Skin Products: Ointments and Creams

Ointments and creams

Table of Contents

Are ointments and creams the same?

In today’s market there are different products that are applied to the skin, the reasons for their use are diverse, from the treatment of diseases to the prevention of aging. Although ointments and creams have a long history in society to address multiple problems, it is evident that current scientific development has facilitated the creation of nutraceuticals, supplements, products with natural ingredients and drugs with higher quality standards. It is not usual to ask what is the difference between the different names used for substances intended to be applied to the epidermis, so the following lines will address the difference between an ointment and a cream.  

Ointments and creams: part of a wide range of skin care products

Topical administration consists of providing substances that in some way influence or benefit the organism through the skin or mucous membranes. Specifically, the topical cutaneous route is where the epidermis (the outer layer of the skin) is used to dispose of preparations that are expected to have a local effect and, regularly, there is no concern about absorption of active ingredients. 

The products created for the skin are a varied group, these are characterized by being thicker than water and semi-dense, they are intended for the skin to generate a local effect or that certain components penetrate through it.  

The composition of a skin care product consists of a base in which the active ingredients are dispersed; in addition to the vehicle for the active ingredients, other elements can be added, such as emulsifiers, stabilizers, antioxidants and antimicrobials. The basic factor that causes different levels of solidity is water, since an ointment does not include water, while a pomade does, but in a smaller quantity than a cream. According to the pharmaceutical division of the semi-solid forms for topical application, they are classified into creams, gels, pastes and pomades (ointments fall into the last classification).   

What is an ointment?

From the previous lines it is clear that a cream and an ointment differ, mainly, by the amount of water, but what’s the ointment meaning? An ointment is part of the pomade, it is a compound that is placed on the skin to treat wounds, rashes, burns or other ailments.  

An ointment is formulated by a vehicle (base) in which solids or liquids are dissolved. Its excipient is fatty (such as petroleum jelly), it has the ability to generate a film or layer on the epidermis to prevent water from evaporating, so they are ideal for fairly dry skin or for use in areas where the skin is thick, for example, elbows, knees and palms of the hands. The composition of the ointments allows for some benefits, among which are: 

  • Soften the skin  
  • Retain water and prevent evaporation  
  • They keep the skin moisturized, so they are recommended in dry chronic lesions 
  • Have congestive properties 

As to whether vitamin ointment exists, the answer is yes. There are cases in which they are designed to treat certain vitamin deficiencies in the skin, however, some sources indicate that the best way to assimilate vitamins for a good skin condition is by means of oral supplements or to obtain them from food. 

It is evident that skin compounds have a wide market, especially due to the diversity of segments and needs they can treat, but it must be considered that, in health-focused products, regulations must be taken into account and proper procedures must be followed. However, if you want to start a business, you can count on HH Processors to make it happen, because through our experience, capacity and technology we can help you formulate quality products, satisfy manufacturing needs or both. We have more than 200 proprietary formulations to support your project!! 

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