Bite-sized knowledge for the hungrily curious

What’s the difference between cream, lotion, and ointment?

Icons made by iconixar from

The Answer

All of these topical treatments contain a mixture of oil and water. Cream is mostly water, lotion contains an even mix of oil and water, and ointment is mostly oil.

Creams, lotions, and ointments are all ways that a topical medicine or treatment can be applied to the skin. The difference between them relates to the ratio of oil and water in the medium that contains the active ingredient.

  • Creams are mostly water with some oil added
  • Lotions will usually contain around equal parts oil and water
  • Ointments are typically 80% oil or higher

Oil and water generally won’t mix, so an emulsifier is added to create a homogeneous mixture.

Rate This Biscuit

Average rating / 5. Vote count:

No ratings so far! Be the first to rate this wisdom biscuit.

As you found this post useful...

Follow us on social media!