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      Ointments are single phase, hydrophilic or hydrophobic systems with sufficient consistency to allow the formulator to stably and homogeneously suspend dissolved or dispersed APIs. Hydrophilic ointments have the advantage of being less greasy or oily during and after application and they are easily washed off of skin after use. They also provide an excellent vehicle for the topical delivery of hydrophilic drugs.

      The biggest challenges for formulators of hydrophilic ointments are ensuring that APIs remain solubilized or in a specific habit or polymorphic state throughout the life of the product, preventing the separation of fluid from the formulation (i.e. weeping) and ensuring that the formulation has acceptable spreadability on the skin. These challenges are overcome by the proper blending of compatible fluids and solvents with higher melting point solids.

      BASF offers functional excipients to meet these needs.

    Extensive portfolio of excipients for your ointment formulation
    Meets the highest regulatory and quality requirements
    Extensive expertise and understanding of topical products
    Specific solution platforms for skin delivery and solubization
    Key industry partner, with a broad dermatological ingredients portfolio


    Hydrophilic fluids may be used to enhance the solubilization of APIs, prevent crystallization or stabilize crystal habits and polymorphs in topical semi-solid formulations. Propylene glycol (Kollisolv® PG) and PEG 400 (Kollisolv® PEG 400) are most commonly present in PEG-based hydrophilic ointments.

    Viscosity enhancement

    High molecular weight polyethylene glycols, such as PEG 1450 (Kollisolv® PEG 1450), PEG 3350 (Kollisolv® PEG 3350) and higher, can form networks or microstructures that increase the viscosity of the hydrophilic ointment base thereby improving ointment stability and also allowing the user to effectively transfer the product from the primary package to the location of application. BASF has knowledge about the appropriate balance of solid and liquid PEGs required in order to prevent weeping and to achieve optimal rheological properties.

    Penetration enhancement

    The delivery of APIs through the stratum corneum and into the skin can be accelerated by a variety of different materials. The choice of the right material is determined by the physico-chemical characteristics of the API (e.g. melting point, molecular weight, polarity, iconicity, etc.). For hydrophilic ointments propylene glycol (Kollisolv® PG), PEG 300 (Kollisolv® PEG 300) or PEG 400 (Kollisolv®PEG 400), pyrrolidone (Kollisolv® PYR) and triacetin (Kollisolv® GTA) are all available from BASF.

      Learn more about our solutions for ointment formulation


    Control of physical properties of semi-solid formulations

    In Focus

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    Trends and Formulation Strategies for Topical Drugs


    Optimizing Topical Semi-Solid Drug Formulation and Performance


    Controlling the Physical Properties and Performance of Semi-Solid Formulations through Excipient Selection

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      Special Focus: Formulating anhydrous dosage forms