What is an Antiseptic?

How Antiseptics Work & What They Treat

Published June 22, 2015

An antiseptic is a substance that kills or discourages the growth and development of microorganisms on the skin, wounds and tissues of the body. Antiseptics differ from antibiotics, which work inside the body, and disinfectants, which are used on non‐living items and surfaces. They may have a broad‐spectrum effect against many types of bacteria and fungi that can cause wound and skin infections as well as sore throats. Antiseptic preparations may include creams, ointments, liquids and sprays.

How do antiseptics work?

There are many types of antiseptics available and each may work a little differently. The antiseptic properties of BetadineTM antiseptic products are due to the active ingredient povidone‐iodine, which has the ability to inactivate many infecting bacteria and fungi. Iodine has been recognised as an effective antiseptic agent for over 150 years and is widely used for the prevention and management of wounds.1Povidone is the storage core that carries iodine reserves and helps minimise side effects associated with pure iodine including skin irritation.2 This is why in most cases BetadineTM antiseptics are non‐irritating and non‐stinging to the skin. Although the exact antimicrobial mode of action of iodine is yet to be fully understood, it appears to have the ability to penetrate the cell wall of bacteria and affect their structure and function.3 This ensures their rapid destruction and helps protect against wound and skin infection. Always read the label. Follow the directions for use. If symptoms persist, talk to your health professional.

What are antiseptics used for?

BetadineTM antiseptics may be used to help manage the following wounds and skin infections:
  • Minor cuts, wounds and abrasions – Any break in the skin caused by physical trauma such as cuts and abrasions allows the bacteria that normally reside on the skin, and other potential bacteria and fungi in the environment, to invade the tissues and cause infection.4 BetadineTM antiseptic products kill bacteria and other microorganisms responsible for wound infections, which helps the body’s normal wound healing process.
  • Cold sores – BetadineTM has a specialised antiseptic cold sore range to assist in the management of cold sore outbreaks.
  • Sore throats ‐ BetadineTM sore throat gargles are proven to kill bacteria that can cause sore throats in as little as 30 seconds.*
Always read the label. Follow the directions for use. If symptoms persist, talk to your health professional. *In laboratory studies

Learn about which Betadine product may be appropriate for you.

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