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Finger unit

Fingertip units is a term coined by CC Long and AY Finlay who, in an article published in 1991, described a convenient way of measuring how much cream prescribe to a patient with skin disease. Accurate prescription is particularly important for current steroids

One unit describes the amount of cream squeezed from its tube onto the end of your finger, as shown.

Finger unit


Finger unit

The amount of cream on a finger unit varies with age:

  • Adult male: 1 finger unit provides 0.5 g
  • Adult female: 1 finger unit provides 0.4 g
  • 4 year old child: about 1/3 of the adult amount
  • Baby 6 months to 1 year: about 1/4 of the adult amount.

The amount of cream to use varies with the part of the body:

  • One hand: apply 1 unit of finger
  • One arm: apply 3 finger units
  • One foot: apply 2 units of fingertips
  • One leg: apply 6 units of fingertips
  • Face and neck: apply 2.5 finger units
  • Front and rear trunk: 14 fingertip units
  • Whole body: about 40 units.


An adult woman applies a cream once a day to both arms. She uses 2.4 g in a day (2 arms x 3 fingertip units x 0.4 g = 2.4 g). This is 16.8 g per week (7 x 2.4 g).
A 30g tube should last you two weeks. But if you apply it twice a day (4.8 g/day), the tube will be gone in less than a week (33.6 g/week).

An adult man applies a cream once a day to dorsal and fly surfaces of both feet and both hands. Use about 3g per day (2 feet x 2 units PLUS 2 hands x 1 unit, x 0.5g = 3.0g). This works out to 21g/week (7 x 3g).
A 50g tube should last about 2 1/2 weeks.

A baby has a cream applied twice a day all over the body, which is about 10 g a day.