Calamine Lotion for Acne

If you’re dealing with stubborn acne and are looking for a natural and inexpensive solution to calm redness, flatten the bumps, and soothe the itch, calamine lotion may be your answer.

A natural mineral that has been a skin saver for centuries, this common over-the-counter product is exceptionally advantageous when it comes to managing all sorts of inflammation on the skin.

An ideal option for anyone who wants a quick, commitment-free, and affordable fix, calamine lotion is simple to identify in the store – it’s a pink lotion often found alongside sunburn and other skincare products and is typically very inexpensive.

Therefore, if you’ve heard of the healing powers that come with calamine lotion but want to learn more about how to use it on the skin, you’re in the right place.

In this article, we’ll cover what calamine lotion is and how it works, the benefits of using it on acne-prone skin, and some tips on how to get the most out of this natural product.

What is Calamine?

Calamine is a naturally derived mineral that has been used in traditional medicine for centuries. It consists of zinc oxide, iron oxide, and magnesium carbonate, making it a powerhouse of dermal health benefits.

Skin Benefits of Calamine

Frequently found in lotions, masks, and moisturizers, calamine has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that can help soothe redness and relieve inflammation on the skin while also reducing the overgrowth of pathogenic bacteria.

Historically, calamine has been used to keep the skin clear and free of pathogens, as well as soothe bug bites, rashes, and inflammation caused by contact with plants that contain components with irritating or allergenic substances, such as stinging nettles, poison ivy, and thistles.

Furthermore, besides calming inflammation, calamine can also stop the oozing and weeping caused by blisters and sores while keeping the skin dry and preventing further irritation.

Additionally, calamine’s anti-inflammatory properties can also help reduce redness, swelling, and irritation surrounding a pimple, making this centuries-old remedy an effective acne treatment.

Finally, calamine can also help relieve sunburns due to its high zinc content. Many studies have reported that zinc plasma levels significantly decrease after a burn, leading to zinc deficiency, and that increased free radical generation and decreased natural antioxidants may negatively affect wound healing and burn outcomes in general.

Therefore, applying zinc-rich calamine lotion can help replenish lost zinc levels and strengthen the skin to be able to fight against free radicals more efficiently while speeding up the recovery process from sunburns.

How to Use Calamine Lotion for Acne?

Calamine lotion can be an effective treatment for mild to moderate acne. Here’s how to use it in different ways for the best results:

Over Larger Areas

If you have acne in larger areas of the face and body, calamine lotion can help soothe the inflammation and reduce the redness surrounding the pimples.

Therefore, before using calamine lotion on your face, cleanse your skin thoroughly with a gentle cleanser and allow it to try for a few minutes.

After that, while the skin is still damp but not wet, apply calamine lotion over the affected areas and wait until it dries.

The treatment usually takes 5-10 minutes or until the calamine lotion dries out; however, if your skin feels comfortable, you can leave the calamine lotion on the skin for up to 30 minutes.

On a Single Pimple

Calamine lotion is an excellent spot treatment; therefore, when using it on a single pimple, you should apply it on clean skin and over that specific spot and leave it on for 5-10 minutes or until it fully dries.

On a Ruptured Pimple

So, you popped a pimple, and now you’re dealing with a red, inflamed, and oozing bump?

Worry not, as calamine lotion can be an excellent option for instantly soothing inflammation and drying out the weeping area.

All you have to do is drop a few drops of hydrogen peroxide on a cotton swab and gently clean the area. Once the pimple is dry and sanitized, you want to use the clean side of the cotton swab to apply a few drops of calamine lotion over the oozing spot.

Avoid using your fingers when applying calamine lotion over a ruptured pimple, as this will transfer bacteria onto the broken skin that can make their way deeper into the body and cause inflammation.

Finally, allow it to dry for a few minutes or overnight, and follow up with your regular skincare routine in the morning.

Side Effects of Using Calamine Lotion for Acne

Although gentle, anti-inflammatory, and soothing for the skin, calamine, like every other ingredient in skincare products, should be used with caution due to its ability to cause skin irritations or allergic reactions in some cases.

To prevent any unwanted side effects, you should always patch-test the product before applying it to larger areas of the skin and potentially experiencing uncomfortable adverse effects.

Additionally, avoid mixing calamine with other active ingredients, such as exfoliating acids or retinoids. Calamine won’t interfere with their function; however, its ability to leave the skin dry can cause potent actives to become more irritating on the skin and lead to discomfort in some instances.

Can Calamine Lotion Fade Acne Scars?

Calamine can help soothe active acne; however, it won’t do much to fade the scars left behind by old breakouts.

Calamine doesn’t have melanin-inhibiting properties that would stop certain enzymes from overproducing the brown pigment responsible for dark spots; therefore, it’s unlikely it will help even out the skin tone and fade post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.

Additionally, calamine doesn’t have collagen-stimulating properties that would help speed up the healing process and replace scar tissue with healthy skin, which is what’s needed to improve atrophic or hypertrophic acne scarring.

Finally, due to high levels of zinc, calamine could potentially have an effect on slightly improving post-inflammatory erythema, which are red spots left from acne that are more common in those with fair skin. However, the results are usually very subtle and too negligent to consider calamine a competent scar-fading treatment.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Use Calamine Daily?

Using calamine too often or leaving it on the skin for too long can cause dryness, compromising the skin’s moisture barrier and leading to irritations over time.
This is why using calamine daily isn’t recommended; therefore, make sure to apply it as instructed and no more than 2-3 times a week as a short contact therapy option for instantly soothing redness and inflammation.

Can You Use Calamine Lotion on Fungal Acne?

Yes, calamine lotion can help soothe inflammation and itching caused by the overgrowth of yeast on the skin, which is the main cause of fungal acne.
However, while calamine might be an excellent temporary solution for minimizing symptoms of fungal acne, getting rid of this condition usually requires diet and lifestyle changes, as well as the complete elimination of potential triggers, including certain ingredients found in cosmetic products.

Can You Use Calamine Lotion on Baby Acne?

Yes, calamine lotion can be safely used on baby acne; however, short contact therapy is usually the recommended option rather than leaving it on the skin for longer periods due to the risk of causing dryness in delicate baby skin.
In addition to soothing baby acne, calamine can also help improve symptoms of baby eczema, diaper rash, and cradle cap, a condition caused by excess oil production on the scalp.

Originally Published: January 30, 2023

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sam wood is GoodGlow's Chief Editor
Analyzed by Sam Wood

Hi, I’m Sam Wood, the chief editor, lead acne expert, and health coach at GoodGlow, as well as a best-selling author for one of the top acne books on Amazon. I struggled with acne for over 10 years, and began studying the effects of diet on skin quality while pursuing a degree in Nutrition Sciences at the University of Missouri. After shifting from mainstream skincare trends to in-depth research in medical journals, I experienced significant personal success in managing my acne. This inspired me to start GoodGlow, where I simplify complex scientific findings into easy-to-understand advice. With over 10 years in the field, I’ve helped more than 2,500 people achieve clearer skin through natural, holistic methods, and I’m dedicated to personally assisting those seeking guidance on their acne journey.

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