Calamine Lotion

Monica Patrick
Itchy bug bites

For years, mothers and caregivers have relied on calamine lotion as an important first aid treatment. It's a common household ointment used for everything from skin rashes to bug bites.

What is Calamine Lotion?

Calamine lotion is a pink liquid used as a topical medication. Calamine is a combination of zinc and iron oxides. This over-the-counter medication does not require a prescription, and is approved by the Food and Drug Administration. This medicine works in two ways: as an anti-itch or antipuritic, and as a purifying antiseptic for wounds or blisters. Calamine does not treat diseases or conditions; it only soothes and cleanses itchy or irritating symptoms. This product is sold under different brands. Some of these brands add ingredients to give added itch relief. This lotion is inexpensive and is readily available in pharmacies in the United States and Canada.

When to Use It

Calamine may be used to treat a number of skin symptoms and conditions. Common uses for this iron-based lotion include:

  • Poison ivy
  • Poison sumac
  • Poison oak
  • Mosquito bites
  • Fly bites
  • Flea bites
  • Chigger bites
  • Eczema
  • Acne treatment
  • Psoriasis
  • Sunburn
  • Chicken pox
  • Bee stings
  • Wasp stings
  • Hornet stings
  • Jellyfish stings

How to Apply Calamine

Calamine products are simple to use. If your condition does not improve after seven days, you should see your physician or dermatologist. Store your lotion in a cool, dark closet away from direct sunlight.

  1. Rinse the wound with clear, clean water.
  2. Pat the wound, sting or bite dry with a soft cloth.
  3. Shake the product, with the lid on, to mix the ingredients.
  4. Open the lid and place a cotton pad or cotton ball over the opening.
  5. Tip the bottle over, keeping the cotton in place. Allow the cotton a few seconds to absorb some of the lotion.
  6. Dab the calamine-soaked cotton on the area you are treating.
  7. Allow the calamine to dry for one minute and then reapply a second application if needed.
  8. Reapply the lotion as needed for up to a week.

After the lotion dries it will be appear as pink or white spots on the skin. Avoid getting the lotion treated areas wet as this may rinse away your medication.

Calamine Warnings

A few people have reported allergic reactions to calamine products. These reactions are typified by red welts, rising blisters or worsening of the initial conditions. Other reactions like dizziness, swelling of the tongue or throat and difficulty breathing have also been reported. Do not use this product on infants or nursing mothers. If you suspect you are pregnant, do not use calamine. When using this medication, avoid getting it in your eyes or mouth. If you have a deep wound or profuse bleeding, visit your doctor immediately.

First Aid Necessity

If you do not yet have calamine lotion in your first aid kit, consider keeping a small bottle on hand. You will find it useful, especially in summer when children and family spend a lot of time outdoors. Replace your bottle every six months for the best quality product. Observe your loved ones closely when first using the product to ensure that they do not have any negative side effects. For most people, calamine is safe and easy to use.

Calamine Lotion