First-Aid Antiseptics

What Are First-Aid Antiseptic Medicines For?

Most of us consider minor skin injuries such as cuts, scrapes, and burns to be just a part of life. To the untrained eye, these simple abrasions may appear somewhat trivial. But if not kept clean, even a tiny, seemingly insignificant cut can potentially lead to a serious infection. First-aid antiseptics are medicines that are used to help reduce your chances of getting an infection from a minor skin injury.

How First-Aid Antiseptic Medicines Work

First-aid antiseptics, like all over-the-counter (OTC) medicines, contain certain active ingredients that make them work on the human body. The product’s active ingredients, including how much of a substance is in each dose, are listed first on the Drug Facts label.

First-aid antiseptics are available in topical forms like liquid solutions, sprays, medicated wipes, wet compresses, salves, lotions, ointments, creams, and powders. These medicines should only be used on the outer surface of the body. When applied directly to the affected area, first-aid antiseptics keep the surface of the injury clean and help prevent the growth of bacteria, which could lead to a possible infection.

First-aid antiseptic active ingredients include:

  • Benzethonium chloride
  • Camphorated phenol
  • Chloroxylenol
  • Iodine
  • Povidone-iodine

First-aid antiseptics may contain additional active ingredients that treat pain and irritation.


All of the tips for the safe use of OTC first-aid antiseptic medicines also apply to children. But there are some additional considerations when it comes to treating kids.

  • Talk to a healthcare provider before using a first-aid antiseptic medicine on a child under the age of 2.