Can You Use Neosporin As Lube Or For Anal Sex?
Neosporin is unsafe to use as lube for any kind of sex under any circumstance.
Do NOT use it as lube – ever.
- Neosporin is a wound-treating ointment that provides antibacterial protection, however, those properties can harm the good bacteria that help to maintain the healthy microbiome in the vagina or anus, potentially leading to irritation or infection.
- Neosporin contains petroleum, which degrades STI and pregnancy barriers made from latex or polyisoprene, putting you and your partners at risk for both, and can also increase the risk of vaginal infections, especially if you’re prone to them.
- Neosporin is not meant to be ingested and cannot be used as a lube during oral sex.
- Neosporin is designed to create a protective barrier over the skin but that also makes it difficult to remove following penetrative vaginal or anal sex.
Neosporin or other similar products like Polysporin, aren’t good lubes for any type of sex for many reasons.
Can You Use Neosporin As Lube?
Neosporin is not a safe lube option for any type of sex, at any time.
Here’s everything you need to know about using Neosporin as lube:
- Neosporin is an ointment used for the treatment of skin abrasions, wounds, and infection prevention. As such, it contains antibacterial agents that can harm the good bacteria that reside in the vagina or anus, potentially leading to irritation or subsequent infection.
- The first inactive ingredient in Neosporin is petroleum (found in Vaseline, another unsafe lube alternative) — which not only degrades condoms made from latex or polyisoprene but can increase your risk of vaginal infections like yeast infections or bacterial vaginosis.
- It makes an impractical anal lube for two reasons: it will degrade latex and polyisoprene condoms (putting partners at risk for STI transmission), and the amount needed to provide adequate lubrication will use a lot of the (expensive) product.
- Neosporin is not meant to be ingested and cannot be used as a lube during oral sex.
- Neosporin is thick, creating a protective barrier over the skin (to aid in wound healing) but this characteristic also means that it’s difficult to remove from the skin — which is especially problematic if used internally during penetrative vaginal or anal sex.
The most important reason why Neosporin is an entirely unsafe lube alternative is that it is an antibacterial ointment, designed to kill bacteria that might cause an infection in open wounds on the skin.
While it’s safe when used as directed — externally on a minor skin wound — Neosporin’s antibacterial agents may kill the good bacteria that help the vagina and anus to maintain healthy microbiomes.
Being petroleum-based, using Neosporin as a personal lubricant for vaginal sex can increase your risk of developing an infection — such as yeast infections or bacterial vaginosis — particularly if you’re already prone to them.
Additionally, oil-based lubes cannot be used with STI or pregnancy barriers made from latex or polyisoprene because the oil will degrade their material, putting you and your partner at risk for STI transmission or unintended pregnancy.
The petroleum in Neosporin can also degrade sex toys made from latex, rubber, or jelly rubber.
Although it’s inedible (and tastes bad, which should be warning enough), the thick consistency of Neosporin also makes it a choking hazard if used as a lubricant during oral sex.
Additionally, Neosporin is meant to create a barrier that protects the skin as its wounds are healing, which means it’s difficult to remove from the skin, particularly after vaginal or anal penetration.
It’s best to keep the Neosporin in the medicine cabinet — there are many safer lubricants to choose from.
Can You Use Neosporin As Vaginal Lube?
No — Neosporin should never be used as vaginal lube.
As we mentioned earlier, the antibacterial agents in Neosporin are great at killing bacteria to prevent infection as skin wounds heal.
That same characteristic, however, can wreak havoc on the good bacteria that help the vagina maintain a healthy microbiome.
Additionally, using Neosporin as vaginal lube can put you at a higher risk of developing a yeast infection or bacterial vaginosis.
As we mentioned earlier, the first inactive ingredient in Neosporin is oil-based (petroleum), which will degrade condoms and diaphragms made from latex or polyisoprene, rendering them ineffective against STIs or unintended pregnancy.
Neosporin is also difficult to clean off your skin, as it creates a protective barrier that supports wound healing, but that makes it even harder to remove from the inside of the vagina if it’s used as lube.
Can You Use Neosporin As Anal Lube?
No, Neosporin should not be used as an anal lubricant — ever.
Neosporin’s antibacterial properties might make it a tempting option — especially if you think that it can somehow “counteract” or “sanitize” the bacteria or fecal matter inside the anus.
The truth is that the anus (like the vagina) has a delicate microbiome that is maintained, in part, by good bacteria that are supposed to live there.
Neosporin’s antibacterial agents don’t discriminate between good and bad bacteria.
Just as they would fight bacteria on the surface of an open wound on your arm, so too will they harm the good bacteria that help to maintain the health of your anus.
Additionally, one study found that petroleum jelly (the first inactive ingredient in Neosporin) can increase your chances of transmitting HIV to your partner because it causes latex and polyisoprene condoms to degrade.
There are far better anal lube options to choose from, and there are plenty of anal lube alternatives that are much safer than Neosporin.
