Calamine is an anti-itch medicine that also has a drying effect on eczema; poison oak, ivy, and sumac; and insect bites. According to Marla Ahlgrimm, it creates a slight cooling sensation as it dries. Calamine is usually administered via a non-prescription topical ointment, which is suspended in oils. This “lotion” must be shaken well before being applied to the skin.
Most people can safely use calamine lotion. However, Marla Ahlgrimm explains that some allergies might preclude certain individuals. If you have ever had an adverse reaction to calamine or to the dyes used in the lotion, then consult with your healthcare provider before use. She also advises speaking with your child’s pediatrician if they have never used calamine before. Check the label for potential allergens, and talk to your pharmacist if you are unfamiliar with the ingredients.
How to use calamine lotion
Calamine is used on the skin only, and should never be ingested. Marla Ahlgrimm says that using calamine lotion begins with shaking the bottle well to evenly distribute the medicine.
The solution may be applied with your fingers or a cotton ball. Allow the area to dry before covering with clothing. Calamine lotion will wash off easily with exposure to water or sweat, cautions Marla Ahlgrimm. Reapplication may be needed after spending time outdoors.
Marla Ahlgrimm notes that calamine lotion can ease itching associated with minor skin issues. It should not be used to treat spider bites or severe sunburn without first receiving medical attention.