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A Dangerous TikTok Makeup Trend: Is Using Calamine Lotion as Primer Safe?

By: Gloria Gao

TikTok is notorious for being the birthplace of questionable trends. The world has seen people stick pennies in electrical outlets, use nail files on their teeth, and students steal toilet seats from school bathrooms. All these TikTok trends are extremely influential but extremely stupid. Now, another viral trend is shaking up the beauty world. It’s certainly popular, but is it also problematic?

Recently, many TikTokers have been using calamine lotion as a substitute for a makeup primer. Many people claim that calamine goes above and beyond their expectations. Facial primer is used to smooth out the skin and help makeup stay on longer. One TikTok influencer gushes about calamine by saying, “I cannot see my pores anywhere”. Some people even say that calamine makes their makeup last up to twelve hours. Calamine lotion seems like the perfect solution to many makeup struggles, but there are hidden drawbacks.

Traditionally, calamine lotion is used to treat various conditions, such as infected wounds, rashes, poison ivy, and insect bites. The product works by drying up skin and forming a barrier. However, calamine should be used carefully. Dermatologist Stacy Chimento, MD, says, "The ingredients [in calamine lotion] can often be too harsh for those with sensitive skin and can lead to over-drying and severe irritation. [This] can sometimes worsen conditions such as acne, rosacea, and seborrheic dermatitis.”. Using a strong product such as calamine on your face can definitely yield unwanted results.

Not only is calamine lotion bad for facial use, but it is also causing other real-world consequences. Many people use calamine for health reasons, but the recent surge of popularity in this product has caused a temporary shortage in many stores.

The many negative outcomes of yet another bizarre TikTok trend show a lot about our society. It’s normal for people to want to fit into a social norm. But on TikTok, the standard has been raised to a point where some TIkTokers must try out crazy things to gain a morsel of attention in a sea of uninterested fellow users. The constant need for validation leads to terrible repercussions, which is shown in sometimes deadly trends, like the “Blackout Challenge”, where kids held their breath until passing out.

In short, it’s important to stay aware of the content you see on the internet. Although some TikTok trends may be wholesome (such as sharing goofy dance moves), others are less so.

The calamine lotion craze has shown that not all miracles are as good as they seem.

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