Although the researchers found 57 trials involving more than 3,500 people with impetigo, no single form of treatment has been really thoroughly tested. The trials looked at a lot of different options, but none of them produced results that were clear enough to be able to say for sure that one treatment is better than others.
For infections that are not very extensive, the research shows that antibiotic ointments with fusidic acid or mupirocin can help. It also appears that some antibiotic tablets might be able to help relieve impetigo. They probably have more adverse effects than ointments though. Oral antibiotics are usually only used in children who have very extensive infections, because using large amounts of ointment for days is not very practical. All of these antibiotic treatments are only available on prescription by a doctor.
As a first treatment option, disinfectant lotions or ointments that do not have antibiotics are often suggested. However, the evidence suggests these might not be effective.