What is the difference between an ointment and a cream?

What is the difference between an ointment and a cream?

The answer to that is simply water.

Ointment

Cream

In an ointment there is no water, and if you introduce water it will split and go mouldy.

In a cream, water is emulsified with oil and usually a form of wax.

An ointment will last for 2 years if not more if kept in the right conditions.

A cream will require some form of preserving agent to allow it to remain in a stable state for usually up to 6 months.

An ointment when applied to the skin forms a barrier.

A cream does not form a barrier (or less of one).

Only a small amount is absorbed into the top layers of the skin.

A larger proportion is absorbed into the top layers of the skin, and in certain creams further still.

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