Self-administration: Applying Ointments, Creams, and Gels

When applying medication in the form of ointments, creams, or gels, it is important to use the correct amount. Too much may increase the chance of side effects, whereas too little may not achieve the desired effect. The fingertip unit is a simple measure that can help you to work out how much medication you need to apply over an area of skin.

A fingertip unit

One unit is the amount of the preparation that can be squeezed in a line onto the tip of the index finger as far as the first joint.

Measuring with fingertip units

Using the measures shown here as a guide, apply an amount of cream that is proportional to the area of skin that you need to cover.

From the 2010 revision of the Complete Home Medical Guide © Dorling Kindersley Limited.

The subjects, conditions and treatments covered in this encyclopaedia are for information only and may not be covered by your insurance product should you make a claim.

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