Is Mupirocin Ointment an Effective Treatment for Acne?

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Acne is a prevalent skin condition that affects people of all ages and genders. With so many different treatments available, it can be challenging to find one that works effectively for each individual.

One potential solution that has gained popularity in recent years is mupirocin ointment. This topical antibiotic is commonly used to treat skin infections but has also been found to be effective in treating acne.

In this article, we will take a closer look at the effects of mupirocin ointment on acne and whether it is a viable treatment option. We will also discuss common side effects and precautions to take when using this medication.

Mupirocin is a topical antibiotic that is used to treat skin infections. It works by inhibiting the growth of bacteria, which helps to prevent the spread of infection.

Common skin problems that mapirocin is used for include:

  1. Killing specific bacteria – Mupirocin is effective against a range of bacteria, including Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pyogenes, and Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).
  2. Treat bacterial skin infections: Mupirocin can be applied topically to treat bacterial skin infections, such as impetigo, folliculitis, and infected hair follicles.
  3. Treating acne – Mupirocin has been shown to be effective in reducing the number of acne lesions when used topically.
  4. Treating infections caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria – Mupirocin has been used to treat infections caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria, such as MRSA, when other antibiotics have failed.

Mupirocin is available in different forms, including cream, ointment, and nasal ointment, and is commonly prescribed by healthcare professionals.

How Many Types Of Mupirocin Are Available?

There are three types of mupirocin available:

  1. Bactroban
  2. Bactroban Nasal
  3. Centany


This is the most common form of mupirocin, which is available as a cream or ointment. Bactroban is used to treat skin infections, including impetigo, infected hair follicles, and other bacterial infections.

Bactroban Nasal

This is a nasal ointment that contains 2.15% mupirocin calcium. It is specifically designed to eliminate Staphylococcus aureus bacteria in the nostrils, which can cause recurring infections such as MRSA.

Bactroban nasal is prescribed to patients who are colonized with MRSA in their nasal passages, particularly those who are at high risk for infections or who have had recurrent MRSA infections in the past. The mupirocin in Bactroban Nasal works by inhibiting the growth of Staphylococcus aureus bacteria in the nostrils, thereby reducing the risk of infection.


This is another type of mupirocin ointment that contains 20 mg of mupirocin as well as oleyl alcohol, castor oil, hard fat, and propylene glycol monostearate. It is intended for external use only and is used to treat skin infections caused by certain types of bacteria, such as Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pyogenes.

Centany is safe for use by individuals between 2 months to 16 years old, as long as it is used under the guidance of a healthcare professional.

Each type of mupirocin is specifically designed to treat different types of bacterial infections. It is important to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the appropriate form of mupirocin for your specific condition.

How Good Is Mupirocin For Treating Acne?

Mupirocin ointment is not typically used as a first-line treatment for acne, but it may be effective in some cases.

The active ingredients in mupirocin specifically target the component responsible for bacterial growth, preventing the spread of bacteria and killing existing acne.

However, it is important to note that mupirocin is not effective against all types of bacteria that can contribute to acne. In particular, it is not effective against the bacteria that cause cystic acne.

Additionally, mupirocin should not be used as a replacement for traditional acne treatments like benzoyl peroxide or retinoids. These treatments work by targeting multiple factors that contribute to acne, including excess oil production, clogged pores, and inflammation.

Mupirocin is best used as an adjunct therapy, particularly for patients who have acne lesions that are infected with Staphylococcus aureus bacteria.

If you are considering using mupirocin for acne, it is important to check with your healthcare professional first to determine whether it is a suitable treatment option for your specific case. Your healthcare professional can also provide guidance on how to use mupirocin safely and effectively, as well as monitor your progress and adjust your treatment plan as needed.

How Long Does It Take For Mupirocin To Work?

The length of time it takes for mupirocin to work varies depending on the severity of the acne and how your skin responds to the medication.

In most cases, you should begin to see improvements within a few days of using mupirocin. If you have mild to moderate acne, you may notice a significant improvement within the first week of treatment.

However, if you have severe acne, it may take a little longer to see results. You may need to use mupirocin for several weeks or even months before you see a noticeable improvement.

It is essential to follow the instructions provided by your healthcare professional and not to stop using the medication prematurely. If you do not see any improvements after a few weeks, it is advisable to consult your doctor or dermatologist.

They may recommend a different acne treatment or a combination of treatments to help you achieve clear skin.

Some Mupirocin Alternatives

There are several alternatives to mupirocin that can be used to treat various skin problems, including:


Neosporin is an over-the-counter antibiotic ointment used to treat minor skin infections. It contains a combination of three antibiotics: bacitracin, neomycin, and polymyxin B.

Neosporin is commonly used to treat open wounds, cuts, and burns. It works by preventing bacterial growth and infection in the affected area. When applied to a wound, Neosporin creates a barrier that helps keep the wound clean and protected from further infection.

However, Neosporin may not be very effective in treating acne because acne is not caused by the same bacteria that Neosporin targets. Acne is caused by an overproduction of sebum in the hair follicles, which can then become clogged and infected by a different type of bacteria.

It is important to note that Neosporin should only be used as directed and for the recommended duration. Overuse of antibiotic ointments like Neosporin can lead to antibiotic resistance and the development of superbugs that are resistant to antibiotics. Additionally, if you have a severe or persistent skin infection, it is important to seek medical attention from a healthcare professional.


Benzamycin is a topical medication that is primarily used to treat acne. It is a combination of two active ingredients: benzoyl peroxide and erythromycin.

Benzoyl peroxide is an over-the-counter antibiotic that has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.

Erythromycin is a prescription antibiotic that also has antibacterial properties and works to reduce inflammation.

