Skin infection ointments, also called topical antibiotic ointments, are available over the counter and by prescription. Each antibiotic kills a specific type of bacteria; therefore, most medicines contain a combination of antibiotics that kill a wide range of bacteria, according to TheFreeDictionary By Farlex.
Antibiotics found in ointments are neomycin, bacitracin, mupirocin and polymyxin B. Some over-the-counter medicines that contain a combination of these antibiotics are triple antibiotic ointment, Polysporin and Neosporin. Prescription ointments include mycitracin triple antibiotic, states MedlinePlus.
Topical antibiotics are used to prevent infections from minor cuts, burns and scrapes. When infections occur, treat them with an oral medication. Apply ointments within four hours after the injury occurs. Before applying ointment, wash and dry the injury, and follow the instructions on the label to apply the correct amount. Do not apply antibiotics to large areas of skin or open wounds, and do not use them more than three times per day, recommends MedlinePlus and TheFreeDictionary By Farlex.
Use the medicine only until the injury heals, because long periods of antibiotic use can cultivate treatment-resistant strains of bacteria, explains TheFreeDictionary By Farlex. Do not self-treat serious wounds; have the wounds examined by a physician. Serious wounds include deep cuts, animal bites, eye injuries and large burns.