Is It Safe To Use Calamine Lotion As A Makeup Primer?

A new beauty hack on TikTok has some people using calamine lotion as a makeup primer, according to Everyday Health. Often used as an ointment to help soothe irritated skin, some TikTokers are now applying calamine lotion all over their faces before putting on makeup. The trend involves spreading a thin layer of calamine lotion on your face, letting it dry, and then applying your choice of foundation.

As it turns out, the goal of this hack is to supposedly create a smooth and flawless look and give your skin a porcelain-like finish. "The main ingredients — calamine, zinc oxide, iron oxide, and phenol — can absorb oil, which is why some are trying it underneath makeup," Dr. Noëlle Sherber, a board-certified dermatologist in Washington, DC, told Everyday Health. However, calamine lotion is a treatment that is intended to dry out inflamed spots on your skin, including bug bites, chickenpox, shingles, and poison ivy, among others.

Calamine lotion can dry out and irritate your face

As a result, there are some safety risks to using calamine lotion as a makeup primer. According to experts at Shape, calamine lotion contains harsh fragrances and ingredients that can dry out your skin and irritate more sensitive areas of your face, especially the skin around your eyes. "Not only is the skin here thinner and more prone to irritation than other areas, the mucosa of the eye [the moist, inner lining that protects your eyes] will easily be irritated and potentially damaged by calamine lotion," Dr. Geeta Yadav, a board-certified dermatologist and the founder of FACET Dermatology, told Shape. It's also best not to apply it near your nose and mouth.

In addition, calamine lotion contains a potent ingredient known as phenol, which can exacerbate certain skin conditions, like eczema, psoriasis, and rosacea. That's why Yadav doesn't recommend using it as a primer. Although calamine lotion might work well as a makeup primer for some people, there are plenty of other cost-effective products that are specifically designed to help prime your skin.