By: Michael Chuang
What if there was a magical cream that could remove the appearance of acne scars and keep makeup clean for hours on end? Turns out, beauty enthusiasts found calamine lotion to be a nearly perfect makeup primer and lotion to obscure facial imperfections. As perfect as it sounds, the negative effects of using the product still apply.
The use of calamine lotion is going viral across social media platforms like TikTok. The TikTok hashtag, #calamineprimer, has nearly 3.5 million views on its platform. A TikToker claimed that she “cannot see [her] pores anywhere” after applying the lotion on her skin and the product made her skin appear “super matte.”
Calamine lotion is a medication intended to relieve itchiness from sunburn, insect bites, poison ivy, poison oak, or other mild skin irritations. After applying the product, the lotion shrinks the gaps between the skin to resolve the itchiness.
The American Academy of Dermatology warns that the astringent calamine can worsen skin irritations if not used sparingly. Azadeh Shirazi, a dermatologist in San Diego explains that the product “causes the skin surface to dry up and harden” so the wound can heal beneath it. If improperly used, the product can “worsen skin conditions such as acne, rosacea, and dermatitis.”
Makeup experts believe primers are crucial and should be applied before the makeup to smooth skin imperfections and keep the makeup secure. Regardless, makeup artist Kourtney Hammett of England warned against using calamine lotion as a primer. She said in the long run, the product can cause fine lines and wrinkles in the skin.
Despite the drawbacks and side effects of using the lotion on a regular basis, the lotion may be more appealing because of its price. Primers from leading makeup brands can range from $20 to $64 while a bottle of calamine only costs $4.50.
Doctors disapprove the use of calamine as a primer. For people who sacrifice skin health for beauty, the consequences will follow.