What Is Neosporin Made From And Is It Safe?
Neosporin contains the antibacterial agents bacitracin zinc, neomycin sulfate, and polymyxin B sulfate — all of which are perfectly safe when used as directed: For the treatment of minor skin abrasions and wounds.
As a first aid ointment, it fights infections while soothing the skin as it heals.
Neosporin’s remaining ingredient list includes:
Although some of these ingredients are somewhat safe as a personal lubricant (olive oil and cocoa butter, for instance), the rest of them are not, which is why Neosporin should only be used for the treatment of external skin abrasions or wounds.
What Are Better Lube Alternatives To Neosporin?
Instead of Neosporin, we highly recommend using a formulated personal lubricant that is made from body-safe ingredients.
Luckily, there are plenty of personal lubricant options available, including:
- Water-based lubricants
- Silicone-based lubricants
- Oil-based lubricants
- Organic/natural lubricants (water or oil-based)
Here’s a cheat sheet for selecting the best lube based on how you intend to use it:
|Lube Type:|| |
|Oral Sex||Yes||Yes||Not usually|
|Vaginal Sex||ONLY if pH/Osmolality suitable||Yes||Yes|
|Anal Sex||ONLY if pH/Osmolality suitable||Yes||Yes|
|Condom Types||All||All||Polyurethane, nitrile and lambskin only|
|Sex Toy Types||All||All but silicone||All but latex|
|Does It Stain?||No||Yes||Yes|
|Sex Toy Types|
|Does It Stain?|
There is a personal lubricant for every preference and sexual situation, but if you’re not sure which one to reach for, make sure to read through our lube guide or take our lube quiz.
Let’s take a closer look at the four main lubricant categories you might consider.
- Water-Based Lubricants
Water-based lubricants are popular because they typically resemble your body’s natural lubrication and they’re safe for every type of condom, diaphragm, dental dam, and sex toy material so compatibility is never an issue.
They are not always long-lasting, however, and will rinse away easily if used in the bath or shower.
We heavily researched, tested, and reviewed the safest and best water-based personal lubricants if these sound like the best choice for your personal needs.
- Silicone-Based Lubricants
Silicone-based lubes are among the longest-lasting and are also safe to use with all STI and pregnancy barriers.
That said, silicone lube cannot be used with silicone sex toys, as they’ll degrade their material.
If you’re trying to decide between water-based and silicone-based lubes, the choice depends on how you want to use your lube.
Many people prefer the thicker, silk-like texture of silicone lube, however, it is very different when compared to natural vaginal lubrication.
Because of this, however, they’re often selected for anal sex and, being waterproof, they’re perfect for sex in the bath or shower.
Our review of the best silicone lubes includes our tested and reviewed recommendations of the safest products available.
- Oil-Based Lubricants
An oil-based lubricant is made from natural (or organic) body-safe oils, but many ingredients used in them are plant-based — and potential allergens.
Oil-based lube’s texture resembles silicone in many ways, making it a good choice for anal sex.
As wonderful as they can be, oil-based lubricants are not compatible with latex or polyisoprene STI and pregnancy barriers, as they’ll degrade the material, making them ineffective.
Unsafe for latex dental dams, as well, most oil-based lubes are too thick to be used during oral sex, presenting a choking hazard if swallowed.
We deeply researched, tested, and reviewed the best oil-based personal lubricants if you’re interested in exploring them for yourself.
- Natural And Organic Lubricants
Natural and organic personal lubricants may be water-based or oil-based, depending on the formula.
Many such products are made using ingredients that may be allergens, including aloe vera gel or oils that are derived from nuts, seeds, or flowers, so always read the label thoroughly if these are a concern.
After our independent research, we tested and reviewed the best and safest natural and organic lubricants available.
Are There Any Safe Home Lube Alternatives?
If you need a safe lube alternative that can be found at home, there are a few options you might have on hand that are much safer than Neosporin, including:
- Aloe vera gel (pure)
- Argan oil
- Avocado oil
- CBD oil
- Coconut oil (virgin, unrefined)
- Shea butter
- Vitamin E oil
Although the above lube alternatives are generally safe in many circumstances, oil-based lube alternatives should never be used with latex or polyisoprene barriers against STIs or pregnancy.
It’s also smart to do a patch test on a small area of skin of any potential lube alternative to make sure you won’t experience a reaction, such as a rash, itching, burning, stinging, or hives.
Neosporin might seem like a good choice for a lube since it’s slippery and offers antibacterial properties that “sound” beneficial.
It isn’t — not even a little bit.
Neosporin should never be used as a lubricant for any type of sex.
There are many better lube alternatives and store-bought lubricants to choose from that are much safer.
Editor’s Note: This article is part of our Lube Alternatives and Everything Lube hubs, in-depth and evolving resources that comprehensively explore all aspects of personal lubricants from the different types and how to use them, to ingredients and safety — created to help you achieve the sexual pleasure you deserve.