Not every idea on TikTok is good.
TikTok is full of really good ideas. Unfortunately, the actually innovative life hacks are pretty evenly balanced out by the bad.
Case in point: using calamine lotion to prime your skin before applying your makeup.
Many BeautyTokers have suggested that the lotion, which is generally used to reduce itching in skin conditions like poison ivy or chicken pox, can help reduce oily skin, heal acne scars, mattify makeup, and more.
User @tiasamudaa may have been the first to share the idea back in late 2021, but it wasn’t until a video in March that anyone took notice when she was spotted using a small makeup brush to paint the lotion onto her face before blending in a new matte liquid foundation. The video is just shy of 500 thousand likes and flooded with comments asking about the application of the calamine and tagging other makeup artists to ask for their reviews.
Today, the tag page #calamineprimer has 3.6 million views.
User @brittanybowmann1 heard the method could get rid of acne scars and dark marks. After trying it out, she found that it reduced lighter marks and dried out active pimples but didn’t seem to help with scars or dark marks. She also warned against using it if you have dry skin. Still, she said she’d try it out for a month and then report back but has yet to do so. She did, however, test it out through an eight-hour work shift, rating its staying power 10/10.
Dermatologists aren’t so keen on the method, reporting that excessive use could damage the skin barrier and increase dryness and irritation, especially if you have pre-existing skin conditions like rosacea.
Dermatologist Azadeh Shirazi, otherwise known as @skinbydrazi, spoke with The Washington Post about the issue. “Calamine lotion is made up of zinc oxide, ferric oxide, and phenol,” she said. Zinc oxide is an astringent, which absorbs excess oils, dries out pimples, and mattifies the skin, while phenol is a strong exfoliant. Combined, the two are incredibly drying. Calamine, specifically, is intended as a spot treatment for oozing wounds due to skin rashes, bug bites, and infections.
Skip slathering it all over your face and stick to your tried and true priming serums instead!