Right now is a prime time to talk about priming! I stopped using Milk of Magnesia (MoM) as a face primer when I read about how damaging it could be to the skin over time. MoM is too acidic for daily use, and can break down your skin’s protective barrier if used too often. No thanks! I noticed my oiliness and acne were worse on the days when I didn’t prime my face with the MoM, so it was clear the MoM threw my skin off balance. I was excited to stumble upon a blogger chatting up calamine lotion as a safer alternative, so I’m passing on the info to you!
Yes — calamine lotion. If you were lucky enough to get chickenpox as a kid, you probably remember being covered in calamine lotion by your mom or dad. Turns out, calamine lotion is also a skin protectant known to help remedy diaper rash, sunburn, eczema, acne, and you guessed it — oily skin. Many of the commercial brands of calamine lotion are simply combinations of zinc oxide and iron oxides. My skin absolutely loves it!
How to Use Calamine Lotion as a Primer
- Cleanse and moisturize the face as you normally would. Allow the moisturizer to dry completely.
- With a stippling brush or clean finger, apply a dime-sized amount of calamine lotion to the face. (Or less. A little goes a long way.) Allow to dry.
It will leave a white cast to your skin, so this doesn’t work so well if you’re planning to go makeup-free. Calamine lotion keeps my T-zone in check for about 8-9 hours. I no longer experience the hormonal acne that Aunt Flo usually brings every month, and most important to me, with repeated use my skin is actually improving. Calamine lotion is ridiculously inexpensive, and gentle enough for daily use. I can definitely live with that!
I am still investigating DIY recipes and “clean” brands of calamine lotion (I’m not entirely sure that’s necessary or even possible, given the limited ingredients as is). So far, I’ve only found recipes with baking soda. Way too many people have shared baking soda skincare horror stories for me to go that route.
Is it safe?
As is the case with anything, people with sensitivities to the ingredients will experience skin irritation. Do a patch test if this is your first time. I scoured the internet for side effects and toxicity issues, and I’m happy to say I didn’t come up with much of anything. Zinc oxide is potentially harmful if swallowed, and poisonous if the gas is inhaled in large quantities (industrial plants, chemical industry, etc). I wouldn’t recommend this for anyone with dry skin.
Have you ever used calamine lotion as a face primer? Share your experience in the comment section below!
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