Finns’ favourite ointments

One of Orion’s first popular products is Hyväsalva, an ointment introduced in 1931. It is effective against infantile atopic dermatitis, or milk crust, for example.

In the 1950s, Orion comes up with the idea of a base for creams, to which pharmacies and hospitals can add active ingredients according to need. It is the first product of its kind in the world.

Pharmacist Salme Jussila (pictured here), who starts work at Orion in the summer of 1952, is one of the people who contribute to its development. “At first, the thought of a base for creams seemed strange. What would be the point of producing a cream with no active ingredients?” Jussila says in 1990.

Developed in cooperation with the dermatology clinic of the Helsinki University Hospital, three products are introduced in 1953: Hyrdan, Lavan and Emulsan. These bases for creams are made at the Vallila plant, mainly by hand. Initially, two machines are in place, with a daily capacity of 80 kilos.

The creams are mixed by pharmacist Seija Leppänen, who later compares her work to making cake batter: “Occasionally, someone would come and try the mixture. Then they would ask me to add a little bit of this or that.”

Some base creams – such as Aqualan, which was introduced in 1963 – have remained popular among Finns over the decades and have become multipurpose products. Some have given way to new products: the latest addition to the Orion family of base creams is Carbalan, a carbamide-containing cream introduced in 2016.