11/02/2008

What Is Calamine Lotion?

We use calamine lotion to treat topical wounds like rashes, sunburn, insect bites & stings, skin irritaion from contact with poisonous plants etc...But what IS calamine? A discussion with Kai inspired me to find out more about this medication & the facts surrounding it :)

General facts:
  • Composition: Zinc oxide (ZnO) + 0.5% iron (III) oxide (Fe2O3)
  • Appearance: pink in color; thick creamy texture; also available in powder form.
  • Generic medication, available over the counter.
  • It only treats the symptoms, not the problem.

Typical calamine lotion bottle
Uses:
  • ZnO has antiseptic properties & helps to prevent infection due to scratching the itch.
  • Calamine lotion has soothing properties to reduce the itchiness: counter-irritation effect.
  • Used for irritation due to insect bites/stings, poison ivy infection, chicken pox, sunburn, eczema, lice/worms, allergies, nettle rash.
  • It is sometimes used to reduce the effects of acne; it helps to blend the blemishes with the skin.

Calamine lotion can be used to treat bee stings
Treatment Do's & Dont's
  • Oil-based calamine lotion contains both peanut oil & lanolin (wool fat); avoid this if you're allergic to either substance. Use water-based calamine lotion/powder instead.
  • Avoid contact with eyes & mucuous membranes.
  • Some medical conditions may react with calamine lotion; contact your doctor if:
  1. You're pregnant/breastfeeding.
  2. You're taking any prescription/non-prescription medicine, herbal medicine or dietary supplements.
  3. You're allergic to certain medicine, food, or other substances.

Yay for calamine!
If you have an allergic reaction after using the lotion (ie rashes), stop immediately & seek a doctor. The calamine lotion acts as a anti-irritation drug & should not be taken in dosages more than what is recommended :)

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