Do you know your OTCs? Part 2

07/08/21 By Dana Szymkowiak

As we covered in Part 1, no matter how careful you are, minor injuries or irritations are bound to happen. Cuts, scrapes, and burns don’t just hurt. These minor injuries can turn into bigger problems if they become infected. You may turn to over-the-counter (or OTC) products to help. These drugs are all used in similar ways, but they contain different active ingredients. One product may be better than the other for some people.

First-Aid Antibiotics

Perform an everyday task like cooking or gardening, and you might end up with a cut, scrape, or burn. If not properly cleaned and treated, these injuries can become a breeding ground for bacteria and germs. Once these organisms enter a wound, they can cause an infection. If left untreated, an infection may lead to severe health concerns. First-aid antibiotic medicines are used to help prevent infection in minor skin injuries. First-aid antibiotics are topical medicines available in a spray, ointment, or cream. When it comes to over-the-counter products, it’s especially important to read the ingredients. Many of these products may have the same or similar brand names but different active ingredients.


This medication is used to prevent minor skin infections caused by small cuts, scrapes, or burn and belongs to a class of drugs called Antibacterials, Topical. Bacitracin works by stopping the growth of certain bacteria. 


Neomycin belongs to the family of medicines called antibiotics. Neomycin topical preparations are used to help prevent infections of the skin. Similar to bacitracin, neomycin does not allow the bacteria to grow and prevents the infection from spreading.

Bacitracin, Neomycin and Polymyxin B 

Bacitracin, Neomycin, and Polymyxin B, also called triple antibiotic, is a combination antibiotic medicine used to help prevent skin infections. Using a triple-antibiotic ointment can help some abrasions heal quicker and with less pain at first. However, it can sometimes cause contact dermatitis, an allergic reaction characterized by redness, itching, and burning of the skin. In most cases, one of the three antibiotic ingredients is the cause of the allergic reaction, and you should contact a physician. 

First-Aid Antiseptics

Even a tiny, seemingly insignificant cut can lead to severe infection if not kept clean. First aid antiseptics are medicines used to help reduce your chances of getting an infection from a minor skin injury. First aid antiseptics, like all OTC medicines, contain certain active ingredients that make them work on the human body. 

Benzethonium chloride

Benzethonium chloride is a synthetic quaternary ammonium salt. This compound is an odorless white solid soluble in water. It has surfactant, antiseptic, and anti-infective properties, and it is used as a topical antimicrobial agent in first aid antiseptics. 

Camphorated phenol

Camphorated phenol is an antiseptic liquid containing camphor and phenol. These two ingredients, used in combination, treat pain and itching associated with conditions such as minor burns, cold sores, insect bites, itching skin, and mild sunburn.


Chloroxylenol is a substituted phenol that has been widely used for many years as an ingredient of antiseptic. It is also commonly used in antibacterial soaps, wound-cleansing applications, and household antiseptics, creams, and ointments.

Hydrogen peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is a mild antiseptic that releases oxygen when applied to the affected area. The release of oxygen causes foaming, which helps to remove dead skin and clean the area.

Open wounds can become infected from the bacterial colonies present on the skin. Practicing proper wound care can help reduce the risk of infection and help promote faster healing. Treating a minor cut or scratch is mostly about keeping it clean and avoiding infection. While many OTC topical medications are available to help wounds heal by keeping out infection, always read the Drug Facts label carefully. The label tells you everything you need to know about the medicine, including ingredients, uses, dosage amount, and when you should not use the product.

Made in America, for America

Driven by our firm commitment to high-quality products, Safetec manufactures over-the-counter (OTC) products in our FDA-regulated facility and is in complete compliance with OTC monograph requirements. Click here to view Safetec’s full line of first aid ointments, creams, gels, and sprays.

With over 20 years of experience as a full-service, private label manufacturer, Safetec has developed a team of highly qualified in-house experts to work directly with our customers, ensuring the best products for their brands. With all of our services under one roof, Safetec takes private label projects from product ideation through shipping seamlessly. Learn More about Safetec Private Label.