Calamine Lotion 101: One Solution To Multiple Skin Problems

Calamine Lotion One Solution To Multiple Skin Problems

We must have used calamine lotion at least once. This lotion, with a pink liquid formulation, heals and soothes a zillion skin problems. A few months back, I suffered from Dengue and had itchy rashes all over my body. My physician prescribed me soothing calamine lotion with a mild fragrance and asked me to use it 2-3 times a day. I got instant relief from using it.

Being an OTC lotion, it can be a truly handy solution for all to combat itchiness, rashes, and other skin problems. It has the recommendation of WHO and CDC as an effective medication.

Here is a guide telling you everything you need to know for using calamine lotion for different skin problems.

Read on.

What Is Calamine Lotion?

The World Health Organization or WHO has enlisted calamine lotion as an “essential medicine.” You can buy calamine lotions and medicines over the counter, and these have been used for ages as the one-stop solution for itching and diverse skin problems.

Calamine lotion comes with the goodness of ferric oxide and zinc oxide. These active ingredients make calamine lotion packed with medicinal properties. 

If you preserve calamine lotion properly at room temperature, it usually for a couple of years. Check the expiry date of the lotion if it has been lying in your home for quite some time now.

For proper preservation, keep the lotion at room temperature and do not expose it to high heat and the Sun. 

What Are The Calamine Lotion Ingredients?

Calamine Lotion Ingredients

Calamine lotion is rich in the goodness of many ingredients, and each ingredient has an important role in combating acne and other skin issues. 

Have a look at the table below to know about its ingredients.

Calamine Lotion Active IngredientsFerric Oxide And Zinc Oxide
Inactive IngredientsPurified Water, Calcium Hydroxide, Glycerin, Bentonite Magma

The inactive ingredients of the calamine lotion will vary from one brand to another. 

Why Is Calamine Lotion So Effective?

Calamine lotion is so effective because the World Health Organization has included it in the “Model List of Essential Medicines” in the category of “anti-inflammatory and anti-itch” medicines. Other medicines classified under this category are prednisolone, betamethasone, and hydrocortisone.

Again, The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recommended using calamine lotion and other topical medicines to treat itching caused by contact with poisonous plants.

Calamine lotion gets its skin soothing and healing properties from zinc oxide. Zinc oxide also infuses skin-protective qualities into the formulation of a calamine lotion. 

In addition, calamine lotion is a solution with anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and astringent properties. 

Use Of Calamine Lotion

Calamine lotion works to improve a lot of skin problems and conditions. Along with itchiness, it works to alleviate minor burns and remove dark spots and skin blemishes.

In addition, if you have rashes that are oozing out, calamine lotion can be their ultimate treatment. The lotion can dry up the rashes. Thanks to this drying property of calamine lotion, it is also used as a makeup essential for priming. 

Nonetheless, here are 10+ skin conditions for which calamine lotion will be effective. 

Calamine Lotion For Eczema

Calamine Lotion For Eczema

Calamine lotion comes with the goodness of zinc oxide and glycerin. The lotion works as an antiseptic, antibacterial, moisturizing, and protective agent at the same time. 

In eczema, people can have fluid-filled blisters that ooze out or weep. Calamine lotion is effective in healing skin oozing. 

Calamine Lotion For Acne

Calamine lotion has astringent and antiseptic properties. The astringent in calamine lotion keeps the skin pores tight and thus prevents too much accumulation of sebum and other types of skin debris. The antibacterial properties of the calamine lotion prevent bacteria attacks or bacterial buildup in the skin pores. So, it works both as a protective and healing solution for acne problems. 

However, thanks to its astringent properties, calamine lotion is not suitable for the treatment of acne in dry skin. 

Calamine Lotion For Heat Rash

Calamine Lotion For Heat Rash

If you have heat rashes, you can use calamine lotion. It does not allow the accumulation of sweat in your skin pores by keeping them tight.

Also, this lotion’s healing and soothing properties stop itchiness, inflammation, and other discomfort related to heat rashes. 

Calamine Lotion For Chigger Bites

Chigger mites survive by eating human skin, and you will experience itchiness when these mites bite. Do not scratch your skin if you are bitten by chiggers. Scratching will lead to mild to severe skin infections.

Calamine lotion can be an effective solution to treat chigger bites. Wash the affected area properly with soap and water and let it dry for a while.

Now, pour the lotion on a cotton wool pad and apply it on your skin. The antibacterial properties of the lotion will prevent bacterial infection, and the anti-inflammatory quality of the lotion will alleviate inflammation and itching/discomfort caused by that.

You can use a cold compress along with calamine lotion to facilitate the process of healing chigger bites faster. 

Calamine Lotion For Minor Burns

Calamine Lotion For Minor Burns

Calamine lotion offers relief from itching and other skin irritations caused by minor burns. This formulation is packed with major healing properties. At the same time, calamine lotion will stop bacterial attacks and itchiness, two of the most common skin irritations caused by minor burns. 

