Calamine lotion is a combination of zinc oxide and ferric oxide and is produced by adding other ingredients like phenol and calcium hydroxide. It has been used as far back as 1500 BC, and more interestingly, it is on the World Health Organization’s List of Essential Medicines (for being an effective and safe medication for health). Which makes us ask one question – is it really that big a deal when it comes to skin health? Read on to find out the benefits of calamine lotion.
Table Of Contents
- What Is Calamine Lotion And How Does It Work?
- What Are The Benefits Of Calamine Lotion?
- What Are The Side Effects Of Calamine Lotion?
What Is Calamine Lotion And How Does It Work?
Calamine lotion (or simply called calamine) is a medication that treats itchiness. It helps treat insect bites, sunburns, and certain mild skin ailments and diseases.
How does calamine lotion work on the skin? The lotion works by its counter-irritant effects. After you apply the lotion to the skin, it evaporates and produces a cooling effect in the process (distracting you from the itchiness or other undesirable sensations). The zinc oxide in the lotion that we spoke about has anti-inflammatory properties, and this further adds to the benefits.
Well, what are those benefits? We will see them now.
What Are The Benefits Of Calamine Lotion?
1. Calamine Lotion Treats Acne
The zinc oxide in calamine location, as we saw, has anti-inflammatory properties. Studies have shown that this can help aid acne treatment (1).
How To Use Calamine Lotion For Acne
You can also use the lotion to treat acne cysts. First, apply steam to bring the pus out of the cysts. Then, apply some tea tree oil to kill the bacteria (using a cotton swab). Post that, take a drop or two of calamine lotion on a cotton swab and spot-treat the cysts. Gently rub the lotion over the affected areas. Leave it on for up to 3 hours so that it dries completely. You can rinse with warm water. Do this twice a day.
2. Helps Eliminate Dark Spots
Kaolin, one of the calamine lotion ingredients is known to reduce dark spots on constant application.
How To Use
Simply wash your face and gently pat dry with a clean towel. Using a cotton swab, apply the lotion to the affected areas. You might want to coat a little more, depending on the intensity of the spots. Use the calamine lotion at night and leave it on. Wash your face as usual in the morning.
Ensure you don’t apply it to the areas immediately around the eyes. And yes, a small, clean makeup brush can make application easier.
[ Read: Home Remedies To Cure Dark Spots ]
3. Soothes Dry Skin
This is one of the most popular calamine lotion uses. Using calamine lotion for treating dry skin is simple. Add a few drops to a cotton swab and gently rub it on the dry areas. You can keep it on for about 3 hours and wash away with warm water.
4. Treats Diaper Rashes In Babies
As calamine lotion is used to ease skin irritation, it can be a wonderful remedy for diaper rashes in babies. It works by keeping the skin free from moisture and prevents the rashes from recurring.
How To Use
You can apply the lotion either directly or with a cotton swab. Rub it on the affected areas and leave it to dry. Ensure you shake the bottle a bit before using – this can give you a thick and even consistency.
Also, keep in mind that you apply it only to the affected areas (and you can do so as often as you need). But if the condition doesn’t improve in a week, please take your baby to a doctor.
5. Relieves Itches During Pregnancy
Also called pruritus, this is one common symptom in pregnant women where the body begins to itch. Mild attacks can be treated successfully with antipruritic preparations like calamine lotion, as per studies (2).
Even the American Pregnancy Association suggests using calamine lotion to curb itching during pregnancy.
How To Use
You can apply the lotion directly to the affected areas or use a cotton swab. Leave it on to dry. If the itching persists or is severe, consult your doctor.
6. Calamine Lotion Treats Insect Bites
The zinc oxide in the lotion creates a cooling sensation upon contact with skin. This offers temporary relief from mosquito bites (or ant bites). Though in some cases, the lotion could heal the underlying inflammation too, this may not happen at all times.
How To Apply Calamine Lotion On Insect Bites
Simply apply the lotion to the affected area and massage gently. Repeat multiple times in a day.
7. Calamine Lotion Treats Armpit Rashes
The lotion works in a similar way as on rashes on other areas of the body. It is an effective treatment that cures armpit rashes that cause irritation, inflammation, and discomfort all day long.
Calamine lotion also accelerates the healing process.
How To Use
You can take a liberal amount of lotion on your fingertips and apply to the affected areas. Repeat as many as times as required.
8. Treats Chicken Pox Blisters
If the accompanying fever and body aches are one side of the equation, the uncomfortable blisters are the other side. Calamine lotion contains phenol, menthol, and camphor – all of which were found to soothe the skin and dry out chicken pox blisters (4).
How To Use
Applying the lotion to the blisters (with extra caution) can dry them out and relieve the discomfort.
