Ointment vs Cream: Difference and Comparison

Skin allergies or side effects are way too common. People tend to face various types of such allergies. Some are normal allergies, while some of them result in skin rashes and then diseases. Solutions to these problems are found through medication. As the type of skin allergy varies from person to person, the medication must suit the allergy and cure it. In order to meet these issues, ointments and creams are commonly used.

Key Takeaways

  1. Ointments are oil-based and contain 80% oil, whereas creams are water-based and contain less than 50% oil.
  2. Ointments are thicker and greasier than creams, while creams are lighter and easier to apply.
  3. Ointments are more effective in treating dry and scaly skin conditions, while creams are better suited for mild to moderate skin conditions like rashes and insect bites.

Ointment vs Cream

The difference between Ointment and Cream is that Ointment is an oily substance, whereas, Cream is a substance that has equal oil and water content. Ointments are more oily and greasier in texture as compared to creams. Creams are used as a cosmetic, medication and also, moisturiser. Ointments are used as both and also in medication.

Ointment vs Cream

An ointment is a smooth substance with an oily texture used as a medication or cosmetic. It has a comparatively high oil content, which makes it sticky and greasy. When rubbed on the skin, it does not absorb instantly. Rather takes some time to absorb completely. This is why an ointment is known to lock the moisture onto the skin and prevent it from getting dry.

On the other hand, a cream is a substance with a light and watery texture used as a medication and cosmetic. It contains an equal amount of oil and water. When rubbed on the skin, it gets absorbed into the skin quickly and does not have the ability to lock moisture, unlike Ointment.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonOintmentCream
Appearance Due to the oily texture, ointment appears shiny on the skin. As cream has a light texture, it seems invisible on the skin.
ConsistencyIt has a thick and greasy consistency. It has a smooth and light consistency.
Absorption It stays longer on the skin and takes time to absorb. It is absorbed quicker than ointments.
Composition It contains more oil than water. It has equal oil and water content.
Base It has an oily base and is difficult to spread smoothly. It has a watery base and can be spread smoothly.
StabilityIt can go deeper into the skin. It evaporates and does not go deep.
UsageIt is used for moisturising and treating various skin problems. It moisturises and prevents minor allergies.
SuitableWith oil content, it is more suitable for dry skin. It is more suitable for oily skin as it has less oil content.

What is Ointment?

An ointment is a form of topical medication, i.e., a substance or medication applied to the skin’s surface. It is a semi-solid substance that has an oily texture and is applied to the skin or specific areas with allergies or any skin-related issues. It is also used as a cosmetic, sometimes.

Also Read:  Blackwater vs Greywater: Difference and Comparison

Ointments are prepared with more oil content than water. This is why they tend to appear oily in texture and leave a shiny cast on the skin. Petroleum jelly, Wax, Vegetable oil, Anhydrous lanolin, Lard etc., are commonly used as bases for ointments. However, they also contain preservatives and added scent.

Although ointments have an oily base, there are different types of them. They are categorised into various types based on their bases. Hydrocarbon, Absorption, Water-removable, and Water-soluble bases are the ones.

Hydrocarbon bases allow contact between the medication and the skin and moisturise it. Absorption bases add water-based solutions to the medication and moisturise the skin. The water-removable bases are emulsions of oil-in-water and are used mainly as cosmetics. Lastly, the water-soluble bases are greaseless and have substances that are soluble in water.

Ointments of various types are used for treating different skin problems. While some of them act as moisturizers, others can be used as topical steroids and antibiotics. Due to their high oil content, ointments are used for treating dry skin conditions and help sensitive skin.


What is Cream?

Cream is also a form of topical medication that is semi-solid and has a watery base. It is applied to the skin in order to get rid of any allergies, rashes or even used as a cosmetic. Due to an equal ratio of oil and water, the Cream gets absorbed into the skin within a short time. Unlike ointments, it does not make the area sticky or oily.

The Cream is prepared with an equal amount of oil and water. It has a comparatively lesser oil content than ointments. This is why it cannot trap moisture onto the skin and does not go deep into it. It stays on the skin’s surface, evaporates, and is absorbed within seconds.

Also Read:  Laxatives vs Stool Softeners: Difference and Comparison

Although creams have a watery base, some substances are added to them in order to provide that semi-solid consistency. Oil, water, emulsifier and thickening agent are the primary ingredients of the Cream.

Creams are divided into two categories based on the type of their emulsion. Creams with oil-in-water emulsions have small droplets or amounts of oil disseminated in the watery phase, while creams with water-in-oil emulsions have small droplets of water disseminated in the oily phase. Oil-in-water creams are less oily and greasy in texture than water-in-oil creams.

