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What's the Difference Between Rescue Balm and Neosporin?

If you’ve been thinking that Rescue Balm sounds a tad familiar to a beloved antibiotic ointment, you’re not completely off base. Both help speed the skin recovery process by keeping wounds protected and moist. In fact, our co-founder and CEO Ju was actually inspired by the gentle healing nature of Neosporin when she first came up with the idea for Rescue Balm. And during the early phases of research and development, we heard from many customers who were currently using neosporin as a solution for popped pimple scabs.

RELATED READ: It Ain’t Over ‘Til It’s Over: Introducing Rescue Balm

However, there’s a key difference between the two tubes: while antibiotic ointments like Neosporin are formulated to treat wounds and cuts, Rescue Balm was made specifically with breathable ingredients designed for the sensitive skin on and around a just-patched or just-popped pimple. 

The myth of Neosporin as an acne cure

Is Neosporin good for acne? The short answer is no. Neosporin’s trio of antibiotic ingredients (bacitracin, neomycin and polymyxin B) kills bacteria and prevents infections in minor cuts and scrapes, so wouldn’t it also help to kill the bacteria that causes acne? That would seem to make sense, but it actually doesn’t work that way. Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes) is the bacteria that live on our skin and play a key role in breakouts. The ingredients in Neosporin target completely different bacteria and have no impact on P. acnes.

Unfortunately, Neosporin can have the opposite effect and worsen acne. Its petroleum jelly base is super thick. If you are headed out to hit the slopes, it might be okay to put a bit of petroleum jelly on your face as a barrier against the harsh winds. In any other situation (AKA everyday life), however, it will clog your pores and leave your skin gasping for air. It’s far more likely to hurt your acne than help it. 

One exception: infected pimples

There is one scenario where Neosporin ingredients could help with breakouts: when an open pimple or cystic acne has become infected (perhaps when left exposed after an overzealous pimple popping session). If an exposed pimple has come into contact with the type of bacteria that Neosporin does fight (e.g., Staphylococcus aureus), the ointment can help to minimize the spread of infection.

Wait … then how did Neosporin get its acne-healer reputation?

Some people swear by Neosporin for acne scabs. And the truth is, the ointment’s emollient nature can soften and hydrate the dry, flaky skin left behind after a pimple pops. So it’s likely that any improvements shown are due to these moisturizing qualities. Enter the inspiration for Rescue Balm - a skin-soothing balm that tackles post-pimple redness, bumps, and scaly patches without the pore-clogging ingredients. 

Instead of petroleum jelly, Rescue Balm treats popped pimple scabs with panthenol, which is both a humectant and an emollient that smooths, soothes, and speeds up the skin’s natural restorative process. 

A true multitasker

From acne and chapped lips to staving off colds on a plane (Leonardo DiCaprio and Megan Markle swear by this one), people love to try Neosporin for treatments outside of its intended use (cuts, scrapes and burns). Mighty Balm’s replenishing ingredients – panthenol, beta-glucans, and oligopeptides – work together to heal, protect, and hydrate skin irritations beyond popped pimple scabs. 

A hard-working, multifunctional skincare solution, Rescue Balm can also help soothe and repair patches of dry skin, minor skin irritations, redness, razor burn, and small burns from flat irons, straighteners, or curling irons. Plus, since it really does the trick of covering post-pimple flakes and ooziness, it also makes a great primer for makeup. And those are just the effective hacks we know about now - who knows what other innovative uses we may uncover over time? 

To sum it all up, Neopsorin and Rescue Balm are not one and the same. Keep the Neosporin for the cuts and your post-pimple skin clean, clear and healing faster than ever before with Rescue Balm.


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Rescue Balm

The post-blemish recovery cream

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