An ointment is a viscous semisolid preparation used topically on a variety of body surfaces. These include the skin and the mucus membranes of the eye (an "eye ointment"), vagina, anus, and nose. An ointment may or may not be medicated.


The vehicle of an ointment is known as ointment base. The choice of a base depends upon the clinical indication for the ointment, and the different types of ointment bases are:
#Hydrocarbon bases. e.g. hard paraffin, soft paraffin.
#Absorption bases. e.g. wool fat, beewax.
#Water soluble bases. e.g. macrogols 200,300,400.

Properties which affect choice of an ointment base are:

#Solvent property
#Irritant effects
#Ease of application and removal

Methods of preparation of ointments

Trituration: In this finely subdivided insoluble medicaments are evenly distributed by grinding with a small amount of the base followed by dilution with gradually increasing amounts of the base.

Fusion: In this method the ingredients are melted together in descending order of their melting points and stirred to ensure homogenity

Topical medication forms

(Source: [Doctor, why are you prescribing an ointment?;American Academy of Dermatology;http://www.skincarephysicians.com/eczemanet/doctor.html] )

* Cream - Emulsion of oil and water in approximately equal proportions. Penetrates stratum corneum outer layer of skin well.

* Ointment - Combines oil (80%) and water (20%). Effective barrier against moisture loss.

* Gel - Liquefies upon contact with the skin.

* Paste - Combines three agents - oil, water, and powder; an ointment in which a powder is suspended.

* Powder

ee also

* Cream (pharmaceutical)
* Lotion
* Liniment
* Gel

External links

* [http://www.rpsgb.org.uk/pdfs/mussheet06.pdf History of ointments]

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Ointment — Oint ment, n. [OE. oinement, OF. oignement, fr. F. oindre to anoint, L. ungere, unguere; akin to Skr. a[ n]j, and to G. anke (in Switzerland) butter. The first t in the E. word is due to the influence of anoint. Cf. {Anoint}, {Unguent}.] That… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • ointment — (n.) late 13c., from O.Fr. oignement, from V.L. *unguimentum, from L. unguentum (see UNGUENT (Cf. unguent)). The first t emerged in O.Fr. from oint, pp. of verb oindre to anoint …   Etymology dictionary

  • ointment — [n] cream for treatment balm, cerate, demulcent, dressing, embrocation, emollient, lenitive, liniment, lotion, medicine, salve, unguent; concepts 311,466 …   New thesaurus

  • ointment — ► NOUN ▪ a smooth substance that is rubbed on the skin for medicinal purposes. ORIGIN Old French oignement, from Latin unguentum, from unguere anoint …   English terms dictionary

  • ointment — [oint′mənt] n. [ME oignement < OFr < VL * unguimentum, for L unguentum (see UNGUENT): the t in Eng from assoc. with obs. v. oint, to anoint] a fatty substance applied to the skin for healing or cosmetic purposes; salve; unguent …   English World dictionary

  • ointment — n. 1) to apply, rub in, rub on an ointment 2) a skin ointment * * * [ ɔɪntmənt] rub in rub on an ointment a skin ointment to apply …   Combinatory dictionary

  • ointment — [[t]ɔ͟ɪntmənt[/t]] ointments 1) N MASS An ointment is a smooth thick substance that is put on sore skin or a wound to help it heal. A range of ointments and creams is available for the treatment of eczema... I saw his legs being bathed and new… …   English dictionary

  • ointment — noun … OF OINTMENT ▪ tube VERB + OINTMENT ▪ apply, put on, rub on ▪ He put some ointment on the cut. ▪ use …   Collocations dictionary

  • Ointment — A medication preparation that is applied topically (onto the skin). An ointment has an oil base whereas a cream is water soluble. (The word ointment comes from the Latin ungere meaning anoint with oil). * * * A semisolid preparation usually… …   Medical dictionary

  • ointment — UK [ˈɔɪntmənt] / US noun [countable/uncountable] Word forms ointment : singular ointment plural ointments a thick smooth substance that you put on sore or injured skin • See: fly II …   English dictionary

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