Unless you’ve been blessed by the skin gods, you’ve at some point in your life experienced a breakout or two. Common, we’ve all been there. And no matter how much foundation you cake on, you can still see that mound on your face protruding – sticking out and telling the world that you are flawed.
OK, first of all, I’ve been there. And what’s worse, I’m a skin care expert and licensed esthetician. I’m supposed to be that anomaly that never ever breaks out. Well, that’s just crazy. It happens to all of us. P.S. you are not flawed at all – you are perfection and I mean it! That zit may be depressing but I promise you are gorgeous with or without it.
But still…we want it off our face. So before you start causing serious skin damage, don’t even think about picking it off with your fingers. Squeezing a whitehead, while tempting, truly can cause irreversible skin trauma including scarring. In addition, you are opening your skin to a host of bacteria that may cause infection. So please move away from the 10x magnifying mirror and keep your fingers away from you face.
Ok, so if we can’t squeeze you might be wondering what CAN we do about skin breakouts?
Unless you’ve been living in a cave, you’ve probably tried a drying lotion on a breakout. It seems as every beauty company has at least one drying lotion in their portfolio and they are nearly all the same. Stick a cotton swab in a jar filled with pink solution and dab it on your pimple overnight and watch it dissolve by morning.
Confession: there have been nights that I have gone to bed with my skin covered in it because it really works.
The only thing is they dry out sometimes in the jar and then you have to buy another one or add some astringent and shake it up.
Seems like a waste of money doesn’t it?
Well what if you could make a drying lotion and more amazing facial treatments at home?
The good news is you can. And you can not only do it yourself but also create the perfect skin care with ingredients that you know and trust so it’s as natural as it can be.
No preservatives, no fragrance, no fillers and no other nasties you can’t pronounce.
That’s where calamine comes into play.
This has been used for centuries in skin care preparations and you can use it in your own DIY drying lotion as well as in face masks and scrubs.
It’s also known for it’s soothing and calming effects on the skin.
Learn more about this amazing super ingredient and why it’s my latest skin obsession for everything from breakouts to calming and soothing redness and irritated skin.
What is Calamine Powder Made Of?
Calamine powder is a mix of two ingredients: zinc oxide and iron oxide.
It has been used for thousands of years for it’s skin nourishing, calming and soothing properties and is wonderful for a variety of skin conditions.
You may have used calamine lotion in the past to relieve the itchiness of a bug bite or to calm a sunburn. But calamine lotion that you buy over the counter has a lot of other non-active ingredients in it including glycerin, preservatives and other ingredients you probably can’t pronounce.
Calmine powder on the other hand is purely the active minerals that you want without any of the other fillers you could do without. It’s the RAW ingredient that you can now use in your own DIY facial applications that are truly beneficial to your skin.
Why Is It Pink?
It’s science: the oxide powders used in calamine are red and white. When mixed together, the powder turns pink.
You’ll be able to tell how much iron oxide is in your powder just by taking a look at the powder: the more bright the pink hue, the more iron oxide in the formula.
Where Does the Name Come From?
The name is a historic one for ore of zinc as derived from the Latin term lapis calaminaris. Ore is a solid rock of which the mineral zinc is mined from. Later the Belgium town of Kelmis or La Calamine in French was home to the famous zinc mine. The Zinc mineral was mined across Europe for it’s beneficial uses for centuries.
Calamine Uses in Antiquity
Calamine has been used since antiquity, which is amazing to think about, as calamine has not changed with history. It was traditionally used in medicinal ointments for its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory benefits; later, it became a popular remedy for acne throughout history, beginning in the late 18th century and up until the present.
Our ancestors knew about the importance of calamine for millennia, but when exactly the medicinal benefits of calamine was first discovered is not known. We do know that calamine was suggested as a medical solution as far back as 500 B.C.E. when the first and oldest reference to this miracle powder was mentioned.
“The Charaka Samhita,” an ancient Indian medicinal text that makes the first mention, describes calamine as a healing salve that could treat eye issues and open wounds. Ayurveda, an ancient form of building a lifestyle routine for each vata, has calamine listed as a skin care benefit for a variety of uses. For those of you who practice Ayurveda, this won’t come as a surprise!
When was Calamine first used in history?
The first reported use of calamine in Ancient Rome dates as far back as 100 BC when Roman coins were found to contain calamine and copper, a mixture that makes brass.
But Romans had other uses for calamine lotion; like their Greek and Egyptian counterparts, calamine would have been used with rosewater and other herbal ingredients to improve skin texture and add a glow to their skin.
In 100 B.C.E., the Greek Physician and botanist Disocorides wrote about the zinc oxidation process and calamine. The text, “De Materia Medica,” goes through plants and their medicinal properties as well as minerals and ores that could be used to provide relief to his patients.
But the Greeks didn’t limit calamine just to medicinal issues; there are several reports that the Greeks would have combined rose water with calamine as well as a soothing mask that would help keep their skin glow. Although it was mostly used by free women, the mask became more common throughout history.
