Dupe of a pharmacy ointment

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PuddinAndPeanuts

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FYI- this would be for my own personal use- not for sale or gifting at all.

Whitfield's ointment is an athletes foot treatment that can be mixed up at pharmacies that still make their own formulations. The active ingredients are 6% benzoic acid and 3% salicylic acid. It's not prescription strength, and not mass produced as far as I know (though I think a few online stores do formulate and sell it). Here's a link to it on Wikipedia

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whitfield's_ointment

I got some from my pharmacy and it's great- but it's $30 for 2 ounces. Can anyone think of any reason at all I can't just buy the benzoic and salicylic acids online and throw it in my foot butter (anhydrous formula)? Alternatively, if you think the salicylic acid needs water to be effective (I believe its water soluble, not sure about the benzoic), I can throw it into a lotion base I got from WSP instead. IF I should go with the lotion base, do I need to heat and hold when adding powders or fragrance oils to a premanufactured lotion base?

The other upside of doing this myself, is that then I get left over salicylic acid to play with! (Fantasizing about putting anywhere from 2-4% in my face scrub...)

I know you all are neither doctors nor pharmacists- I won't consider any opinions on this to be medical advice!

Thanks so much for any help you all can give me on this!

-heidi
 

DeeAnna

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"...Alternatively, if you think the salicylic acid needs water to be effective (I believe its water soluble, not sure about the benzoic), I can throw it into a lotion base..."

If you read the wikipedia article, the base is apparently pure lanolin or vaseline, so this would be an anhydrous formulation. But you should read the references at the bottom of the article and/or check old pharmacist's manuals for confirmation of that.

"...IF I should go with the lotion base, do I need to heat and hold when adding powders or fragrance oils to a premanufactured lotion base?..."

Heating a finished lotion base may cause the emulsion to fail and the heat may also deactivate the preservative system and alter other heat-sensitive additives in the product.
 
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PuddinAndPeanuts

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"...Alternatively, if you think the salicylic acid needs water to be effective (I believe its water soluble, not sure about the benzoic), I can throw it into a lotion base..."

If you read the wikipedia article, the base is apparently pure lanolin or vaseline, so this would be an anhydrous formulation. But you should read the references at the bottom of the article and/or check old pharmacist's manuals for confirmation of that.

"...IF I should go with the lotion base, do I need to heat and hold when adding powders or fragrance oils to a premanufactured lotion base?..."

Heating a finished lotion base may cause the emulsion to fail and the heat may also deactivate the preservative system and alter other heat-sensitive additives in the product.

Thank you! I saw the wiki comment about a Vaseline base, but wasn't certain it was accurate. Wiki is a good source, but far from flawless. I believe the national formulary says to put it in an emulsifying ointment (which I know nothing about other than I'm kind of picturing a thick emulsion that has a little bit of water content), and the product I got from my pharmacist certainly has a high % of water in it.

My main concern was that somehow water soluble additives might be inert for some reason in an anhydrous formula. If that's not a concern, then I'll definitely just add it to my foot butter.
 

TeresaT

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Have you talked to your pharmacist about it? You can explain that you already make your own lotions/butters and are interested in making your own "Whitfield's ointment" since you already have access to the ingredients and it will be far more cost effective for you to make it yourself. The worst that the pharmacist can say is, "I'm not going to help you." Which s/he probably will not do, because it would be unethical to knowingly allow you to do something that may be detrimental to your health. Basically, you're going to make it with or without their advice. So, they're not going to "advise" themselves out of a sale. What they'll be doing is ensuring you are going to make a safe product for yourself since it is an OTC product you are making. If they're not willing to offer counsel on something like this, I personally would look for a new pharmacist. But that's just me. Part of a pharmacist's job is to provide information to their patients. They could always say, "I"m not comfortable providing that information to you, please see your doctor," but most doctors don't know the answers to these types of questions and will refer you to a pharmacist.
 

Soapmaker145

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I've used salicylic acid but not benzoic. You won't be "throwing" them in any base. They are not the most soluble compounds. I use propylene glycol to solubilize salicylic acid. I suspect that it will be good for benzoic acid also. If you want to make this product, you will need to experiment. Neither is soluble in water. A good place to start doing research is wikipedia. Here are the links:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benzoic_acid
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salicylic_acid
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Propylene_glycol

Look at the solubility tables which will give you an idea of where to start.

You can try an oil or a combination of oils. I'm not sure it will get you to 6% benzoic acid plus 2% salicylic. You will need to test adding them a little at a time to your favorite oils to make sure they are soluble at room temperature and they don't fall out of solution. I would also try propylene glycol and/or glycerin and use that as a topical treatment without turning it into a lotion.

If you go the lotion route, you need to figure out how much water you can use before the acids fall out of solution. You need to make the lotion without an emulsifier and watch at what point the acids form a precipitate. Once you have a stable solution (no precipitate) you can remake the product with emulsifier. You can definitely make the ointment for a lot less with some experimentation. Just make sure to get the highest quality acids you can find.
 

