Neosporin: preventing scars? or worsening them?
Neosporin: Preventing Scars? Or Worsening Them?
Know Your Facts Before Reaching for an Anti-Scar Ointment
I was left with a terrible gash down the front of my leg. While I should've been concerned with whether or not I could walk or needed a brace, the biggest thing running through my mind (after "oh dear, that's a lot of blood") was "oh no! I'll have a huge scar there, now!" Yes, not my deepest, nor proudest, moment. But, there we have it.
After cleaning myself up and treating the wound, I gave it a nice coating of Neosporin in the hopes that it would help heal without a scar. The box said it'd minimize scars, so that's what I left it to do. Each day, I continued treating my wound with Neosporin and covering it back up with bandages.
After several days, I didn't really see an improvement. I checked in to a clinic to make sure that everything was healing correctly, and was promptly scolded by the physician there for using Neosporin. He told me that I was making it worse.
My world came crashing down. What? I wanted to heal! I wanted my skin to be beautiful, flawless, and scar-free! How could he suggest that I stay away from the very thing that was advertised to help me?
So, it turns out that many people are actually allergic to the Neosporin that advertises itself as scar-minimizing. I'm one of them. For people like me, an allergic reaction is very difficult to see, but it inflames the area and actually aggravates the skin as it tries to heal, increasing the likelihood of scarring. I didn't hurt more than normal, I didn't itch, and I didn't break out into hives, so I had no clue that my body was reacting poorly. I just knew that it wasn't healing as quickly as it should have and that the wound was a little puffier and redder than it had been. For others, symptoms might be harder to dismiss, like hives.
For those who are allergic to Neosporin, there's an alternative called Bacitracin that will help the body heal without causing a secondary reaction. Why use Neosporin, then? Why not use Bacitracin and be done with it? Well, then again, you might be one of the people who are allergic to Bacitracin. You'll need to test it out on your own, paying close attention to how your body reacts. Ask your doctor for a recommendation based on your medical history and reactions.
I'm scarred. I don't mind it now, years later, when I can think of it as character-building. As a conversation piece. However, if I could go back in skin-deep time, I'd find out more about anti-scarring ointment before I slathered myself with it religiously.