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Calamine is a custom pharmacy drug, a topical lotion of zinc oxide and some other elements that is prescribed by physicians for treatment of many skin conditions, the most common being poison ivy, poison sumac, and poison oak. Calamine works on these and other skin conditions by relieving the pain, itching, and minor discomfort associated with many skin issues as well as acting as a drying agent for the oozing irritation typically associated with the aforementioned.

How to Use Calamine

Calamine, in lotion form, comes in a bottle and should be shaken well before using. Use a sterile cotton pad to apply the calamine to the target area and allow it to dry on the skin. Follow all package instructions and consult with your compounding pharmacist if you have questions regarding usage or application. Calamine also comes as an ointment or cream. Your compounding pharmacist will assist you with finding the best application / form of delivery of calamine for you and will customize your medication so you achieve the optimum benefits. Important: Calamine is only for external use.

Possible Side Effects

Side effects are rare with the use of calamine but are possible. If you experience skin irritation that is concerning to you or seems to be worsening, stop using calamine immediately and contact your physician right away. Watch for signs of potentially severe allergic reactions and seek medical attention immediately if you experience any of the following:

  • Itching and/or Swelling (notice especially the face, throat and tongue)
  • Trouble with or Difficulty Breathing
  • Rash
  • Extreme Dizziness


Do not use calamine if you have raw skin. Do not use calamine if you have an allergy to antihistamines or antihistamines-ethanolamine. Do not use calamine if you are pregnant, planning a pregnancy, breast-feeding or about to breast-feed unless you have had a full medical consultation with your primary care physician and he or she deems the use of calamine to be necessary.

  • "It is rare to find health professionals who are so willing to educate the patient on what they need to know."

    Clair C. | West Hollywood, CA