Is Calamine Lotion the Best Makeup Primer for Your Skin? Read Before Trying This Hack


    In more “As Seen on TikTok” news, users have been claiming that using calamine lotion before makeup is giving them the best all-day wear results without getting oily. So many makeup influencers and users have posted the hack as it’s been on constant rotation since spring. However, it may do more harm than good say skin experts.

    While it may mattify skin for a short time, long term use can have a very drying effect. Some users have found this out for themselves after giving it a try. “Please don’t do it!,” wrote one commentator. “Ph of 8-10, very alkaline, will hurt your skin in the long run.”

    What Calamine Lotion Does

    Used to treat rashes, chicken pox and bad, blistering sunburns, calamine lotion can be a real skin saver when it’s compromised. “Interestingly, the original calamine is a historic mineralogy term of a type of zinc ore, which was comprised of two different zincs,” explains Bloomfield Hills, MI dermatologist Linda C. Honet, MD. “It contains zinc oxide and ferric oxide to help dry lesions and decrease inflammation and phenol to help itching because of its local analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties.”

    Not For Daily Use

    “Overuse of astringents, such as calamine lotion, can dry out the skin,” notes Saddle Brook, NJ dermatologist Dr. Fredric Haberman. “Those with extremely oily skin may not develop experience the troublesome dryness, but those with less oily skin types could disrupt their skin barrier by using calamine lotion, and keeping it intact helps protect the body against irritants, pollutants, and allergens.”

    Dr. Honet notes it’s a good product to keep in your medicine cabinet, but not your vanity. “Although calamine lotion has a long track record of safety, it was not formulated for chronic, daily use. It will eventually accentuate lines and wrinkles.”

    Use This Instead

    While calamine lotion is relatively inexpensive, the skin experts we talked to said that’s not a good enough reason to use it as there are just as effective primers on the market at that price point. “Elf Matte Oil-Control Primer, Rimmel Stay Matte Primer ($4) and Milani No Pore Zone Mattifying Primer ($7) are all popular primers in that price range that are a better choice for daily wear,” adds Dr. Honet.