Stick, spotting the difference

Cutaneous sticks are derived from the cosmetic industry and well-known lipsticks. Yet, it remains an underexploited dosage form for skin delivery, its main usage being with antivirals against labial herpes. However, this solid dosage form is very convenient for on-the-go uses and to apply on localized areas.  Sticks could be used in other therapeutic areas.  

A vast potential still to explore

Cutaneous sticks are easily obtained by fully melting the solid excipients, adding the API, and after complete homogenization pouring into molds. The process is similar to that applied for suppositories or lipsticks. 

Depending on the final use and the area to be treated, the shape of the stick can range from pencil-like for example to treat warts, to lipstick to treat local bleeding or acne, up to to large deodorant-like format to help healing. The nomad format is particularly appealing for patients and can help pursue the treatment out of home.  

Simple formulations

Emollients and oily vehicles 


  • Apifil®: O/W emulsifier with high melting point, about 67°C 

  • Plurol® Diisostearique: W/O emulsifier, liquid at room temperature