Using calamine as a makeup primer is a new skin-care hack among the millennials on TikTok. Photo: Pixabay

Skin experts share insights on the use of calamine as a primer

Using calamine as a makeup primer is a new skin-care hack among the millennials on TikTok, however, is this trend safe? Experts share their insights.


Using calamine as a makeup primer is a new skin-care hack among the millennials on TikTok. Photo: Pixabay

The use of calamine lotion as a primer for makeup is a new hit on social media or as far as TikTok is concerned. The new generation of TikTok make-up influencers has come out to speak about the “benefits” of using this pinkish solution as a base for their makeup.

TikTokers participating in #calamineprimer said the lotion was beneficial in creating a luminous canvas and keeping their makeup in place for longer.

Despite all the noise, make-up gurus and dermatologists reckon that calamine can work in combating oil on the face. Regular use of the product as a makeup primer can pose severe dangers to the skin in the long run.

Traditional uses of calamine

Calamine is a light and pinkish solution with drying properties. It is a mixture of calamine, zinc oxide, iron oxide, and phenol. Traditionally, calamine lotion has been used to treat inflammation and skin ailments such as rashes, itchiness, and sunburn.

The lotion also works well in treating insect bites, such as bites from pesky mosquitoes but there is more.

Calamine has been used for generations to treat skin disorders such as chickenpox. The lotion is also good for treating swelling, bumps, or redness on the skin.

What experts say about the new trend

Dermatologists and makeup experts have issued a warning for people jumping onto this bandwagon.

Using calamine occasionally poses no major threat to the skin according to the experts. However, using the lotion regularly as a makeup primer can be detrimental to skin health.

People using calamine regularly as a base for makeup are at a greater risk of damaging the ”skin epidermis,” which is the top layer of the face.

Shape reports that, “Given its drying properties, calamine lotion will draw out oils from skin to create a smooth canvas,” explains Dr. Yadav, a board-certified dermatologist.

“While it might be okay for occasional use on normal and oily skin, it really shouldn’t be used as a makeup primer on the regular,” she adds. “Using products outside of their intended use is always a risk,” she says.

“Since it is a topical drug, calamine lotion is strong, and long-term use can compromise your skin barrier [i.e. damage the skin’s top layers]. This will strip your skin of its natural moisture and lead to sensitivity and inflammation.”

“Calamine lotion is heavily fragranced and is packed with ingredients that dry out skin. You should not apply this product near the eye area. 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,” concludes Dr.Yadav.

Furthermore, other experts suggest that people with sensitive and dry skin should refrain from using lotion as a primer as the drying properties of calamine can exacerbate their skin conditions.