If you have a minor cut, scrape or burn, an antibiotic ointment (like Neosporin) may help the wound heal faster and less painfully. However, if you don’t need to use an antibiotic ointment to treat the wound, do not apply it. Instead, wash the wound, keep it covered, and change the bandage often.
If the wound is deep or dirty, cover it with a bandage, rolled gauze or a piece of gauze held in place by paper tape. Keeping the wound covered keeps dirt out and prevents a scab from forming. Change the bandage at least three times a day and whenever it becomes wet or dirty.
Once the wound is clean, apply a thin layer of first-aid antibiotic ointment (like Neosporin or Bacitracin) to help prevent infection. Avoid using antiseptics like iodine or hydrogen peroxide, as they can irritate the skin and delay wound healing. Also, don’t use a topical antibiotic that contains benzocaine, as it can cause allergic reactions in some people. If a rash develops around the area of the injury, stop using the antibiotic ointment. Instead, use petroleum jelly (Vaseline) to keep the skin moist and promote healing.