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Does Mupirocin Help or Hurt Acne?

Mupirocin, previously known as pseudomonic acid A is a topical antibiotic cream or ointment that works by preventing the growth of specific bacteria. 

Bacteria causes acne, and mupirocin is an antibiotic, making it an effective acne treatment. But the success of the treatment depends significantly on the individual, their kind of acne and the prescription. 

This article will do a deep dive into the types of mupirocin, its side effects, and how to use mupirocin for pimples. 

What is Mupirocin Used For?

Mupirocin is used;

  • To kill specific bacteria or prevent their growth and spread
  • To treat bacterial skin infections
  • The removal of Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) from the nose. 
  • The treatment of acne
  • To treat infections caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria

Does Mupirocin Alter Hormone Levels? 

There isn’t enough clinical research to suggest that mupirocin can alter hormone levels. However, it is very unlikely that mupirocin usage would affect hormonal levels. 

Popular Types of Mupirocin 

There are three popular types/brands of mupirocin;

  1. Bactroban
  2. Bactroban Nasal
  3. Centany 


This is the most common of the three. Bactroban contains 2% mupirocin-free acid in an oil and water-based emulsion.  

This type of mupirocin is for external use only. 

Bactroban Nasal 

Just as the name implies, this mupirocin is administered through the nose with the help of a tube. This type of Bactroban is used to fight drug-resistant bacteria in the nose. 

Bactroban nasal (mupirocin) contains 2.15% mupirocin calcium, paraffin and a mixture of glycerin esters. 


Centany contains 20 mg of mupirocin, oleyl alcohol, castor oil, hard fat and propylene glycol monostearate. Centany Mupirocin ointment is for external use only. It is also safe for people between 2 months to 16 years old. 

How Mupirocin Helps Acne

Bacteria can occasionally cause acne, and mupirocin is an antibiotic. This simply means that mupirocin is a medication that fights, kills or prevents the growth of bacteria, including the ones that cause acne. 

Mupirocin contains certain acids that target the component responsible for multiplying bacteria. Mupirocin hinders the ability of this component, which in turn prevents the spread of the bacteria. And this process is what kills present acne and prevents incoming acne. 

It is essential to know that the success of mupirocin for acne varies among people. It may work for some while it won’t work for others. The good news is that most people who use mupirocin for pimples are happy with the result. 

Unfortunately, this result can sometimes be short-lived as bacteria can become antibiotic-resistant. You may also be faced with disturbing side effects, which is why you have to consult a healthcare professional to help you weigh the pros and cons of this drug. 

Mupirocin Side Effects

Mupirocin has several side effects that can occur when in use. Some of these side effects will require you to seek medical attention and stop using the medication immediately. The common side effects of mupirocin include the following; 

  1. Mild burning/stinging and irritation
  2. Developing blisters, rash, and itching 
  3. Reddening and swelling of your skin
  4. Pain and tenderness
  5. Having cracked, or dry skin

Although these side effects are common, you are advised to see your doctor if these side effects don’t disappear after a couple of days or if they get worse. 

Rare or uncommon side effects of mupirocin include; 

  1. Canker sores
  2. Ulcers or white spots in the mouth, tongue or lips
  3. Dizziness
  4. Hive-like swellings on various body parts- face, hands, feet, etc. 
  5. Fever
  6. Having a tight feeling in the chest
  7. Exhaustion

Another rare side effect of mupirocin is a critical intestinal condition caused by a bacteria called C. difficile. Symptoms of this condition are blood or mucus in stool, non-stop diarrhoea, stomach pain or cramping. 

Although uncommon, some people can get an allergic reaction to this medication. The telltale signs of an allergic reaction are itchy/swelling tongue or throat, extreme dizziness, rashes, and difficulty breathing. 

Are there any medications mupirocin Cannot be combined with?

Yes, there are several medications that cannot be combined with mupirocin because the outcome could be disastrous. These medications include: 

  • Warfarin
  • Phenprocoumon
  • Fluindione
  • Oxymetazoline
  • Estetrol
  • Acenocoumarol
  • Dicoumarol

There are other medications that shouldn’t be combined with mupirocin. So when your doctor is administering this drug, please tell them what other medications you are currently on. 

How Long Can You Take Mupirocin For?

Mupirocin is typically taken for 10-15 days. However, the proper timeframe for every individual can be slightly different so always check with your doctor before starting or discontinuing use.

Prolonged use of mupirocin is not advised as it can lead to the rise of new fungi or bacteria that are resistant to mupirocin. So you have to ensure you don’t take mupirocin ointment for acne or any other skin infection longer than prescribed. 

How To Use Mupirocin?

Whether the mupirocin ointment is for acne or any other skin infection, you are to use mupirocin as directed by the doctor or healthcare professional. Most times, mupirocin is prescribed to be used thrice a day for ten days. 

