Bacitracin Antibiotic Uses

Updated February 21, 2017

Commonly used for topical applications, bacitracin is produced from a type of bacteria known as Bacillus, which has antibiotic properties. Bacitracin is sold in pure form, in which only mineral oil and petrolatum are added, and it is used as an ingredient in more complex topicals. Those with skin allergies who are more prone to reactions from additional ingredients often prefer pure bacitracin. Have a tube of bacitracin in your medicine cabinet at all times for quick treatment of minor skin problems.


After cleaning, treat superficial cuts, scratches and scuffs regularly with bacitracin to prevent infection. Apply bacitracin liberally with a cotton swab. If you use your finger to apply bacitracin, wash your hands thoroughly beforehand. Apply bacitracin before changing bandaging, and in between as needed. Treat deeper wounds with bacitracin as they heal, but only after first consulting a doctor.


Treat superficial to second-degree flash, fire or hot water burns with bacitracin to also prevent infection. Apply bacitracin to burns at least once a day, while also keeping affected areas clean. Consult a doctor for deep or severe burns.


Treat skin problems that are already infected with bacitracin to stop the infection. The antibiotic properties of bacitracin give it the ability to prevent as well as to clear up infections. Bacitracin can be used in conjunction with other treatments. Apply bacitracin to an affected area continuously until, and for a bit after, the infection clears.


Apply bacitracin over new tattoos until the tattoo heals to prevent infection and to help retain moisture in the skin. A new tattoo should also be cleaned regularly. Tattoo artists typically advise using bacitracin for three to five days after receiving a tattoo. Do not apply a bandage over a tattoo, as the bacitracin ointment is sufficient and the tattoo needs air to heal.

Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Mason Howard is an artist and writer in Minneapolis. Howard's work has been published in the "Creative Quarterly Journal of Art & Design" and "New American Paintings." He has also written for art exhibition catalogs and publications. Howard's recent writing includes covering popular culture, home improvement, cooking, health and fitness. He received his Master of Fine Arts from the University of Minnesota.