics are also used for the treatment of other skin ailments such as rosacea, perioral dermatitis, shaving bumps, and other acne-like skin problems.

As it turns out, topical antibiotics (like Neosporin, bacitracin, or triple antibiotic ointments that contain polymyxin, and bacitracin) are typically prepared in a petroleum jelly base and applied to a wound underneath a bandage.

These types of topical antibiotics are excellent for promoting healing by keeping the wound moist, decreasing scar formation by promoting more rapid epithelialization of the wound base (if the laceration is small), and they help keep bacteria and other contaminants out, so if applied correctly and under a bandage, they can be quite effective.

So, in the face of this evidence, it would seem that topical antibiotics are actually excellent for the promotion of healing minor cuts and abrasions rather than being bad for you, right? Well, for the most part, but there are some precautions which should be observed when you use antibiotic creams or ointments for the prevention or treatment of infection.

Widespread use of antibiotics have caused a number of organisms to become antibiotic-resistant, this causes antibiotics to be less effective, and forces drug companies to need to develop new products to still be effective on the rapidly adapting bacteria that antibiotics target. If you use antibiotic cream on every little cut and scrape, this may help to contribute to antibiotic resistance.

Another cause of antibiotic resistance is persons not completing a prescription. If prescribed oral or topical antibiotics you should use the entire prescription as prescribed by the physician, if not this will contribute to the organisms becoming resistant to the medications. Just because you feel better or the wound looks better doesn”t mean the bacteria has been killed off entirely, and any remaining may become resistant to the medication should it be passed on to someone else, then if they and the next person and so-on do the same, the organism becomes very resistant. If this process continues, one certain strain of bacteria may become impervious to any known antibiotic.

Here’s the bad news, according to Dr. Margaret Chan, Director General of the World Health Organization, Dr. Margaret Chan stated when speaking at a conference in Copenhagen that common infections could “once again become deadly”, as in the time before modern antibiotics. She further stated, that “antibiotic resistance could bring about the end of modern medicine as we know it. We are losing our first-line antimicrobials,” she stated in her keynote address at the conference on combating antimicrobial resistance. “Replacement treatments are more costly, more toxic, need much longer durations of treatment, and may require treatment in intensive care units. Chan said hospitals have become “hotbeds for highly-resistant pathogens” like methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, “increasing the risk that hospitalization kills instead of cures.” ABC News

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The biggest problem with this is that the pharmaceutical companies may not develop new drugs to combat these infectious bacteria as short term medications are not profitable enough to develop, and, unfortunately, they are in it for the money. Without these medications there will be no more surgery, people may die from a simple wound that normally would have been nothing. During the civil war, more men died from infection caused by, rather than directly from, bullet wounds. We would experience times such as this again without modern antibiotics.

So in summary, to address the original question of “are topical antibiotics bad for you?” The answer is, in the short term they are good for healing minor cuts and abrasions, but if misused in the long term, they may do far more harm than any good.

 

HealthStatus Team

HealthStatus has been operating since 1998 providing the best interactive health tools on the Internet, millions of visitors have used our health risk assessment, body fat and calories burned calculators.The HealthStatus editorial team has continued that commitment to excellence by providing our visitors with easy to understand high quality health content for many years.
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One thought on “Are Topical Antibiotics Bad For You?

  1. Sasha

    Hi,
    I use topical tetracycline for Rosacea as the oral tetracycline really upsets my stomach. I have been using tetracycline topically for 6months now & notice if l miss a couple of applications my Rosacea starts to show again. How long is to long to use topical antibiotics? Can topical antibiotics become sytemic?

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