Is It Safe To Put Neosporin In Your Nose?

Have you ever noticed how your skin changes when the temperature drops? That's because in the winter — when the weather is cold and the air is dry — moisture is often leached from our usually-supple skin. Couple that with the forced heat we keep pumping indoors at all times, and you've got the perfect environment for dry, cracked skin. Some areas are more susceptible to this kind of reaction than others – but few are more irritating than the nose.

When we go from breathing in cold, dry air outside to breathing hot, dry air inside, it becomes increasingly harder for our nasal passages to produce enough mucus to keep our nostrils properly moisturized (per U.S. News). This can cause fragility in the membranes of the nose — which can lead to cracking, irritation, bleeding, and an invasion of pesky and unwelcome germs. When this same sort of cracking happens on our cuticles, you might reach for Neosporin to keep the wound well moisturized and the bacteria at bay. But can you do the same when the cut is inside your nose? Let's find out.

How Neosporin helps

Neosporin (sometimes referred to as triple antibiotic ointment) is a popular over-the-counter ointment that employs the use of neomycin, polymyxin, and bacitracin (per GoodRx). These three antibiotics work together to prevent infection and promote healing in minor scrapes, cuts, and burns. Just like you might use Neosporin on a scraped knee, you can also use it to treat cuts inside and around the nose.

Healthine explains that when we breathe, the nose acts as a "filtration system" for bacteria. So when we have a small cut inside the nose, it becomes especially susceptible to infection. However, a 2012 study published in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology found that using triple antibiotic ointment in the nose can reduce the amount of bacteria buildup in the nose. Scabs also have a harder time healing when the skin is dry, as epithelial cells need moisture to slide across our skin and seal it back together. When you apply Neosporin to a wound inside your nose, you're supplying those cells with enough moisture to get the job done (per Ohio State University).

How to use Neosporin in the nose

Applying Neosporin to a cut inside your nose is much like applying it to any other part of your body. Healthline explains that you should always start with clean hands. After washing with soap and water, squeeze a small amount of triple antibiotic ointment onto a cotton swab or pad before gently applying it to the inside of the nose — being careful not to reach too far up the nostril. Once the wound is covered, discard the cotton swab or pad, wash your hands once more for good measure and enjoy the sweet relief of a well-lubed nasal passage. Neosporin can safely be reapplied to your nose up to three times a day (unless your doctor says otherwise).

It's also worth noting that while Neosporin is safe and effective if you have a minor wound inside your nose, using it as a way to deter illnesses like the flu and COVID-19 is totally ineffective. Despite rumors that Neosporin's ability to prevent bacteria build-up in the nose can ward them off, these types of illnesses are caused by viruses — and not bacteria.