Topical formulations are used externally, meaning applied to body surfaces. Three common topical formulations are ointments, creams or lotions. The big question: what is the difference? When formulating/compounding topical products, the compounder must consider the ratio between oil and water bases. This change in ratio determines if the formulation will become an ointment, cream or lotion. Ointments have the greatest oil to water ratio, while lotions have the greatest water to oil ratio. Creams simply contain a ratio that is between ointments and lotions. Oiler-based formulations offer more moisture and product thickness. Water-based formulations are lighter and take a shorter time to be absorbed. With this information, we hope you find yourself more prepared to clarify which formulation is best for you.
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This content was originally provided by Saralinh Trinh, Pharm.D. Candidate 2020