Benzamycin is a great option for treating acne because it helps to reduce inflammation and kill the bacteria that contribute to acne breakouts.

The benzoyl peroxide component also helps to unclog pores and reduce the formation of new pimples. Additionally, the combination of these two medications decreases the risk of antibiotic resistance.


Cleocin, also known as clindamycin, is a topical antibiotic that is primarily used to treat mild to moderate acne. It works by inhibiting the growth of bacteria that cause acne, such as Propionibacterium acnes. Clindamycin is available in several formulations such as lotion, gel, and solution.

When used in combination with other acne medications like benzoyl peroxide or retinoids, Cleocin can be highly effective in treating acne. However, it’s important to note that topical clindamycin alone cannot cure acne. You should continue using this medication for the entire duration of treatment, even if you notice improvements in your symptoms after a few days. In some cases, it may be necessary to continue using Cleocin daily for several months or longer to keep acne under control.

Furthermore, the use of topical clindamycin can help reduce the risk of antibiotic resistance, as it only targets specific bacteria and does not affect the entire microbiome of the skin. Overall, Cleocin is considered a great option for acne treatment and is often recommended by healthcare professionals.


Vancocin, also known as vancomycin, is an antibiotic that is primarily used to treat serious bacterial infections such as MRSA, pneumonia, and sepsis. It is not typically used for skin problems or acne, as it is usually reserved for more severe infections that do not respond to other antibiotics.

Vancocin works by inhibiting the growth of bacteria in the body. It is commonly administered intravenously, but can also be given orally for certain infections. While it may not be useful for acne, it is an important medication for treating more serious infections that can be life-threatening. It is important to follow your healthcare provider’s instructions when taking Vancocin and to complete the full course of treatment to ensure that the infection is fully eradicated.

How To Use Mupirocin?

If you have been prescribed mupirocin ointment for acne, it is important to use it correctly to ensure the best possible outcome. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to use mupirocin ointment for acne:

Step 1. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water. This helps to prevent the spread of bacteria and ensures that your hands are clean before applying the ointment.

Step 2. Wash and dry the affected area. Use a gentle soap and warm water to clean the affected area, then pat it dry with a clean towel.

Step 4. Apply a small amount to the affected area using a clean cotton swab. Squeeze a pea-sized amount of mupirocin ointment onto a clean cotton swab, then gently apply it to the affected area. Be sure to cover the entire area with a thin layer of ointment.

Step 5. Cover the area with a sterile gauze dressing or bandage. This step is optional, but it can help to keep the ointment in place and protect the affected area. If you choose to cover the area, use a sterile gauze dressing or bandage to do so.

Can You Use Mupirocin With Other Acne Treatment Products?

Using mupirocin with other acne products is possible, but it’s important to talk to your healthcare provider before doing so.

Mupirocin may interact with other medications or products, causing adverse reactions or reducing the effectiveness of one or both products.

In some cases, mupirocin may be prescribed alongside other topical medications like benzoyl peroxide or retinoids, but your healthcare provider will determine the appropriate combination based on your specific case.

It’s also important to note that using multiple acne products at once can sometimes lead to excessive dryness, irritation, or other skin problems.

It’s best to follow your healthcare provider’s recommendations for acne treatment and avoid using additional products without consulting them first.

What Are the Side Effects of Mupirocin Ointment Used for Acne?

Just like any other medication, mupirocin can have some side effects. It’s essential to be aware of these side effects so that you can recognize them and take appropriate action. Some common side effects of mupirocin include

  • Mild burning, stinging, or irritation at the application site
  • Blisters, rash, and itching
  • Reddening and swelling of the skin
  • Pain and tenderness
  • Dry or cracked skin

These side effects are generally not severe and tend to go away on their own. However, if they persist or worsen, it’s best to seek medical attention.
In rare cases, mupirocin can cause severe side effects that require immediate medical attention. These include

  • Rare side effects of mupirocin include
  • Canker sores,
  • Ulcers or white spots in the mouth
  • Dizziness,
  • Swellings on various body part

If you experience any rare side effects, you should immediately stop using the medication and seek medical attention. If you develop signs of an allergic reaction, such as itchy/swelling tongue or throat, extreme dizziness, rashes, and difficulty breathing, seek emergency medical help immediately.


In conclusion, mupirocin ointment is a topical antibiotic used to treat various bacterial skin infections, including acne. Its active ingredient, mupirocin, works by preventing the growth and spread of bacteria on the skin.

Mupirocin is generally safe to use, but it may cause side effects such as mild burning, itching, and redness. More severe side effects such as canker sores, ulcers, and allergic reactions are rare but can occur.

It is important to use mupirocin ointment as directed by your doctor or healthcare professional, and to complete the full course of treatment even if you start to feel better. Additionally, you should avoid using mupirocin if you are allergic to it or have experienced a severe reaction to any other antibiotics in the past.

If you experience any unusual symptoms or side effects while using mupirocin ointment for acne, you should contact your doctor or seek medical attention right away. Overall, mupirocin ointment is a useful and effective treatment option for acne and other skin infections caused by bacteria.

Abhijit Sarkar

Abhijit Sarkar

Abhijit Sarkar is a passionate automobile engineer and part-time content writer. With his deep interest in skincare and hair care, he brings a unique perspective to the world of beauty. Abhijit's expertise lies in dissecting the science behind various hair and skin problems, providing effective solutions, and sharing practical tips for a healthy and radiant appearance. As a meticulous researcher, he delves into the intricacies of beneficial and harmful ingredients, empowering readers to make informed choices. Through his engaging articles, Abhijit aims to simplify the complexities of hair and skincare, helping readers unlock their true beauty potential.

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