Excipients for Drug Formulation

Topical Gels

BASF offers a broad selection of matrix builders, sensory modifiers and solvents to equip you to be able to produce a wide range of topcial gels.

Topical gel formulations are of increasing interest in the dermatology industry. Gel formulations are typically transparent or translucent, water-based semisolids with good spreading properties and pleasing aesthetic characteristics.

Gels derive their consistency and rheological properties from polymers that can swell in water and then interact in such a way as to thicken the water and increase viscosity. Polymers may interact physically, by chain entanglement, or by ionic or hydrophobic/hydrophilic interactions. In each case, the polymers form a matrix that increases the viscosity of the water and allows for (1) physical stabilization and prevention of migration of suspended API crystals, (2) maintenance of product homogeneity throughout the shelf life, (3) clean, no drip, no mess transfer of the product from the primary package to the skin surface and (4) easy spreading and acceptable aesthetics.


BASF offers broad portfolio of excipients for topical formulations enabling you to create the ideal skin delivery solution for your gel formulation. We are committed to maintaining the highest level of quality. At the same time, we have focused on improving the mildness of formulations. And by extensively analyzing, refining and enhancing the sensorial effects of each ingredient class, we can help you to create products that increase patient compliance.


  • Extensive expertise and understanding of topical products
  • Increased patient compliance through characterized sensorial effects
  • Meets the highest regulatory and quality requirements
  • Broad portfolio of excipients for your ointment formulation

Some of the key functional excipients offered by BASF include:

Matrix builders

Higher molecular weight polyvinylpyrrolidones (such as our Kollidon® 90 F) can be used to increase the viscosity of aqueous media to produce pourable gels. To produce more rigid gels that break on the skin during application poloxamers like our Kolliphor® P188 or Kolliphor® P407 can be used. These generally need to be used at higher levels than other thickening polymers and biopolymers, but they have the advantage of providing some healing, preventative and protective benefits. Another advantage of using poloxamers is that they can act as emulsifiers, stably suspending oils in gels, and also as solubilizers for some APIs.

Read more

Sensory modifiers

Sometimes gel formulations may have negative sensory or aesthetic properties (e.g. tackiness, etc.). Suspending light lipophilic fluids, such as Kollicream® IPM (isopropyl myristate) or others, can reduce the tack, or generally improve the patient’s experience during application.

Read more

Discover more on solutions for topical gel formulations


Portfolio Overview

Focusing on your needs with platform solutions

Read more

Download Center

Looking for application guides, technical and scientific posters, brochures or technical information? Visit our download center.
Topical Gels Download Center

Discover our portfolio of excipients for your gel formulation

Related Solution Platform