Calamine Lotion

Calamine LotionCalamine lotion is a safe and effective treatment for treating skin irritations such as bug bites, sun burns, and minor rashes. The lotion contains ferric oxide and a zinc carbonate or zinc oxide, and is applied topically to the skin. Calamine lotion is one of the oldest treatments for insect bites still in use today. The lotion contains mild antiseptic properties which can prevent infections when applied to oozing blisters caused by chickenpox or other similar medical conditions. It is also one of the two active ingredients of Caladryl, which is amongst the most widely used topical itch relief creams in the world.

The History of Calamine Lotion

Calamine has a long history of use in the United States and around the world. It is believed that calamine first came into use in the 1830’s in the United States. In spite of this, however, no one is certain where the lotion came from or how it was invented. Most likely, calamine started out as a folk medicine and stemmed from common ingredients found around the pharmacy or another location. Zinc, one of its main ingredients, comes from mines and used in a variety of other applications. It is possible that miners or others living near the mines discovered that Zinc could be mixed into a lotion to relieve itching.

Using Calamine Lotion

Calamine lotion produces a cool, tingling feeling that masks itchiness caused by bug bites, rashes, or other irritations. You can also use calamine to treat sun burns. Calamine lotion can also be used to treat pimples and acne, though its effects on those conditions remain unproven. Calamine’s gentleness has also made the medication a popular choice for parents to treat their children.

Calamine lotion is easy to apply. One simply rubs a small amount of lotion on the affected area and a cooling and soothing sensation is quickly felt. You can either dab a small amount on your finger or use a wash cloth/tissue to apply the lotion. Should the itching persist, go ahead and apply another layer of lotion. Unlike many other lotions and ointments, calamine is considered safe for repeated use. Eventually, you will want to take a shower to wash off any residual lotion.

As mentioned, calamine is one of the two active ingredients of Caladryl, a widely popular anti-itch cream. The other active ingredient of Caladryl is Pramoxine HCL, a powerful anti-itch cream that is used in a number of other ointments. With Caladryl, the soothing relief and protection afforded by calamine is combined with the medicinal strength and effectiveness of Pramoxine HCL to provide strong pain relief. Caladryl is also famous for its easily recognizable pink bottle.
When used properly there are few known side effects to calamine lotion, which has contributed to its widespread use. Some people report experiencing dry skin, and other people have reported allergic reactions to ingredients within the lotion. If you are suffering from a rash or inflammation after using calamine lotion, stop immediately and seek medical help. While rare, some people are allergic to ingredients in the lotion and in some cases this can cause severe reactions.

As with any lotion, you should be careful when treating open wounds, such as scratches, and also keep it away from your eyes, ears, and mouth. You should also keep it out of reach from children as accidental ingestion may occur.


If you are suffering from bug bites, itching skin, chickenpox, sun burn, or similar skin conditions, calamine is an excellent choice for quick and lasting relief. The lotion has been safely in use for over a hundred years and is trusted by millions of people. It is very affordable, easy to apply and poses no danger to its users.