“I can’t see my pores anywhere,” one TikToker said in approval, saying the product made her skin look “super matte.” Other beauty enthusiasts on the platform have hailed Calamine as a primer – saying it helps their makeup stay in the summer sun and through 12-hour workdays.
TikTokers say they are “obsessed” with discovery and the hashtag #calamineprimer has around 3.5 million views on the platform. But dermatologists and makeup experts warn that jumping on the trend could risk worsening skin issues and long-term damage.
“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 practicing in the San Diego, Washington area. Post.
Shirazi, who goes by the username “skinbydrazi” on TikTok, tried to tackle the trend head-on, using her account to debunk beauty myths and trends. Shirazi said that in recent months, users have tagged her in comments on such videos, asking her for medical advice.
Shirazi used the platform to urge people to consider the ingredients before turning to calamine lotion as a primer, as excessive use can lead to “severe irritation and worsening of scarring.”
While experts say the lotion can be used to reduce acne lesions and marks left on the skin, especially as a targeted treatment, the American Academy of Dermatology warns that astringent calamine can make skin irritations worse. if not used sparingly.
“Calamine lotion is made up of zinc oxide, iron oxide and phenol. Zinc oxide is an astringent that can help absorb excess oil and have a mattifying effect,” Shirazi said, adding that the product is generally recommended for treating oozing wounds caused by infections such as chickenpox and monkeypox. The lotion is also used to soothe insect bites, pimples, rashes, and poison ivy.
The product, Shirazi says, causes the surface of the skin to dry out and harden, protecting it while it repairs itself. “The ferric oxide helps relieve itching and the phenol is also a powerful exfoliant,” she said. “Combining phenol with an astringent such as in calamine lotion can be very drying and irritating, resulting in a damaged skin barrier. It can aggravate skin conditions such as acne, rosacea and dermatitis.
On TikTok, Shirazi simply told his 1.8 million followers, “That’s a no from me.”
Makeup pros say primers are a beauty must-have that should be used under makeup to help prep and smooth skin and keep makeup in place. But makeup artist Kourtney Hammett, based in Essex, England, also warned against using the lotion as a primer, predicting it could cause long-term fine lines and wrinkles due to nature’ drying” of the product.
Hammett pointed out, “You should use makeup that’s appropriate for your skin type,” including primers and moisturizers. At a minimum, she says, don’t use it daily.
Although some people may tolerate using the lotion as a primer, not everyone will see positive results, Shirazi pointed out. “Like everything in skincare, the potential risks depend on your skin type, so it’s best to always consult your dermatologist first,” Shirazi says.
The trend also coincides with reports that calamine lotion is becoming harder to find. In the UK, some parents have reported in recent months struggling to buy the lotion to treat children with chicken pox.
In the United States, others have also reported problems on social media. Underneath one of the many calamine intro videos, one user wrote on TikTok, “I have to use this when my lupus flares up, now it’s sold out at Walmart.”
Despite warnings from experts, the lotion may retain its appeal as a cheaper alternative to primers from major makeup brands amid a cost-of-living crisis. A bottle of calamine lotion in the UK costs less than 2 pounds ($2.40).
A makeup enthusiast told her followers on TikTok that she tried an expensive line of products, but calamine lotion worked best for her.
“I tend to spend a lot of money on primers. I’ve tried all kinds of primers,” she told viewers, brandishing primers ranging from $20 to $64.
“I was so surprised at how beautiful my makeup looked,” she said, holding up a bottle of calamine which she says is $4.50 at Walgreens.