With a smooth and light consistency, creams are way more easily spread on the skin as compared to ointments. So they are mostly preferred for larger areas of skin. Even creams are moisturising, but they are not as oily as ointments. Therefore, they are mostly preferred for avoiding greasiness.

cream 1

Main Differences Between Ointment and Cream

  1. An ointment has more oil content, while a cream has more water content.
  2. An ointment has a thicker consistency than Cream.
  3. The Cream absorbs instantly, while Ointment takes time to absorb.
  4. Ointment goes deep into the skin, but the Cream does not.
  5. Ointment moisturizes more than Cream.
Difference Between Ointment and Cream
  1. https://www.karger.com/Article/Abstract/353667
  2. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1365-2133.1974.tb06384.x

Last Updated : 13 July, 2023

dot 1
One request?

I’ve put so much effort writing this blog post to provide value to you. It’ll be very helpful for me, if you consider sharing it on social media or with your friends/family. SHARING IS ♥️

24 thoughts on “Ointment vs Cream: Difference and Comparison”

  1. The article presents a clear and informative comparison of ointments and creams, outlining their differences in consistency, absorption, and ideal applications. It’s an invaluable resource for those seeking to make informed decisions regarding skincare products.

    • Absolutely, the detailed descriptions and explanations really shed light on the unique characteristics of ointments and creams, allowing readers to better understand their usage and benefits.

  2. The article offers an extensive comparison of ointments and creams, elucidating their differences in texture, absorption, and targeted skin conditions for optimal usage. It’s an informative piece for individuals keen on understanding skincare products.

    • Completely agree. This article provides an in-depth understanding of when to use ointments and creams based on their unique properties and benefits, serving as a valuable resource for consumers seeking effective skincare remedies.

    • Absolutely, the article delves into the nuanced differences between ointments and creams, offering insightful information on their distinct applications and suitability for diverse skin concerns.

  3. The article provides valuable insights into the nature of ointments and creams, highlighting their respective compositions, appearances, and applications. It’s a comprehensive guide for anyone seeking to understand and compare these two skincare products.

    • I found the breakdown of ointment and cream bases particularly enlightening. This article truly educates readers on the differences and purposes of these products.

    • Precisely, the detailed descriptions and the comparison table offer a comprehensive view of ointments and creams, making it easier for consumers to make informed choices for their skincare needs.

  4. The article delivers a comprehensive analysis of ointments and creams, covering their differences in composition, uses, and suitability for various skin conditions. It’s a highly educational piece that equips readers with valuable insights into skincare products.

    • Agreed, the detailed comparison table and detailed descriptions are invaluable in deciphering the unique characteristics of ointments and creams, aiding consumers in making well-informed choices.

    • Absolutely, the article serves as a comprehensive guide for understanding the distinctive features and functionalities of ointments and creams, providing valuable knowledge for those seeking effective skincare solutions.

  5. The detailed comparison between ointments and creams is incredibly thorough. It offers an excellent resource for individuals seeking to understand the purposes, compositions, and suitability of these skincare products for various skin conditions.

    • I couldn’t agree more. This article is a fantastic guide for consumers trying to discern when to use ointments and when to use creams based on their skin types and conditions.

  6. Understanding the differences between ointment and cream is essential, especially in skincare. This article does an excellent job of clarifying the distinctions and when each type of product is best utilized.

    • Completely agree. As a skincare professional, knowing the characteristics of ointments and creams is fundamental in providing effective recommendations to individuals with various skin issues.

  7. This article provides great in-depth information about the differences between ointments and creams, in terms of their compositions, consistency, and uses. It’s important to understand these differences to select the right product for specific skin conditions.

    • Absolutely, the detailed comparison table and explanations give a clear understanding of when to use ointments and when to use creams for different skin conditions.

    • I couldn’t agree more. It’s crucial to know how ointments and creams differ, especially when it comes to treating various skin problems.

  8. The distinction between ointments and creams is well articulated in this article, emphasizing their varying consistencies, absorption rates, and suitability for different skin conditions. It’s a highly informative piece for those interested in skincare products.

    • Absolutely, this article provides a wealth of knowledge about the characteristics, uses, and benefits of ointments and creams, which is essential for anyone looking to address specific skin concerns effectively.

  9. This article effectively outlines the key differences between ointments and creams, offering comprehensive insights into their respective compositions and uses. It’s a valuable read for individuals looking to enhance their knowledge of skincare products.

    • Absolutely, the article provides substantial information on the distinctions between ointments and creams, making it an insightful resource for those seeking to understand the products’ applications and benefits.

    • I couldn’t agree more. The detailed explanations and the breakdown of ointments and creams serve as an excellent guide for consumers aiming to address specific skin issues.

  10. The detailed explanations on the characteristics and purposes of ointments and creams in this article are exceptionally informative for anyone seeking to gain a comprehensive understanding of these skincare products.


Leave a Comment

Want to save this article for later? Click the heart in the bottom right corner to save to your own articles box!