Does Calamine Lotion Treat and Help Prevent Acne?

Calamine lotion has been used for centuries to relieve itchiness and discomfort from minor skin conditions, such as hives or mosquito bites.

It also has drying properties, and it’s often used to dry out rashes caused by poisonous plants.

For this reason, calamine lotion may be used as an acne treatment. It can dry out a pimple, eventually making it disappear. However, calamine lotion isn’t a primary treatment for acne.

Calamine lotion for acne

Calamine lotion has shown some benefit in treating acne. However, it doesn’t deal with underlying causes of acne, and it can’t prevent breakouts from happening.

Using calamine lotion as spot treatment can help. Because calamine lotion has drying properties, it can help dry out pimples caused by excess oil faster.

But overdrying acne can cause irritation and make acne worse, so calamine lotion should be used sparingly. Always use it with a moisturizer.

Can you use calamine lotion while pregnant?

Itching, especially on the stomach, is a very common pregnancy symptom. Calamine lotion is generally considered safe to use for itch relief during pregnancy, but it hasn’t been well-studied. Talk to a doctor before using calamine lotion while pregnant.

Can you use calamine lotion on babies?

For most babies, calamine lotion is safe to use. It can relieve general itchiness, eczema, sunburn, and other common skin conditions.

However, you should talk to your child’s pediatrician before using calamine lotion. Some babies – especially those with other skin conditions – have skin that’s too sensitive for most lotions.

Calamine lotion side effects and precautions

Calamine lotion is considered safe to use topically, and very few side effects have been reported.

Allergies to zinc, one of the key components of calamine lotion, haven’t been reported. Some people may be allergic to the inactive ingredients in calamine lotion. Check these inactive ingredients if you have any allergies, especially to some medications.

Signs of an allergic reaction include:

  • your rash getting worse and itchier
  • swelling around where you applied calamine lotion
  • trouble breathing

If you’re having trouble breathing, call 911 or see your doctor immediately. You could be experiencing a life-threatening reaction.

If you have other signs of an allergic reaction, see your doctor as soon as possible.

Calamine lotion can also interact with other skin medications. If you use other topical medications, ask your doctor if calamine lotion is safe before applying it to the same area.

Be sure to only use calamine lotion on your skin. Don’t ingest it or get it near your eyes.

How to use calamine lotion

To use calamine lotion on a pimple, first wash your face with warm water. Shake the bottle, then apply the calamine lotion to your pimple using clean fingers, a cotton ball, or a Q-tip. If using your fingers to apply, be sure to wash your hands when you’re done.

Let the calamine lotion dry to a light pink. Be careful not to touch the lotion with clothing as it dries, because wet calamine lotion can stain. To remove it, rinse with warm water.

You can keep calamine lotion on a pimple as long as overnight. But if you have sensitive skin, you may want to keep it on for less time.

Other uses for calamine lotion

Calamine lotion can be used for most skin conditions or irritations that make you itchy. It won’t cure underlying conditions, but it can treat symptoms. To use calamine lotion, dab or spread it on the affected skin areas.

Conditions typically treated with calamine lotion include:

  • chickenpox
  • poison oak
  • poison ivy
  • poison sumac
  • mosquito bites
  • hives
  • heat rash

Calamine lotion dries out the rashes caused by poison oak, ivy, and sumac, which may ooze as they develop.

Where to buy calamine lotion

Calamine lotion is available over the counter. You can find it in most drug stores or grocery stores. Or you can check out these products available online.


Calamine lotion can help make a single pimple or small rash go away faster by drying them out. But it doesn’t treat underlying causes of acne, such as bacteria, clogged pores, or hormones, nor does it prevent breakouts.

The lotion can also dry out your skin, so if you do use it to spot treat a pimple, don’t use it too often.

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