However, do not use calamine lotion on wounds caused by major burns and deep cuts. Avoid using the lotion, even on blisters caused by burns. 

Calamine Lotion For Protection From Infections Caused By Poisonous Plants

Poison oak, poison ivy, and poison sumac are some of the most poisonous plants that can cause itching and rashes. Sometimes, these rashes become weepy.

Topical application of calamine lotion can relieve itchiness and help dry the weeping or oozing rashes. So, the chance of the further spread of these rashes will be eliminated.

The use of calamine lotion will also stop further bacterial accumulation and attack the rashes caused by contact with these plants. Don’t scratch your rashes to stop bacterial infection.

Use the lotion 3-4 times a day to get the best result. A cold compress can help to reduce itchiness and discomfort. 

Calamine Lotion For Scabies

Scabies is one of the most severe skin conditions. Caused by small mites, this skin disease can cause extreme itching. These small mites create holes in the upper layer of your skin and lay eggs there. So, these mites spread to your skin in almost no time.

Nevertheless, itchiness caused by scabies is the most severe at night. Other symptoms of this skin problem include rashes and sores. It is difficult to avoid scratching with nails as the itchiness in scabies is almost unbearable. However, scratching further makes your skin subject to bacterial infection.

Calamine Lotion For Scabies

Sometimes, the skin becomes crusted with the attack of scabies. This more severe condition is called crusted scabies. 

Calamine works for this skin condition in multiple ways. It soothes the itchiness, dries up the rashes, heals the sores, and protects your skin from further infection.

If you have a severe scabies attack, your doctor will prescribe oral medications along with the topical application of calamine lotion.

Scabies is a highly infectious disease, and its treatment requires you to be extremely careful about your hygiene. You have to wash your clothes, towels, bedsheets, and pillow covers in hot water. Ensure that all the items are dried up properly before use. Dry them at high temperature (140 degrees F or more). Also, vacuum the upholstered furniture and carpets you use. 

Calamine Lotion For Chicken Pox

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends calamine lotion as an effective medicine for chicken pox. This topical solution can reduce itchiness and skin irritation, dry up the rashes/blisters, and prevent bacterial attacks.

However, the CDC has suggested a proper guideline regarding the use of calamine lotion for chicken pox.

  • Take a bath with uncooked oatmeal, baking soda, and colloidal oatmeal. 
  • Apply calamine lotion all over your body. Oatmeal and calamine lotion both have anti-itching properties. So, you will get some much-needed relief.

However, the pain caused by blisters of chicken pox will not go away with this topical lotion. You will need to take prescribed oral medications for the same. 

Calamine Lotion For Bug Bites

Calamine Lotion For Bug Bites

Calamine lotion effectively works to stop skin irritations and problems caused by bug bites and stings. This medicine with zinc oxide removes itchiness and discomfort caused in your skin. At the same time, it stops further bacterial or viral attacks on your skin.

Calamine lotion comes with antihistamine properties, and that’s why it is used widely for the treatment of allergies, itchiness, and other skin conditions. The antihistamine property of the lotion comes from diphenhydramine.

Diphenhydramine fights against histamines, the villain causing itchiness, swelling, and peskiness in your skin. 

Calamine Lotion For Swimmer’s Itch

Swimmer’s itch is a common skin concern among swimmers or people who love to hit the swimming pool daily. Water in the pool can get infested with parasites, and a bath in that water can cause itchiness and other skin problems.

Swimmer’s itch causes itchy rashes. If one scratches the rashes, their skin becomes subject to bacterial infections.

Calamine lotion can alleviate itchiness and prevent bacterial attack at the same time. So, it’s a great topical medicine for the treatment of swimmer’s itch. 

Calamine Lotion For Shingles

Shingles is a viral infection caused by varicella-zoster, the same virus that makes us suffer from chicken pox. The affected person has blisters over any part of their body in shingles. These blisters are itchy and painful. And like all other skin problems, scratching or popping these blisters can invite bacterial attacks. 

Calamine Lotion For Shingles

Calamine lotion is very effective in treating this skincare condition for multiple reasons. 

  • It alleviates itchiness thanks to the presence of zinc oxide.
  • The lotion stops bacterial attacks.
  • It promotes quick drying of the blisters.

However, shingles are a serious skin condition that cannot be cured with calamine lotion alone. Along with applying this lotion, you must take an oatmeal bath, wet compresses, and pain relievers.

If your skin irritation does not go away within seven days, visit a doctor immediately. 

Calamine Lotion For Hives

Hives are skin rashes and are usually caused by allergic reactions to medicines, food items, or external skin irritants. Histamine is released into the capillaries, and hives are formed. However, hives can occur for many reasons, and all the factors causing these annoying skin rashes are not yet known.

