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By: Chloe Huang

When adults caution about the dangers of social media, it’s usually about misinformation and fake news. But time and time again, TikTok has started viral trends that don’t necessarily guarantee the safety of its users. This time, it’s using calamine lotion as makeup primer.

Calamine lotion was originally designed to be used to soothe rashes and other itchy skin disorders, yet this trend uses it to keep their makeup in place. Supporters of this trend claim that calamine lotion helps dry out oily skin, repair acne, scars, and do what makeup primers are supposed to do, at a fraction of the price. But dermatologists tell a different story.

While some people swear by this trend, medical experts say that calamine lotion will worsen the state of your skin. Calamine lotion can heal skin blemishes if used properly, but according to the American Academy of Dermatology, calamine exacerbates skin irritations if overused. Practicing dermatologists agree. According to Azadeh Shirazi, a dermatologist practicing in the San Diego area, overuse of calamine lotion can cause “severe irritation and worsening of scars.”

“It just doesn’t make sense to use calamine lotion and risk drying out the skin and damaging the skin barrier,” says Shirazi. “Calamine lotion is made up of zinc oxide, ferric oxide and phenol. Zinc oxide is an astringent that can help absorb excess oil and have a mattifying effect. Ferric oxide helps with itching and the phenol is also a powerful exfoliant. Combining phenol with an astringent as in calamine lotion can be very drying and irritating, leading to a damaged skin barrier. It can worsen skin conditions such as acne, rosacea and dermatitis.”

Not only might calamine lotion irritate the skin in the short term, but there might also be negative long-term effects. Makeup artist Kourtney Hammett, based in Essex, England, predicts that if overused, calamine lotion can cause fine lines and wrinkles because of its drying nature. By overusing calamine lotion, you are only dooming your skin in the future.

This isn’t the first time TikTok pushed trends that were bad for people’s health. Teeth filing and face taping are previous trends that professionals have debunked. Experts caution about believing everything you see on social media, and to fact check claims before taking them for the truth.

While this trend might work for people with specific skin types at first, long term use will result in problems. The next time you experience skin problems, it is always better to consult with a dermatologist instead of listening to the words on influencers on social media.



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