PuddinAndPeanuts

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Have you talked to your pharmacist about it? You can explain that you already make your own lotions/butters and are interested in making your own "Whitfield's ointment" since you already have access to the ingredients and it will be far more cost effective for you to make it yourself. The worst that the pharmacist can say is, "I'm not going to help you." Which s/he probably will not do, because it would be unethical to knowingly allow you to do something that may be detrimental to your health. Basically, you're going to make it with or without their advice. So, they're not going to "advise" themselves out of a sale. What they'll be doing is ensuring you are going to make a safe product for yourself since it is an OTC product you are making. If they're not willing to offer counsel on something like this, I personally would look for a new pharmacist. But that's just me. Part of a pharmacist's job is to provide information to their patients. They could always say, "I"m not comfortable providing that information to you, please see your doctor," but most doctors don't know the answers to these types of questions and will refer you to a pharmacist.

I'd normally agree, but I wouldn't trust anything she told me.

When I went in, I told them what I was looking for and she said I needed a prescription because of the salicylic acid. I assured her that 3% was well under the recommended 10% maximum. Then I started asking questions about her base and she started looking at me REALLY suspiciously.

As she's dithering around trying to find something to prove that she can't just make it for me without a prescription, I see the hand cream they make and bottle themselves. No ingredients along with several other more trifling labeling issues. Finally she realizes that I don't need a prescription because it's actually listed on the advertised list of medications that they will make. When I pick it up a few days later, this label also has no ingredients at all- not even a list of the two active ingredients. Now- I admit I have not a clue what labeling laws are on over the counter medications. There is a lot # listed, which leads me to believe that she has records there at the pharmacy recording the details of this batch- and for all I know, that's all that's required. Seems odd though.

At the end of the day, I trust these people to properly utilize a simple recipe. As a pharmacist, I even have faith that the recipe was followed precisely. But I'm moderately certain she doesn't have a clue about any of these ingredients or about the 'why's' behind anything involving bath and body products.

Can you fathom a business like a pharmacy taking that kind of liability risk with their labels? I'm utterly floored...
 

earlene

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Me, too. Utterly floored. They hand out extra pages of medication sheets for the prescription meds. I bet if you asked for a printout about the ingredients, they would have to give it to you. In fact, in reading this article I am wondering if perhaps there is an issue with labeling that is being ignored (if you are in the US and probably many other places as well). Where are you located?

P&P, see page 220 or 222 of this link from the World Health Organization. You can just search the document for 'Whitfield' and it will take you to every reference therein. The formula on pages 220 & 222 are at a higher percentage, but you can alter the percentage to match what is working for you now. There is a lot of information about the use of benzoic and salicylic acids throughout the document, so I recommend reading all those parts before making this yourself. But how to do so is explained, both for the ointment and for the cream.

Do you know how to search the article? If not, here's one way: Click [cntrl] & [f] at the same time, then type in the search word. Each time you hit the [enter] key it will move you to the next use of that word (or phrase), making it easier to find what you are looking for, as reading all 267 pages could be daunting. :)
 

PuddinAndPeanuts

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P&P, see page 220 or 222 of this link from the World Health Organization. You can just search the document for 'Whitfield' and it will take you to every reference therein. The formula on pages 220 & 222 are at a higher percentage, but you can alter the percentage to match what is working for you now. There is a lot of information about the use of benzoic and salicylic acids throughout the document, so I recommend reading all those parts before making this yourself. But how to do so is explained, both for the ointment and for the cream.

Do you know how to search the article? If not, here's one way: Click [cntrl] & [f] at the same time, then type in the search word. Each time you hit the [enter] key it will move you to the next use of that word (or phrase), making it easier to find what you are looking for, as reading all 267 pages could be daunting. :)

Thank you very, very much!!! I'll read it before my shipment of acids come in! I'm in the U.S.- I know they're violating FDA codes for the regular lotion. I've never bothered to look at regulations for medications, so I can guess that it's wrong, but who knows? Thats a can of worms I'm not interested in screwing with in my business.
 

TeresaT

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Thank you very, very much!!! I'll read it before my shipment of acids come in! I'm in the U.S.- I know they're violating FDA codes for the regular lotion. I've never bothered to look at regulations for medications, so I can guess that it's wrong, but who knows? Thats a can of worms I'm not interested in screwing with in my business.
Holy sheep turds! It's definitely time for a new pharmacy. <<shudders>>
 

Dorymae

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Just an FYI , melting beeswax and mixing with castor oil makes a product that looks and acts a lot like petroleum jelly, not quite as trainslucent but with a definite "jelly" like feel and look. I make it for my family and add in tea tree oil as a alternative to antibiotic ointment. Not quite as antibiotic I'm sure, but it works well enough for cuts and scrapes.
 

snappyllama

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Just an FYI , melting beeswax and mixing with castor oil makes a product that looks and acts a lot like petroleum jelly, not quite as trainslucent but with a definite "jelly" like feel and look. I make it for my family and add in tea tree oil as a alternative to antibiotic ointment. Not quite as antibiotic I'm sure, but it works well enough for cuts and scrapes.
Interesting! I'll have to try that as a heavy duty overnight foot balm for sandal feet!
 

penelopejane

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Puddingandpeanuts
It might be that she wasn't the actual pharmacist. We have some pharmacy owners who know nothing but the actual pharmacist does.

The pharmacist made a simple salicylate cream for me and it was a sorbolene base. Not sure how he mixed it in but he said it was just those 2 (goodness knows what the sorbolene had it it though) ingredients. This was years ago so I had no desire or need to question further.
 
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