Excessive exposure to the Sun, heat, or cold weather can also cause hives. Other major reasons behind getting hives are bites of bugs and stings.

Calamine lotion can reduce the itchiness and irritation of the rashes caused by hives. Also, this lotion does not allow bacterial attacks on your skin.

Calamine lotion is the most effective for the treatment of hives because it has antihistamines. The antihistamine present in calamine lotion is known as diphenhydramine.

Further, the rashes caused by hives can ooze out, and again, calamine lotion will be a great solution to deal with this skin problem. The astringent in calamine lotions will help to dry out the weeping rashes. 

Calamine Lotion For Sunburn

Calamine Lotion For Sunburn

Excessive exposure to the Sun can cause many skin problems like Sunburns and hives. Sunburns can cause redness, pain, itchiness, and blisters. Topical application of the calamine lotion can be a solution to get rid of these problems.

Calamine lotion will alleviate itchiness and help the blisters to dry up quickly. Further, it will stop bacterial infections as it comes with antiseptic properties.

The major active ingredient of calamine lotion is zinc oxide. Zinc oxide is potent enough to create a shield against the Sun’s harmful UV rays. Thus, your skin gets all the protection from Sun damage.

Calamine lotion also offers protection from peeling caused by the Sun’s harmful rays. 

Calamine Lotion For Dark Spots

Dark spots are not skin diseases but definitely a skin concern. The areas under our eyes and in some other parts of our body become darker due to much exposure to the Sun. Along with the under-eye areas, dark spots are also seen on your hands.

Calamine lotion has zinc oxide as an active ingredient. So, it can offer powerful protection from the Sun by blocking harmful UV rays. So, this lotion will prevent the formation of dark spots in the first place.

Again, calamine lotion comes with Kaolin, which can effectively remove dark spots. Calamine lotion is applied in a targeted way to remove dark spots. Usually, calamine lotion is lathered on the dark spots and kept overnight for the lightening and removal of dark spots.

However, be careful while applying calamine lotion on the dark spots under your eyes. Calamine will cause irritation if it goes into your eyes. 

Is Calamine Lotion Safe For Me If I Have Allergies?

Is Calamine Lotion Safe For Me If I Have Allergies

Calamine lotions are skin-friendly but can be interactive if you already have allergy- or acne-prone skin. Depending on your brand, a calamine lotion will come with variable inactive ingredients. Those inactive ingredients can cause allergic reactions and dryness in your skin. Increased dryness can worsen your acne problems.

Similarly, calamine lotion has mild astringent properties that can aggravate inflammation and increase dryness to make your acne problem severe. 

So, if you have any of these conditions and are already applying some skincare products, consult your dermatologist before using calamine lotion. 

How To Use Calamine Lotion?

Calamine lotion is used topically, and here is your step-by-step guide.


  • Cleanse the affected area gently using a gentle cleanser and water. If it’s for the treatment of scabies and eczema, use an antibacterial cleansing solution.
  • Let the cleaned area be arid.
  • Take some calamine lotion on the cotton wool pad and apply it to your skin. 
  • Repeat the process two to four times a day for effective results.


  • Apply directly on your skin, as it can cause allergic reactions.
  • Forget to wash your hands after applying the lotion. 

Safety Precautions For Using Calamine Lotion?

Calamine lotion will need you to follow some basic safety precautions. This medicine is solely for topical application. So, if it goes into your eyes, mouth, nose, or throat by mistake, you will feel irritation instantly. In such cases, you must immediately wash your eyes or other areas.

Also, keep it away from children as swallowing calamine lotion can cause diarrhea, vomiting, and mild-to-major abdominal discomforts. 

Always use the lotion in moderation, as it can cause extreme dryness. Calamine lotion also leaves a mild film on your skin. So be careful about staining your clothes. 

Calamine Lotion CVS: The Best Protection For Your Skin

CVS Calamine Plus is an effective solution to get rid of itchiness and many other skin problems. It comes with 8% calamine and 1% Pramoxine HCl. It protects the skin and works as an external analgesic agent.

Camphor and glycerin are two of the inactive ingredients of calamine lotion. So, it comes with a skin-soothing property. 

Along with the CVS Calamine Plus, the Walgreens Calamine lotion is another great option to get rid of skin problems. It comes with the goodness of glycerin and calcium hydroxide. 

When To Seek Medical Attention?

Calamine lotion comes with minor side effects. At the same time, it is not a cure treatment for the most severe skin conditions. It’s effective in alleviating discomforts and promotes healing. So, if you use this lotion for seven days or so and the situation does not improve, or the condition worsens, seek medical help immediately.

Further, the calamine lotion’s astringent property can cause skin dryness and inflammation. 

