Ointments, creams and patches

Especially skin diseases are treated externally. Ointments, creams, lotions, solutions, powders, medicated patches or gels contain active ingredients that, depending on the preparation, act on or penetrate the skin surface, depending on whether the preparation is thick and greasy or thin and watery. Most medicines for external use can be bought ready cooked in the pharmacy. In other cases, the dermatologist considers an individual preparation of ointment to make more sense, then the drug is manufactured separately in the pharmacy.

Dosage of ointments and creams

The dosages are occasionally problematic with ointments and creams. Anyone who can not do anything with dosing information such as "only hazelnut-sized" or "pea size" should seek advice from his pharmacist about the right amount. In addition, there are different procedures for applying the different ingredients. Cortisone albums are z. As applied gossamer, with certain eczema, however, the ointment is applied knife back thicker to soften the skin and allow the active ingredients to penetrate properly.


Ointments are usually very fat spreadable pharmaceutical preparations in the basis ("water in oil") are finely divided active ingredients. They feel greasy and are difficult to wash off the hands again. Ointments should generally be applied thinly and massaged into the skin. The active ingredients of an ointment penetrate particularly well into the skin. Salts with a high solids content are called pastes.


They have a softer consistency than ointments and usually contain larger amounts of water ("oil in water"). They are easy to apply and penetrate the skin. They too are only for external use.


These are liquids that contain dissolved substances and that are applied to the skin. They are often used when skin areas such as the toe spaces or the groin region are to be dried. The solvents used are alcohol, water or glycerol.


Powders are dry preparations that are also used in wet and soaked areas of the skin. In such skin damage, such as with sweaty feet, skin rubs on skin. Powder absorbs the moisture and thus reduces the friction.


Gel is also applied to the skin. It has a very high water content, which in addition to the respective effect also has a cooling effect. In addition to external application, there are also gels that are suitable for use in the mouth, z. As in gum or mucosal damage.


They are not only used for wound care. In so-called TTS patches (Transdermal Therapeutic Systems), the active ingredients are incorporated into a membrane. They are used, inter alia, against

  • severe pain, when traveling sickness
  • for smoking cessation and menopause.

By sticking to the skin, the drug is slowly released in an even amount.

Use of medical patches

Medical patches may not be cut, otherwise the liquid or semi-solid content will leak. You also have to make sure that the patches stick to the skin in their full size. If the patch sticks only on the edge, the active ingredient can no longer be absorbed through the skin.

The underside of the plaster is covered with a protective film. For the active ingredient to be able to touch the skin, the protective film must be removed. Then you must not touch this underside with your bare fingers, because the active ingredient otherwise penetrates through the skin on the fingers in the body.

These patches are disposable medicines. They are only glued on once. If the patch is removed, the drug is stopped immediately. After removal, the patch is folded and thrown away. If you are using a remedy for the first time, you should have the application explained in your pharmacy.

Limited shelf life of ointments and creams

Ointments, creams, lotions or solutions, which are produced in the pharmacy, are intended for a mostly acute illness. They are individually composed and dosed. After completion of treatment, they should be disposed of.

Because they often contain no preservatives, they are only limited shelf life. In order to prevent the introduction of germs in the preparation, ointments and creams should be removed from a can only with a clean ointment spatula.

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