Cream or ointment application

The amount of cream or ointment to apply depends on the area of skin to be treated. It's important to know how much to use to avoid applying too much or too little.


There are a number techniques for estimating the proper quantity, one of which is the simple and effective fingertip unit method.


This technique involves using your fingertip as a measuring instrument. A continuous line of cream or ointment squeezed along the tip of an adult's index finger (from the first crease to the tip) corresponds to 1 unit. A 30-gram tube contains about 60 units.


One fingertip unit is required to cover both sides of an adult's hand. The table below can be used to estimate the number of units needed for different areas. For example, 8 units are required to cover an adult's leg and foot.

 
AgeHead and neckArm and handLeg and footTorso
(front)
Back
(including buttocks)
3 to 6 months111.511.5
1 to 2 years1.51.5223
3 to 5 years1.52333.5
6 to 10 years22.54.53.55
Adults2.54877


Once you've determined how much to use, apply the cream or ointment to the treatment area and gently massage into the skin. It's possible to use less than one fingertip unit if the area is small. If in doubt, don't hesitate to contact your health care provider.

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