First Aid antiseptic


Michael Peterson status
Dec 19, 2002
ex-pat Huntington Beach
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The direct answer to your question is Bacitracin or Neosporin, and equivalents like triple antibiotic ointment, are fine antiseptics when used properly. A very very thin coating a couple of times a day for a few days is generally sufficient. Too much is a waste and risks slower healing and possibly skin reactions.

Generally, for minor wounds one should wash the region liberally with soap and water, an antiseptic soap is fine, too. A gentle rinse and dabbing with hydrogen peroxide is wise. Then the thin layer of antiseptic. Cover with a light bandage if not actively bleeding for a couple days changing the bandage/bandaid daily with light cleansing and reapplication of antiseptic. Minor abrasion like reef rash tend to do better open and "dry" but that does include the light layer of antiseptic. As soon as a wound is scabbed over it is wise to continue daily cleansing and use a moisturizing lotion to keep it soft and enhance fast resolution of the scabbing.
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Miki Dora status
Oct 26, 2005
What do you use? I have neosporin, betadine and benzalcromium chloride.

Are any better than the others?

I've had to go to the ER with wounds on two occasions; one a shark bite to my hand, the other a gaff hook through my foot.

On both occasions, the docs soaked the wounds in a basin full of betadine for about 30 minutes, then put some ointment on (don't know what it was), bandaged it and told me to use neosporin thereafter.


Michael Peterson status
Feb 12, 2006
Rotting away on the 405


Michael Peterson status
Nov 15, 2009
Orange County
Petroleum jelly

Had an outbreak from neosporin after some dermatological hacking. Doc was all, oh, just use vaseline, works just as well (uh, so why are we using antibiotic ointments??). studogshrug.
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Kelly Slater status
Apr 11, 2006
Del Boca Vista, Phase III
The day I got my vasectomy I was surfing on the westside of Santa Cruz and sliced the sh!t out of my foot on a barnacle while entering the water. Big chunk out of my heel. I surfed anyway cuz the bleeding stopped and it didn't hurt while I was in the 50F water, waves were good and line-up pretty empty. I didn't realize I had cut my food until I had paddled to the peak and my foot just felt "funny" but did not hurt. Kinda numb.

By the time I got to the urologist's office I was bleeding again and in serious pain. After the procedure the nurse fixed up my foot and gave me the 411 about Neosporin vs bacitracin or polysporin. She said Neosporin for a day to three, then move to bacitracin and/or polysporin, or rotate. Change bandage once a day until the wound is healed. Neomycin can f\/ck up your skin if you use too long.