By the fifth day, you should have begun to see improvements, and if you haven’t, don’t hesitate to reach out to your doctor. 

Here’s a step-by-step way to use mupirocin.

  1. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water. 
  2. Wash and dry the affected area.
  3. Apply a small amount to the affected area using a clean cotton swab. 
  4. Cover the area with a sterile gauze dressing or bandage. This isn’t completely necessary, so only do it if you are comfortable. 

Alternatives To Mupirocin

Let’s mention some of the best alternatives to mupirocin and the kind of skin issues they treat. 


Neosporin, unlike mupirocin, is an over-the-counter antibiotic. Neosporin is an ointment that prevents bacteria from entering the body through open wounds, cuts, scrapes and burns. It prevents the bacteria from causing infections in the body. 

Neosporin keeps the surface of the wound clean and protected. Neosporin can also be used for a rash, but that depends greatly on the type. 

Some believe that Neosporin helps with acne. This notion isn’t entirely true because Neosporin soothes the redness and inflammation that comes with acne but doesn’t cure the acne. 


This is an antibiotic treatment that is great for acne. It contains benzoyl peroxide, which not only treats acne but also decreases antibiotic resistance risk. 


Cleocin or clindamycin is a topical antibiotic which, just like mupirocin, works by hampering the growth of bacteria. 


Vancocin is used as a treatment for complicated skin infections, meningitis caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and other bacterial infections. 

What Else is Mupirocin Used For? 

Asides from acne, mupirocin is used to treat Impetigo, mild skin inflammation, methicillin-resistant bacteria in the nose, boils, and inflamed hair follicles. 

If you are wondering what Impetigo is, let’s explain. Impetigo is a skin infection that is extremely contagious and usually affects children and infants. The main symptom of Impetigo is the development of crusty yellow growths near the mouth and other parts of the body. These growths tend to spread really fast to other areas of the body. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Know Mupirocin Is Working?

Your skin should start looking and feeling better within the first few days of use. The results should be very noticeable by day 10.

Does Mupirocin ointment remove scars? 

Mupirocin helps soothe inflammation, which eventually slows down the development and appearance of scars. 

Which is better: Neosporin or Mupirocin? 

It all depends on what you plan to treat. Although both are antibiotics, mupirocin is a doctor-recommended medication that’s best for acne, Impetigo, and other bacterial infections. Neosporin is best for cuts, scrapes and open wounds. 

So the answer to the initial question is yes, mupirocin does help acne. Acne affects about 9.4% of the population, and this is why people are always searching for a cure for it. If you don’t want to use mupirocin for acne, another thing that can have a significant effect on your acne is your diet. 

Your diet and lifestyle play a massive role in the occurrence of acne. If you want to get clear skin by having the correct type of diet and lifestyle, this ebook is here to help you.

It contains every resource you need to take your skin to another level through a healthy diet.

Need more help? Ask our team!

I’ve helped over 2,500 people clear their acne naturally. If you cannot easily find an answer to your question on the website, please reach out to me by email ([email protected]) or send me a message on Instagram or Twitter. I will reply within 24 hours.

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Analyzed by Ashley Wilson

Hi, I’m Ashley Wilson. I’m a part-time personal trainer, yoga instructor, and mom of three. I had a little bit of acne as a teenager, but it pretty much went away after high school. However, during my first pregnancy, I constantly suffered from hormonal acne breakouts.

Because I was pregnant, I refused to take medications to manage my hormones to clear my acne. This led me to try lots of self-experimentation with natural remedies that would not jeopardize the health of my pregnancy.

During the course of my self-experimentation and research, I found GoodGlow’s blog which helped me quickly manage my acne by following a low inflammation diet.

After implementing a lot of the natural acne management strategies Sam and the rest of the team were writing about I asked if I could join the team and document some of my own experiences of dealing with acne during and after my pregnancy. They were gracious enough to accept my offer, and I have been on the team ever since.

While I never considered myself to be “unhealthy”, I was never really proactive about taking charge of my health. When I began experiencing a bunch of adverse side effects due to my pregnancy (acne breakouts, taste changes, mood swings, joint inflammation) I knew I had to take better control of my health.

Since I made this decision to follow a low-inflammation diet, my skin has cleared, I have more energy, and I’ve had two acne-free pregnancies.

However, my diet was just the beginning. Since joining GoodGlow I’ve also learned to prioritize my physical and mental helath. At the encouragement of the GoodGlow team I have begun to regularly practice yoga, resistance training, and meditation. This not only reduces inflammation throughout the entire body but also gives me the foundation to raise three kids while working part time.

In my “free time” I am typically running my kids to soccer practice, piano lessons, and teaching healthy cooking classes at my local community center.

If you have any questions or want to get in touch please send us an email or message our social channels and I’ll be sure to get back to you within 24 hours.

Read more of Ashley's articles.

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