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5.4 Products To Avoid

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This article is from the Piercing FAQ, by Anne Greenblatt with numerous contributions by others.

5.4 Products To Avoid

Antibiotic And Medicated Ointments

Over-the-counter antibiotic ointments and creams containing any
combination of bacitracin zinc, Neomycin, and Polymyxin-B.

These products do not cleanse the piercing. Their petrolatum (oil)
based formulation can clog the piercing, making cleansing more

As determined by the US Food and Drug Administration, antibiotic
ointments are contraindicated for use in puncture wounds or for use
beyond one week.

Prolonged use of neomycin encourages development of neomycin-resistant
strains of Staphylococci bacteria.

Some people are highly allergic to bacitracin zinc.


Brand names AC 2000, Bacticlens, Hibiclens, Hibiscrub, Hibitane,
Savlon, Spectro Gram 2

Containing 2 to 4% chlorhexidine gluconate. Intended only for hand
washing and pre-surgical skin antisepsis. Very irritating and drying.

Ingredient warnings: "For external use only. Irritative skin reactions
may occur. Generalized allergic reactions to chlorhexidine have also
been reported. Patients with ear drum perforation should avoid use
near ear canal. Avoid usage near the eyes."


Hibiscrub, http://home.intekom.com/pharm/zeneca/hibscrub.html
Savlon, http://home.intekom.com/pharm/pharmedica/savlnsol.html
Spectro Gram 2, http://www.rxmed.com/monographs/spectro2.html


Hydrogen peroxide has limited antiseptic effectiveness and damages
dermal cells.


Intended as an antiseptic for use on intact skin only. Isopropyl
alcohol has limited antiseptic effectiveness and is very irritating
and drying.


Brand names Betadine, Triadine

Povidone Iodine is an antimicrobial antiseptic. Intended for
pre-operative skin antisepsis and as a first aid
antiseptic. Contraindicated for use in puncture wounds or prolonged
use. Prolonged use may cause dermal cells to lyse (over-saturate and
rupture) as well as skin discoloration.

Used to cleanse skin prior to piercing.

Some people are allergic to povidone iodine; an allergy to shellfish
is a predictor. Prolonged use may cause an allergy.


Contact Dermatitis Home Page. List of antiseptics and further

Farley, Dixie. "OTC Options: Help for Cuts, Scrapes and Burns" FDA
Consumer Magazine, May 1996, http://www.fda.gov

Ovington, Liza G., PhD. "A Cleanser is not a Cleanser is not a
Cleanser" http://woundcare.org/newsvol3n1/prpt3.htm


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