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Bactroban Ointment for Pimples

author image Shelley Moore
Shelley Moore is a journalist and award-winning short-story writer. She specializes in writing about personal development, health, careers and personal finance. Moore has been published in "Family Circle" magazine and the "Milwaukee Sentinel" newspaper, along with numerous other national and regional magazines, daily and weekly newspapers and corporate publications. She has a Bachelor of Science in psychology.
Bactroban Ointment for Pimples
Many topical solutions are available for treating pimples and acne. Photo Credit: robertprzybysz/iStock/Getty Images

Mupirocin antibiotic ointment, available as the brand Bactroban, is used for healing bacterial skin infections. Although a certain species of bacteria has a role in acne, particularly in regard to inflammation, Bactroban ointment is not indicated for treating pimples. Consult a qualified health-care provider about preferred topical solutions for pimples and acne treatment.

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Bactroban Function

Bactroban ointment reduces levels of bacteria on the skin by inhibiting bacterial protein synthesis. It doesn't work for treating skin infections caused by viruses or fungi. Bactroban ointment is effective against a wide range of gram-positive bacteria and certain gram-negative bacteria. Its effects on certain species of staphylococcus and streptococcus bacteria make it useful for treating impetigo and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, known as MRSA, according to U.S. National Library of Medicine website DailyMed.

Pimples and Acne

Pimples typically develop when your body overproduces skin oil, or sebum. This oil, along with dead skin cells, clogs pores. The clog traps bacteria, including Propionibacterium acnes, the species connected with acne. Because P. acnes is an anaerobic bacterium, it thrives in this oxygen-deprived environment, where it multiplies and causes inflammation.

Bactroban and P. Acnes

P. acnes is part of normal skin flora, or the community of bacteria that normally lives on the skin. It generally does not create problems except in the particular circumstances involving pimples. Applying topical antibiotics or taking oral antibiotics are some of the most effective treatments for acne, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. However, while mupirocin is effective against many types of bacteria, it is not effective at eliminating bacteria that are part of normal skin flora, explains the 2006 book "Goodman and Gilman's The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics."

Effective Solutions

While Bactroban ointment will not help treat your pimples, several other topical treatments have antibiotic activity and can heal mild to moderately severe inflammatory acne. If you are experiencing occasional pimples or only a small number of them, benzoyl peroxide might be your best option. This substance is a common ingredient in over-the-counter medications for treating pimples and acne. For more bothersome cases of acne, prescription topical antibiotics include azelaic acid, clindamycin, erythromycin and sodium sulfacetamide. Ask your doctor whether any of these treatments are right for you.

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