And, as you’ll see below, it’s possible that the Greeks took this idea from their Egyptian counterparts.
Ancient Egyptians knew about calamine too. Brass, which is prevalent throughout artifacts found from the time period, was created by mixing calamine with copper ores in a smelting furnace. Like the Greeks, Egyptians also used calamine to cure insect bites and soothe open wounds.
But Egyptians also used calamine for skincare and beauty benefits.
Some books I’ve read on the subject point to calamine being used for acne as well as sunburnt skin, and it was also used with rose water as a face mask.
Are all Calamine powders created equal?
Not all products are created equally; calamine powders rarely include more than three ingredients.
Powders that contain more ingredients are generally less potent than regular calamine powder.
Is There a Downside?
We’ve talked about the benefits of calamine, which are plentiful, but there are some things you should keep in mind.
This is mostly common sense, but let’s go through it anyway, okay?
Calamine powder is not for internal use; never digest or drink calamine lotion, no matter what any skin care article tells you.
You should also be aware that some medications, such as dietary or herbal supplements, might interact with calamine lotion. It is worth pointing out that because calamine powder can interact with natural ingredients, it’s plausible that it could also have reactions with medications.
There are some cases in which calamine powder could be detrimental to your health, so please avoid this product if any of the following is true for you:
- You are pregnant or are planning to become pregnant
- You are breastfeeding
- You are taking prescription or nonprescription medication
- You are allergic to medications or substances that include ingredients listed in calamine powder
- You are planning to use it on a child that is less than one year of age
Also, if you or a loved one accidentally swallows calamine powder and experiences symptoms such as passing out or has trouble breathing, please call 911 or a poison control center right away; calamine powder can cause medical issues if ingested.
Nano-Sized Vs. Micronized — What Does it Mean?
Have you gotten to the point where you’re trying to buy all natural calamine powder but can’t decide between nano-sized and micronized? Are you wondering if there’s even a difference between the two and what it means for your DIY recipes?
Calamine Powder and Grain Size
Calamine powder is made of granules of oxide; the best way to think about it as tiny beads. Even though calamine can look like clay when you first use it, there is a major difference between micronized and nano-sized powders.
Micronized powders tend to resemble grains of sand while nano-sized powders are much finer and resemble clay more than sand. For cleansing masks, a nano-sized powder is best; for exfoliating purposes, try micronized powder.
Calamine powder is often mistaken for calamine lotion but used alone, it can do wonders for your skin.
So Besides Being the Pink Stuff in Drying Lotion What Other Benefits Does Calamine Have?
Aside from being what makes your Drying Lotion pink, Calamine has a host of skin benefits. Historically it’s known for it’s gentle calming and soothing skin properties. It is truly the perfect ingredient for a variety of skin types and has several uses that can be delivered with at home facial recipes.
Here’s a quick rundown of some of Calamine Skin benefits:
- Moisturizes dry and dehydrated skin
- Soothes sensitive and easily irritated skin
- Helps problem skin types
- Helps calm complexion
Sensitive Skin Woes
Do you have sensitive skin? The type of skin that you wish came with a “Handle with Care” sign?
Then you’re in luck: Calamine is a wonder ingredient for you.
Are you wondering how calamine can help you? Or How to Use Calamine Powder?
Calamine is best known as a skin soothing and calming ingredient.
It’s one of the best all natural minerals in the world to help you with skin reactions and helps your skin to feel calmer and more nourished.
Calamine is a natural mineral that has been used for thousands of years. It’s known to soothe skin and give you a glowing complexion, so it’s the perfect ingredient for your skin care routine.
I’ve also noticed that calamine smoothes out my skin texture, making it easier to apply makeup; it also makes skin look great bare!
Prevent Blemishes and Breakouts Naturally
Acne breakouts is annoying, there’s no getting around it, but if you’re looking for a non-toxic product to help with those blemishes, you can’t do better than calamine.
That’s because calamine is anti-bacterial and also a skin protectant. It means that calamine powder can be used to treat and then soothe your skin, all with just one product.
There are a variety of DIY skincare recipes you can make in order to help clear your skin at-home.
I personally love creating my own simple Homemade DIY Calamine Drying Lotion.
Below is this quick and easy recipe that you can do in a minute – and best of all, since you are mixing it fresh there’s no reason to store it so it won’t dry out in your vanity.
I personally like making just enough for my immediate use – this is also a great way to ensure your product is fresh and bacteria free.
In at home DIY recipes this is especially important as you are not using preservatives (those nasties that we see in most traditional beauty products). But fresh is best.
Give Instant Relief to Itchy and Eczema Prone Skin
If you’re suffering from eczema, you know how hard it can be to find relief for itchy skin.
With so many different products available on the market, finding one that does exactly what it says it will do is no small feat.
But calamine does what it says: it will relieve your itching.
While alone it won’t be able to cure your eczema skin issues, it can be used to bring immediate relief.
While you won’t want to use it out in public because it can make your skin look ashy, it can be used to great effect at home.
