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Doctors Disapprove of Calamine Lotion as Primer TikTok Trend



By: Alice Su


Calamine lotion is an over-the-counter medicine that calms itching and rashes. Women worldwide are applying the product to their faces before putting on makeup. Tiktokers call this a “beauty hack” that helps oily skin, cures acne scars, and gets their makeup to stay on for longer.


Tiktokers are “obsessed” with this lotion, and the #calamineprimer hashtag has over 3.5 million views. “I cannot see my pores anywhere,” said a Tiktoker, later declaring that her skin looked “super matte.”


However, despite all this positive feedback, dermatologists and makeup experts have many doubts. “It just doesn’t make sense to use calamine lotion and risk drying out the skin and damaging the skin barrier,” said Azadeh Shirazi, a dermatologist in San Diego. On her TikTok account (“skinbydrazi”), she disproves beauty myths and trends. Shirazi urges watchers to research the ingredients of the lotion before following the trend.


“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,” she said. “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 everyone will be able to tolerate the lotion as a primer. “Much like anything else related to skincare, the potential risks depend on your skin type, so it’s best to always check with your dermatologist first,” Shirazi later said.


Another reason why calamine lotion has become so popular is because of its price. “I tend to spend a lot of money on primers. I’ve tried all kinds of primers,” a makeup enthusiast told viewers, holding up primers ranging from $20 to $64.


“I was so surprised at how good my makeup looked,” she said as she held up a 4.50 bottle of calamine lotion.


However, whether or not calamine lotion is a miracle or a curse in disguise, it’s just a TikTok trend. Trends always die down at some point. Or will we be hearing about this makeup primer five years later, despite it having so many issues?

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