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Balanced Living, Year-Round Health

Do You Need a Salve Or a Cream?

St. Francis Herb Farm Logo
by St. Francis

Herbal preparations like salves and creams are definite must-haves in your natural pharmacy. You can use them for skin rashes, bug bites, burns, scrapes and cuts, and even achy joints. But in order to get the most benefits out of your herbal salves and creams, it helps to understand which one to use and when.

The difference between a salve and a cream is one of the most common questions we get over here at St. Francis Herb Farm, and in this post, we're answering all your questions. Ready? Let's dive into it.

Salve vs cream: what's the difference?

The difference between a salve and a cream is in the ingredients as well as the intended use. Ingredient-wise, salves are more simple and contain fewer ingredients, whereas creams are more complex formulas that contain more ingredients. For instance, salves are often made of only two or three ingredients: olive oil, beeswax, and a herb extract. That's it! Creams, on the other hand, require water and oil to be mixed together into a creamy consistency, which means that creams will also contain natural preservatives like glycerin and citric acid. But the difference doesn't stop there.

Another major difference between salve and cream is that a salve, thanks to its waxy consistency, tends to remain above the skin for longer periods, as opposed to a cream formulated to penetrate the skin. So, how do you know whether you need a salve, or a cream? We're breaking it down below.


When to use a salve

Salves are ideal for relieving skin irritations, inflammations, and wounds. Placed over a cut, salves assist with skin healing as they sit over the area for longer periods. Since salves contain few ingredients, there is minimal risk of skin reaction or allergy. Salves (like our Calendula Salve) are ideal for sensitive baby skin and help heal scratches or wounds. 

Tip: salves can be messy to use, as they don't penetrate the skin as well as creams do.

St. Francis Herb Farm

When to use a cream

Creams are ideal carriers for delivering herbal properties deeper into the layers of skin. Because of their water content, creams penetrate the skin and absorb faster than a salve. For this reason, creams are your go-to choice when it comes to applying topical pain relief (like our Kinomai Cayenne Cream) to soothe joint and muscle aches. 

To conclude, both salves and creams deserve a place in your natural pharmacy – and we know you'll love using them often!

For more information on creams ind salves look at our blog on Calendula Vitamine E Cream.

Have questions? Just visit our Great Questions Answered page to learn more or to submit a question.

St. Francis Herb Farm Logo
Author: St. Francis


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