Public Health

Uses for Calamine Lotion

A mother applies calamine lotion to her son's arm.

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You might associate calamine with the chalky, pink, soothing lotion used to cure itchiness from ant bites, hives or even chicken pox (before the vaccine was available) in childhood. Did you know it can help relieve the symptoms of a number of itchy skin conditions?

Calamine is an over-the-counter medicine made from powdered calamine mineral used to treat mild itchiness. It provides a cooling, soothing effect upon use. The main ingredients in calamine lotion are zinc oxide and ferric oxide. Let’s explore some common uses of calamine lotion, as well as when — and where — you shouldn’t use it.

What Conditions Can Calamine Lotion Help?

The main use of calamine lotion is to relieve itchiness. Calamine lotion for poison ivy and other poisonous plants can help relieve the itch, along with any pain or discomfort. It can also help dry up any oozing that can develop on your skin due to any irritation.

Other calamine lotion uses include:

Acne: You might be able to use calamine lotion to relieve acne by helping to dry out a pimple as a spot treatment.

Bug bites: You can apply calamine lotion to insect bites and stings to help with mild reactions. Apply the lotion several times a day until your symptoms clear up.

Chickenpox: You can use calamine lotion to help relieve the symptoms of this infectious virus and can also prevent further skin infections.

Chigger bites: Chiggers are a type of mite that feeds on human skin. Their bites can cause skin irritation and itching. You can apply calamine lotion to help relieve the itching.

Heat rash: A heat rash is an area of your skin that becomes irritated when sweat gets trapped in your pores and ducts beneath your skin. Calamine lotion can relieve it.

Hives: Hives can develop for various reasons, including allergic reactions. Calamine lotion can help relieve the itching caused by hives.

Scabies: A small mite can cause a skin condition called scabies. To ease the itching from scabies, you can try applying calamine lotion.

Shingles: Along with antiviral medicines, you can use calamine lotion for shingles. Apply the lotion directly to your skin to get some relief from the symptoms of this condition.

Swimmer’s itch: You can use calamine lotion for rashes like swimmer’s itch. You can develop this skin condition if you swim in water containing certain parasites.

Who Shouldn’t Use Calamine Lotion?

If you have any allergies, talk to your health care provider before using calamine lotion. The inactive ingredients in the medication can cause allergic reactions in some people. Let your provider know if you’re using any other skin products before you use this medication in case of interactions.

If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, reach out to your health care provider before using calamine lotion as well. We don’t yet know if this drug can be passed on to your baby through your placenta or breast milk.

How to Use Calamine Lotion

Calamine should only be used topically (on your skin). Do not ingest it or put it in your eyes. Do not use it on broken skin or an open wound.

If your skin condition doesn’t improve within a week, or gets worse, go to your health care provider for assistance.

We’re Here Whenever You Need Us

At Centra Care, we’re here when you need us most. Whether you need help with an itchy skin condition, the current virus going around or other urgent care needs, we’re open seven days a week.

Our walk-in clinics are in Central Florida, Tampa, Kansas and North Carolina. Walk in or make an online reservation to find compassionate care and world-class expertise, close to home.

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