Zinc ointment

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Zinc ointment is used for a long time wound treatment used. Its effectiveness is largely based on the weakly antiseptic ( disinfecting ), astringent , sorptive and wound healing properties of the zinc oxide it contains . It is mainly used on weeping or itchy sore skin areas and cracks , but not on the edge of the wound or in open, deep dermal wounds. It is unsuitable for direct wound treatment for several reasons, as it interferes with wound healing, dries out the wound and leaves deposits that are difficult to remove. Overall, the medical benefit of locally used zinc ointments has not yet been adequately established. Zinc ointments are used for chronic rashes, lichen , acne and burns .

Composition and physical properties

The water-insoluble zinc oxide is incorporated into the ointment base

The zinc ointment described in the German Pharmacopoeia (DAB) consists of 10 parts of zinc oxide and 90 parts of wool wax alcohol ointment . It is white in color and has a soft consistency at room temperature. Technologically, it is a suspension ointment, the zinc oxide particles being finely distributed in the ointment base. Some zinc ointments also contain cod liver oil . The vitamin A found in cod liver oil is necessary for the structure and function of epithelial tissue.

Pharmacological properties

In connection with wound healing, zinc is one of the most important trace elements and a component of many enzymes involved in the healing process . A zinc deficit can therefore interfere with wound healing.

Upon contact with wound and skin secretions, zinc oxide forms soluble zinc salts, which have an antiseptic and astringent effect. Whether zinc ions can escape from locally applied zinc oxide preparations and penetrate the intact skin is highly controversial; however, corresponding products are produced for use on wounds. With a reduced barrier function (damaged skin, open wounds), according to the manufacturer, the extent of zinc absorption can be significantly increased: according to the package insert of a product (zinc ointment Lichtenstein), an up to 50-fold increase in absorption could be observed in an experiment on rats with skin injuries . If a zinc deficiency is found in a wound patient, it makes much more sense to him through systemic zinc administration, e.g. B. to counteract by the administration of 10-20 mg elemental zinc. Zinc is also found in meat, dairy and whole grain products as part of a balanced diet.

Overdoses and intoxication after the use of zinc ointments have not yet become known. However, the caustic effects of zinc chloride is a known risk. The widespread use of zinc in the wound is not recommended and should be limited to exceptional cases.


Zinc paste , soft zinc paste and zinc cream can be considered as variants of the zinc ointment .

Pastes are semi-solid preparations with a high solid content. For example, the zinc paste according to the Pharmacopoeia has a zinc oxide content of 25%. Other ingredients are wheat starch and white vaseline (DAB 12) or talc and yellow vaseline (Austrian Pharmacopoeia). Zinc paste has a firmer consistency than zinc ointment; it has a covering-protective, absorbent effect and does not penetrate the skin. It is used to prevent and treat diaper rash . The paste film protects the skin from faeces , the digestive enzymes and urine it contains . Sweat on the skin is also absorbed by the absorbent properties of the zinc oxide it contains. Zinc paste can also be used for weeping skin diseases such as herpes simplex or herpes zoster . Commercial preparations can have even higher zinc oxide contents.

The soft zinc paste (DAB) contains 30% zinc oxide. Its soft, easily spreadable consistency is due to a proportion of 40% thick paraffin , the other components are white vaseline and bleached wax .

Zinc creams contain the zinc oxide in a cream base and are therefore water-based. Water-soluble active ingredients can be incorporated into the water phase, and creams are often easier to wash off the skin.

See also


Individual evidence

  1. K. Hardtke et al. (Ed.): Commentary on DAB 2005, Zinksalbe. Loose-leaf collection, 21st delivery 2005, Wissenschaftliche Verlagsgesellschaft Stuttgart.
  2. a b c K. Hardtke et al. (Ed.): Commentary on Ph. Eur. 7.0, zinc oxide. Loose-leaf collection, 39th delivery 2011, Wissenschaftliche Verlagsgesellschaft Stuttgart.
  3. a b I care - Pflege , Georg Thieme Verlag KG, Stuttgart 2015, ISBN 978-3-13-165651-3 , page 714.
  4. ^ A b c d Anette Vasel-Biergans, Wiltrud Probst: wound care for nursing. A practical book, Wissenschaftliche Verlagsgesellschaft, Stuttgart 2011, ISBN 978-3-8047-2798-4 , page 184 to page 185.
  5. a b Fachinfo Zinksalbe Lichtenstein 10%, as of September 2014.
  6. ^ Austrian Pharmacopoeia (ÖAB - Pharmacopoea Austriaca) - Official edition 1990 , 12th supplement - Verlag Österreich.