Did You Know? Calamine may be used as a Sunscreen
Are you surprised to see this on the list? If you’re pale and have sensitive skin like me, you probably aren’t surprised at all.
Your parents may have even used this on you when you were young and having fun outside.
Calamine lotion contains zinc oxide, which we’ve talked about already. It’s an incredible ingredient that is found in many mineral sunscreens.
In fact, it’s often listed as the main ingredient in sunscreens.
Now, I’m not saying that you can swap calamine lotion for sunscreen; while it does have natural sun protection benefits, you’re going to need more protection than just calamine. But, if you’re just heading out in the sun for a short while, it can be a good alternative, especially if sunscreen breaks you out.
You can also use calamine underneath your makeup for both priming and protection.
If you have a darker skin tone or if you are tan, then calamine might not be for you. Why do I say that? Because calamine shows up as a pasty white color on the skin, and using it as a sunscreen with no makeup on might make you look a little washed out. So if you want to use calamine, I suggest doing a skin patch test before committing to putting it on your face.
How to Make Calamine Powder at Home
Did you know that one of the best zinc oxide powder uses, also known as calamine, is DIY face masks? It’s true! Our ancestors have been doing this for thousands of years, so here is your chance to look at some of the simple masks you can make at home.
Can You Pair Calamine Powder with Anything?
There are a lot of ingredients that you can combine with calamine, so do your research. I’m giving you a short list because I want you to get ideas, but don’t limit yourself to just these ingredients. You’ll find that people use essential oils, herbs, flowers, and other ingredients to make their own special masks and lotions, so I’m sure you’ll come up with some more ideas.
Along with being used as a non-toxic ingredient in at-home facial recipes, calamine is beneficial for you because it can be used alone or with other ingredients in a variety of ways.
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Hydrogen Peroxide
- Rose Water
Does Water Matter?
The type of water that you’re using to mix calamine for DIY skin uses unfortunately matters. Hard water has more minerals, which can interact with calamine powder to reduce its potency and may not mix as well.
Soft water is better for powders as it only contains sodium and doesn’t interact negatively with calamine powder. If you have hard water at home, try using bottled spring water for better results, and don’t forget to comment and let me know how it worked out for you!
DIY Calamine Recipes
DIY Calamine Lotion
Let’s start off by teaching you how to make your all natural lotion. My own mother did this when I was a kid, and now I do it.
It’s a simple process. Depending on how you make yours, it can take less than five minutes.
Let’s get started!
- Calamine Powder
- Bentonite or Kaolin Clay (Kaolin clay is most often used)
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Essential Oil (optional)
- Combine everything in a bowl and stir until smooth.
- You can keep it in your refrigerator for up to two weeks!
Isn’t that so simple?
Homemade Face Mask for Acne
An easy homemade face mask for acne and blemish-prone skin incorporates something you probably already have in your fridge!
Here’s the recipe for you to enjoy.
- 2 tablespoons Baking Soda
- 1 tablespoon Calamine Powder
- 1 teaspoon Aloe Vera Gel
For a DIY acne face mask , combine calamine powder with buttermilk and aloe. Mix until it’s a paste, leave on your skin for 15 minutes, then wash off.
DIY Face Mask for Glowing Skin
1 TBSP Calamine Powder
1/2 TBSP Buttermilk
1 Teaspoon Carrier Oil
For a DIY face mask for glowing skin, combine calamine powder with your favorite carrier oil and some water or buttermilk, mix until it’s a paste, leave on your skin for 15 minutes, then wash off. It’s that simple!
DIY Homemade Face Scrub
1 TBSP Calamine Powder
1/2 TBSP Buttermilk
1 Teaspoon Carrier Oil
Combine Calamine powder with brown sugar and coconut oil or your favorite carrier oil for a DIY face scrub that will gently exfoliate skin to remove dead skin cells. Leaves skin fresh and even-toned.
DIY Face Mask for Dry and Sensitive Skin
A simple recipe combines calamine powder with buttermilk or plain yogurt to make a homemade facial mask that’s perfect for skin that suffers from redness and sensitivity. This recipe is so nourishing you can mix enough for your face or for your entire body, and it’s great for everyday use.
1 tbsp. Calamine powder
1/2 tbsp Buttermilk
Mix together in a bowl and apply on cleansed skin. Leave on for 10 minutes and remove with warm water.
Homemade DIY Drying Lotion Recipe
1 teaspoon Calamine Powder
½ teaspoon Hydrogen Peroxide
- Mix Well and dip a cotton swab in solution to dab on individual pustules.
- Leave on overnight.
- Calamine can also be used to help prevent acne. If you use it once or twice a week in your skincare routine, whether alone overnight or in a mask, it has worked wonders to prevent skin breakouts to and keep skin looking fresh and clean.
Now that you know more about what it is and how to use Calamine Powder in your skin care routines, be sure to share your newfound knowledge with your friends. Please be sure to leave your comments and any DIY recipes you may have down below! We would Love to hear from you!
**This article is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease.