The main difference between cream and ointment is the ratio between oil and water content in them. While cream usually includes oil and water in an equal ratio, ointments have a higher percentage of oil than water.
Cream and ointments are two products that can be used both for medicinal or cosmetic purposes. They serve different purposes due to the substances included in them and their ratios of water and oil.
Key Areas Covered
1. What is a Cream
– Definition, Features
2. What is an Ointment
– Definition, Features
3. Similarities Between Cream and Ointment
– Outline of Common Features
4. Difference Between Cream and Ointment
– Comparison of Key Differences
What is a Cream
A cream is a semisolid that is non-transparent, soft, and viscous we use for external application. Creams are usually consistently spreadable. They are typically made up of more than 20% of water and volatiles and less than 50% of hydrocarbons, waxes, or polyols.
Colour-wise, creams are usually white to off-white in colour, but they can also come in different shades such as yellow. Compared to the oil-based preparation of ointments, creams are water-based semisolid preparations. When focusing on their viscosity, creams are relatively thinner than ointments, which are usually thick.
What is an Ointment
In brief, ointments are another form of semisolid external application substance. But they contain less than 20% of water and volatiles and more than 50% of hydrocarbons, waxes, or polyols. When it comes to colour, ointments are usually translucent. However, some ointments can have shades varying from light yellow, yellow to black.
In contrast to the water-based semisolid preparation of creams, ointments are an oil-based semisolid preparation. When it comes to their viscosity, ointments are thicker.
Similarities Between Cream and Ointment
- Both creams and ointments are used for external applications only.
- Creams and oil products can be both medicinal or cosmetic.
- When you are choosing between a cream or ointment, it is necessary to consider what you are trying to treat and the condition of your overall skin type.
- Both these substances can come in different colours.
- In addition, they are semisolid substances.
Difference Between Cream and Ointment
Cream is a non-transparent, soft, and viscous semisolid applied on the skin whereas ointment is a smooth, oily semisolid substance applied on the skin.
The cream consists of more than 20% of water and volatiles and less than 50% of hydrocarbons, waxes, or polyols while ointments consist of less than 20% water of and volatiles and more than 50% of hydrocarbons, waxes, or polyols.
Generally, creams come in white or off-white shades whereas most ointments are usually translucent.
Nature of Formulation
While creams are a water-based semisolid preparation, ointments are an oil-based semisolid preparation.
Ointments are thick whereas creams are thin.
Pharmaceutical creams are easily spreadable compared to ointments, which are usually less spreadable on the skin.
The main difference between cream and ointment is that cream consists of more than 20% of water and volatiles and less than 50% of hydrocarbons, waxes, or polyols, while ointments consist of less than 20% water of and volatiles and more than 50% of hydrocarbons, waxes, or polyols. However, when focusing on the onset of action, creams work faster than ointments. When it comes to the duration of action, an ointment usually remains for a longer period on the skin, while a cream applied on the skin stays for a relatively shorter period
1. “Ointment.” An Overview | ScienceDirect Topics.
2. “Quality Factors Influencing Semi-Solid Manufacturing.” Contract Pharma.
1. “A funny smiling face made with cosmetic cream on the skin” By Marco Verch Professional Photographer (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr
2. “Tube of ovocyclin ointment, in original carton, England, 195 Wellcome L0058218” By Welcome Images (CC BY 4.0) via Commons Wikimedia