Ointment vs Cream: Know the Difference

HK Vitals

Medically Reviewed By Dr. Aarti Nehra

Nowadays, various creams and ointments are available for treating your skin conditions and making it look flawless. Both the cream and ointments have their unique properties. But do you know what is the difference between ointments and creams and which one to use when? So, both the cream and ointment are used for skincare and treating skin conditions but they have a lot of differences that you’ll get to know further. 

Without lingering any longer, let’s learn in-depth about the difference between ointments and creams and learn their usage and other features as well. 

 Consistency and Appearance of Ointments and Creams

The texture or consistency of ointments and creams differ by the quantity of oil and water present in both. Let’s unveil the amount of oil and water present in both. 

  • Ointment: Ointments have a thicker consistency than creams because the amount of oil is more than the amount of water which makes it appear thicker and greasy than the creams. Ointments stay on the skin for a longer period because of their thickness which ensures protection for the skin. 
  • Cream: Creams have a lighter consistency in comparison to ointments because the amount of oil and water are equally dissolved which gives it a lighter and smooth texture. Due to its lighter consistency, it spreads quite easily across your skin. Creams are not greasy.  

Absorption of Ointments and Creams

Due to the difference in consistency of ointments and creams, the absorption of both may differ. 

  • Ointment: As ointment contains a good amount of oil, it doesn’t absorb and spread fully on the skin. Ointments provide moisture to the skin and it is very beneficial. 
  • Cream: Creams contain a good amount of water which helps in easy absorption on the skin and it can spread to a larger area in comparison to the ointment.  

Advantages of Ointments 

Here are some of the major benefits of using ointment on your skin:

  • Stays for Longer Period on Skin: The ointments have a thick consistency which makes them stay for a longer period on your skin and ensures protection. 
  • Protects from Bacteria: Ointments provide you protection from infections and bacterial attacks. It keeps your skin protected by providing a barrier on your skin and staying for longer durations. 
  • Prevent Irritation: Ointments don’t cause irritation on your skin and keep your skin moisturized. 

Disadvantages of Ointments 

Here are some of the disadvantages of using ointments:

  • Not for All Skin Conditions: Ointments may be used for dryness, redness, and any other condition but sometimes people with sensitive skin can have irritation or any reaction with its application. 
  • Leaves Stain: Ointments sometimes leave stains on your clothes. 

Advantages of Creams

Here’s looking at some of the advantages of using creams on your skin:

  • Spread Easily: The creams are easily spreadable because of their light consistency and they dissolve completely in your skin. 
  • Keep Your Skin Moisturized: Creams with their light consistency keep your skin moisturized and smooth. It makes your skin radiant and glowing. 

Disadvantages of Creams

Creams can have some disadvantages as well. Let’s have a look:

  • Causes Acne: Creams cause acne, making your skin look dull. As it makes your skin oily, the acne grows with time. 
  • Overuse can damage your skin: Sometimes if you overuse a cream, it may damage your skin and cause pigmentation and irritation to your skin.   


We have talked about the difference between ointments and creams and how they are effective for our skin, keeping it radiant and protected from bacteria. But always make sure that whenever you buy any ointment or cream, it should be effective for your skin type and should be recommended by a professional to you. 

HK Vitals


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