But keep in mind not to use the lotion on areas around your eyes and mouth. Also, stick to calamine lotion and don’t use hydrocortisone cream (a purported equivalent to calamine lotion) on your blisters – as the cream might interfere with the healing of your blisters.
You can also supplement this remedy with colloidal oatmeal baths for relieving itching during chickenpox (5).
9. Treats Eczema And Psoriasis
The zinc oxide and ferrous oxide in calamine lotion have a role to play here. While the former is a potent antiseptic and prevents infections, the latter improves skin tone.
How To Use Calamine Lotion For Eczema
Apply the lotion to the affected areas. Just ensure you don’t apply it without first cleansing your skin. Also, don’t use the lotion in excessive quantities.
The lotion relieves itching and can improve the skin condition – both in the case of eczema and psoriasis.
10. Aids The Treatment Of Genital Warts
Calamine lotion can heal the affected areas and might even kill the virus (although research is lacking on this). However, this information about calamine lotion is based on anecdotal evidence only. Consult your doctor before you use the lotion for this purpose.
11. The Lotion Might Treat Hives
Calamine lotion applied to hives can help relieve itching. It achieves this by cooling your skin.
How To Use Calamine Lotion For Hives
Simply add a few drops of the lotion to a cotton pad or cloth and gently rub it over the affected areas.
12. Can Treat Jock Itch
Though calamine lotion may not relieve jock itch completely, it can offer temporary relief by reducing the itchiness and discomfort. For better treatment, it is best to consult your doctor.
13. Treats Nail Fungus
Though there is very less information on this, anecdotal evidence suggests that the zinc oxide in calamine lotion can help treat nail fungus. But calamine doesn’t have antifungal properties – so how it helps treat nail fungus is unknown (we aren’t sure if it even does). Hence, talk to your doctor about it.
14. Calamine Lotion Reduces Oiliness
Some reports say that calamine lotion can keep your T-zone in check for at least 9 hours a day.
How To Use
You can use calamine lotion for face (especially the T-zone). Some individuals have reported itchiness after using calamine lotion – so we suggest you do a patch test. Also, don’t use the lotion for this purpose if you have dry skin.
[ Read: How To Get Rid Rid Of Oiliness ]
15. Might Open Skin Pores
There is very little research on this. But some sources say calamine lotion can calm the skin and open skin pores so that they can breathe.
16. Treats Shingles
Applying calamine lotion can help reduce the itching and pain associated with shingles.
How To Use
As per the American Academy of Dermatology, applying calamine lotion gently to the affected areas can help treat shingles (6).
You can also apply the lotion after baths and showers – this soothes the irritated skin (7).
17. Relieves Itchy Vulva
Since calamine lotion can relieve itchiness, it can be used to address an itchy vulva.
How To Use
Just apply little amounts of the lotion to the affected area.
18. Accelerates Wound Healing
This property of calamine lotion is attributed to the zinc it contains. The mineral is important for treating wounds and skin regeneration. The lotion also inhibits the growth of microbes – preventing any further infection and accelerating wound healing.
19. Might Help Treat Yeast Infection
Yeast infection has something to do with fungus, again. And there is not enough evidence to support the claim that calamine lotion could really treat yeast infection. The information we have is only from anecdotal reports. Hence, consult your doctor.
20. Calamine Lotion Treats Poison Ivy Rash
You can use calamine lotion for poison ivy rash treatment. Applying the lotion to the affected areas while still damp can offer some relief. But ensure your skin is not dried too much – which might happen if you use calamine lotion for extended periods (8).
21. Treats Scabies
This contagious skin disease can be quite painful – with those red spots constantly itching. But with calamine lotion, you can find some relief.
How To Use
Apply calamine lotion to the affected areas (you can use a cotton swab) and then soak yourself in a cool bath. This will ease itching (9).
That’s with the benefits. But we hope you don’t use too much of calamine lotion, as it can have side effects.
What Are The Side Effects Of Calamine Lotion?
There are very few adverse effects associated with the excess use of calamine lotion. But in case you experience irritation after applying it, stop use and consult your doctor for an alternative medication.
Severe side effects, though rare, include hives and swelling of the tongue, throat, or face.
Calamine lotion may not be the ultimate cure for a few skin ailments – but it sure does relieve the symptoms and help you deal with them. Start using it today.
And tell us how this post on benefits of calamine lotion has helped you. Leave a comment in the box below.
- “Zinc therapy in dermatology”. US National Library of Medicine.
- “The effect of peppermint oil…”. US National Library of Medicine.
- “Insect bites and stings”. WebMD.
- “Chickenpox: Controlling the itch”. University of Michigan.
- “Chicken pox (Varicella)”. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- “Dermatologists share tips…”. American Academy of Dermatology.
- “7 simple self-care tips…”. WebMD.
- “Poison ivy, oak…”. WebMD.
- “Scabies”. US National Library of Medicine.
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