How Effectively Does Calamine Lotion Treat Acne?

When you think of calamine lotion, its bubblegum pink color, soft, distinct aroma, and cooling sensation often come to mind. The classic pink lotion is used to treat itchiness, pain, and discomfort on the skin. Whether it comes from the irritation of poison ivy or a mosquito bite, calamine lotion works as a salve.

The astringent, antiseptic, and antipruritic properties found within calamine lotion are thanks to zinc oxide and ferric oxide, two active ingredients that allow the lotion to target itchiness and inflammation. Calamine lotion can be used for a variety of prickly, painful sensations or to simply dry up stings and blisters. While it's typically reserved for those issues, some people say it can be used to dry up pesky pimples, as well.

Although it's not a typical acne treatment, a growing number of TikTok users say that the soothing pink lotion has worked on their breakouts. It makes sense that an anti-inflammatory lotion would help with zits, but can you actually use calamine lotion on your acne?

Can you use calamine lotion on acne?

A myriad of conditions can cause different types of acne; for the most part, they're all typically linked to excess sebum and dead skin cells that mingle together underneath the surface of the skin. While they're irritating, painful, and often itchy, they don't come from the same sources as blisters, mosquito bites, or other things that calamine lotion is used for.

There are acne products that contain calamine lotion — the Mario Badescu Drying Lotion is a popular one. However, it's formulated with other acne-fighting ingredients that also help out. Calamine lotion can certainly soothe the skin, but it's not a preventative measure. You'll find temporary relief, but without getting to the source, you'll still get breakouts again.

As an anti-inflammatory, calamine lotion can be used to alleviate those red, inflamed breakouts, but it won't do much beyond that. To apply it, you'll need to clean the area beforehand. Using a clean Q-tip, dot on the calamine lotion and let it dry. Unless you have sensitive skin, you can leave it on overnight.

What are the best ways to fight acne?

When getting rid of acne, go with something that can diminish both existing and future breakouts. A popular acne-fighting ingredient, salicylic acid is a Beta Hydroxy Acid that works under the surface of the skin to reduce excessive sebum. Derived from willow bark extract, it goes deep within the skin to unclog pores. As a result, it can also reduce the amount of oil you produce as well as the appearance of pores.

For more severe acne, retinoids can also be used. Coming in different forms, you can go the over-the-counter route with retinol or ask a dermatologist for a tretinoin prescription. Retinoids come in different strengths: if you've never used one before, go with a low-strength retinol, such as the Differin Adapalene Gel.

If you have sensitive acne-prone skin, a gentle ingredient like niacinamide will do the trick. Not only does it help to reduce breakouts, but it's hydrating and brightening, fading away the post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation left behind by acne.