Being a topical medicine, calamine lotion comes with risks of allergic reactions. These allergic reactions give birth to multiple other side effects, including swelling of the face, tightness in the throat, nausea, abdominal discomfort, fever, vomiting, dizziness, fainting, etc. 

Consult your physician immediately if you face any of these side effects. 

Calamine Lotion Topical Route And Interaction  

Calamine lotion is safe, but it interacts with apomorphine, esketamine, flibanserin, and sodium oxybate. Among these four, sodium oxybate and esketamine are highly interactive. So, the risks or problems arising from using these drugs in combination are much bigger than the benefits.  

Flibanserin and apomorphine are moderately interactive with calamine. That said, these combinations are only used for critical medical conditions, as some amount of risk is always associated with them.  

However, you have to always remember that this concoction is most suitable for external use. So, if it gets into your eyes, mouth, or genitals, you need to wash it immediately. 

Further, if you apply calamine lotion on broken wounds or deep cuts, it may aggravate the condition. So, be attentive while applying this lotion to your body.  

Natural Substitutes For Calamine Lotion  

If you want to enjoy the skin benefits of calamine lotion without worrying about the side effects, you can always pick the natural alternatives. Here, I have curated some recipes for how to make your natural calamine lotion at home. 

These natural remedies contain the antiinflammatory and anti-itching properties of calamine, and making them is easy. So, let’s get started.  

Sea Salt Mix As Your Natural Calamine Solution  

To make this sea salt mix at home, you will need sea salt and baking soda in a 1:1 ratio. You will also need bentonite clay in an equal amount to get the mixture ready.  

Be careful while adding water to this mix and making this paste. Do not add all the water once, as you do not want a running mix. The consistency should be smooth and perfect to apply to your face. Once you have achieved the right consistency, you can add 3-5 drops of peppermint, chamomile, and lavender to the solution.  

Can I Avoid Using Calamine Lotion For Bug Bites? 

If you do not want to use calamine lotion for simple bug bites, you can try the following natural remedies.  

Lavender And Ice

Lavender and ice complement each other to offer quick relief from itching and skin irritation. Ice makes the affected area numb, while the use of lavender in the mix alleviates swelling.  

This lavender ice cube is easy to make. Add a few drops of lavender oil to the water and pour the water mix into the ice tray.  

Take An Oatmeal Bath

Oats, rich in many compounds, are excellent for alleviating swelling. Oats can also minimize itchiness and other forms of skin irritation. So, if a bug has bitten you, you can try an oatmeal bath and catch some instant relief.  

Try Used Tea Bags

Did you know that tea bags that are used have skin-healing properties? You can especially apply used green tea bags or chamomile tea bags to your bug-infected or bitten skin.  

For the best effect, you can use refrigerated tea bags and enjoy instant relief.  

Try Apple Cider Vinegar 

You can take some apple cider vinegar and soak cotton balls into it. For instant bug-bite relief, you can apply the cotton ball directly to your skin. However, if you have sensitive skin, you can always mix some cold water with the apple cider vinegar before application.  

Summing Up

Made with zinc oxide and ferric oxide as the active ingredients, calamine lotion works to alleviate eczema, scabies, acne, and a variety of skin conditions. It comes with antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and astringent properties.

This lotion is suitable for people across all age groups (above two years) and is safe to use during pregnancy. 

So, keep a calamine lotion in your home-remedy box to get a quick solution to multiple skin problems.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is Calamine Good For Daily Use?

Yes, calamine lotion is ideal for daily use. You can use it 2-4 times a day to protect and heal your skin. However, using calamine lotion regularly is not good for you if you have dry skin, as the astringent in the lotion reduces the oil and water levels in your skin. 

Can I Leave Calamine Lotion Overnight?

Calamine lotion is often used for spot treatment or pimple removal. In such cases, the lotion is left on the affected spot for the entire night. The lotion boosts the drying up of acne lesions and ensures a speedy removal.

However, calamine lotion has astringent properties. So, your skin becomes dry, irritated, inflamed, or extremely dry if you leave the lotion overnight. 

Is Calamine Lotion Good For Skin Whitening?

Calamine lotion comes with the goodness of Kaolin, which is effective in the removal of dark spots. As calamine lotion is able to remove blemishes and dark spots from your skin, you will get visually clear skin.

Is It Safe To Use Calamine Lotion As A Makeup Primer?

Many people use calamine lotion as a makeup primer because it can effectively hide dark spots and blemishes to give you a better and even skin tone. Also, the astringent property of the lotion may help better in setting the makeup by controlling the oil in your skin. Some people love the thin and white film it leaves.

However, dermatologists never recommend using calamine lotion as a primer on a regular basis, as it can cause allergic reactions. Further, this lotion is unsuitable for people with sensitive skin.

This lotion’s inactive ingredients and artificial fragrance can aggravate acne and allergic problems.

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