Antiseptics are antimicrobial substances that are applied to the tissue to reduce the possiblity of infection. Antiseptics are a diverse class of drugs which are applied to skin surfaces or mucous membranes for their anti-infective effects. Antiseptic uses include cleansing of the skin and wound surfaces after injury, preparation of skin surfaces prior to injections or surgical procedures, and routine disinfection of the oral cavity.

Fast Facts:

  • Common antiseptics for skin cleaning include benzalkonium chloride, chlorhexidine, hexachlorophine, iodine compounds, mercury compounds, alcohol and hydrogen peroxide.
  • Skin dryness and irritation may occur with all products, but particularly with those containing alcohol..
  • The body produces its own antiseptics that are a part of the chemical barriers of the immune system.