When to use (or not use) antibiotics on your skin

Cold weather can be hard on your skin. When your skin becomes dry, as often happens in the winter, it can easily crack and bleed. When caring for a cut or other wound, it might seem logical to apply an antibiotic cream or ointment from the store to fight off germs and prevent infection. However, these antibiotic creams and ointments can irritate your skin even more and cause a painful and/or itchy rash, called contact dermatitis.

Photo by Arina Krasnikova on Pexels.com

“In addition to causing irritation and a rash, the widespread use of antibiotics — including in instances when they aren’t needed — has contributed to a major public health challenge known as antibiotic resistance,” says board-certified dermatologist Dr. Marcelyn Coley, MD, FAAD. “Antibiotic resistance occurs when germs, such as bacteria, develop the ability to survive the drugs designed to kill them. That means the germs continue to grow. This makes infections caused by antibiotic-resistant germs difficult — and sometimes impossible — to treat.”

Most minor cuts and wounds and even surgical wounds do not require antibiotics. The only time antibiotics are typically needed is in the case of an infection. Signs that a wound may be infected include pus; yellow or golden crusts; pain; red, purple or brown skin; swelling or warmth; red (in light skin) or brownish red (in dark skin) streaks; feeling very hot or cold; or having a fever.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s