Compare Polysporin vs. Neosporin

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.

Polysporin
(bacitracin and polymyxin b)

Neosporin
(neomycin / polymyxin / bacitracin)

Helps prevent skin infections in small cuts, scrapes, and burns. Polysporin (bacitracin and polymyxin B) is a cheap over-the-counter antibacterial ointment that helps prevent skin infections in small cuts, scrapes, and burns.Helps prevent infection in minor cuts, scrapes, and burns. Neosporin (neomycin / polymyxin / bacitracin) is an effective, over-the-counter, first-line infection prevention in minor scrapes, cuts, and burns.
Reviews & ratings
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Have you used Polysporin (bacitracin and polymyxin b)?
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Have you used Neosporin (neomycin / polymyxin / bacitracin)?
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Side effects
PolysporinNeosporin

The Polysporin FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.

More about Polysporin side effects »

The Neosporin FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.

More about Neosporin side effects »
How it works
PolysporinNeosporin
Polysporin (bacitracin and polymyxin B) is an antibacterial. It kills bacteria by weakening their protective covering and by preventing them from rebuilding it.Neosporin (neomycin / polymyxin / bacitracin) contains three first aid antibiotics that prevent infection by killing bacteria.
Type of medication
PolysporinNeosporin
Over-the-counterOver-the-counter
Available as
PolysporinNeosporin
  • Ointment
  • Powder
  • Cream, ointment, foam, spray
Used for
PolysporinNeosporin
  • Minor Cuts
Risk factors for serious side effects
PolysporinNeosporin
    Detailed Polysporin (bacitracin and polymyxin b) risks & warnings »
      Detailed Neosporin (neomycin / polymyxin / bacitracin) risks & warnings »
      Pregnancy
      Price
      PolysporinNeosporin
      • Polysporin (bacitracin and polymyxin B) is available over-the-counter and as a generic.
      No price related info.
      Upsides and benefits
      PolysporinNeosporin
      • Polysporin (bacitracin and polymyxin B) is available over-the-counter and as a generic.
      • It helps prevent skin infections from forming in small cuts, scrapes, or burns.
      • It is easy to use and causes few side effects.
      • Can help your wound heal faster.
      • Comes in a ointment, cream, foam and spray.
      • Is available over-the-counter.
      • A more affordable generic option is also available.
      • Comes in formulations that can also help treat pain, itch, and scars.
      Downsides and risks
      PolysporinNeosporin
      • Polysporin (bacitracin and polymyxin B) can only be used for small cuts, scrapes, or burns. It can’t be used for large and serious skin infections, deep wounds or cuts, animal bites, or serious burns.
      • It might cause a skin rash in some people.
      • You need to wash your hands before and after using Polysporin (bacitracin and polymyxin B).
      • May not be effective for large or deep cuts.
      Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
      PolysporinNeosporin
      • Only put Polysporin (bacitracin and polymyxin B) on the skin. Do not put it in your eyes, mouth, or nose.
      • You can use this medicine on small cuts, scrapes, or burns, but you shouldn’t use it over large areas of the body.
      • For best results, clean the affected area on your skin and then put Polysporin (bacitracin and polymyxin B) on in a thin layer and rub it in.
      • You can use this medication on your skin 1 to 3 times a day, and you can cover your wound with a bandage.
      • Some people can get a skin rash with Polysporin (bacitracin and polymyxin B). If you get itchy, red, or burning skin stop using this medication and tell your doctor right away.
      • Don’t use Polysporin (bacitracin and polymyxin B) for more than 1 week.
      • Make sure you clean the affected area and dry well before applying Neosporin (neomycin / polymyxin / bacitracin).
      • Wash your hands before and after use.
      • Place a thin layer of Neosporin (neomycin / polymyxin / bacitracin) on the affected area 1 to 3 times daily. You can gently rub in the product.
      • You should put a bandaid or dressing over the affected area to prevent further irritation or bacteria.
      • Do not use Neosporin (neomycin / polymyxin / bacitracin) if it is expired.
      • If your wound does not stop bleeding, seek medical attention.
      Learn more
      More about PolysporinSide effectsFDA package insert
      Have you used Polysporin (bacitracin and polymyxin b)?
      Worth itNot sureNot worth it
      More about NeosporinSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
      Have you used Neosporin (neomycin / polymyxin / bacitracin)?
      Worth itNot sureNot worth it