Ointment vs. Unguent

By Jaxson

  • Ointment

    A topical medication is a medication that is applied to a particular place on or in the body. Most often topical administration means application to body surfaces such as the skin or mucous membranes to treat ailments via a large range of classes including creams, foams, gels, lotions, and ointments. Many topical medications are epicutaneous, meaning that they are applied directly to the skin. Topical medications may also be inhalational, such as asthma medications, or applied to the surface of tissues other than the skin, such as eye drops applied to the conjunctiva, or ear drops placed in the ear, or medications applied to the surface of a tooth. The word topical derives from Greek τοπικός topikos, “of a place”.

  • Unguent

    An unguent is a soothing preparation spread on wounds, burns, rashes, abrasions or other topical injuries (i.e. damage to the skin). It is similar to an ointment, though typically an unguent is less viscous and more oily. It is usually delivered as a semi-solid paste spread on the skin and is often oily to suspend the medication or other active ingredients.

    During the Victorian era, the use of the unguent Macassar Oil on the hair became so popular that antimacassars were invented to prevent damage to furniture.

  • Ointment (noun)

    A viscous preparation of oils and/or fats, usually containing medication, used as a treatment or as an emollient.

  • Ointment (noun)

    A substance used to anoint, as in religious rituals.

  • Unguent (noun)

    Any cream containing medicinal ingredients applied to the skin for therapeutic purposes.

  • Ointment (noun)

    a smooth oily substance that is rubbed on the skin for medicinal purposes or as a cosmetic

    “scented ointments for the skin”

    “he rubbed some ointment on his leg”

Oxford Dictionary

Leave a Comment