This #TikTokTuesday, we’re filling you in on why experts say it’s best to avoid this hack for oily skin.
woman looking at face, mujer, piel, rostro
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TikTok can be a great place to learn about new products and techniques in the world of skin care, but you have to be careful about whose advice you take.

Recently, creators on the app have been experimenting with calamine lotion as a makeup primer, coating their faces in the pinkish liquid and claiming it helps oily skin stay controlled all day long.

Immediately, a red flag went up for us and we knew we had to delve deeper.

We consulted Dr. Mike Hoaglin, Medical Director at telehealth company DrHouse, for more in-depth info on why you should avoid this trend.

Do doctors recommend using calamine lotion as a face primer?

No. Doctors, including the American Academy of Dermatology, do not recommend using calamine lotion in this manner. 

What are the potential side effects of this trend?

It has astringent properties, meaning that it tightens skin, in part, by drying it out. Especially with repeated use, this could worsen inflammatory skin conditions like rosacea or psoriasis. It can also make wrinkles and scars look worse.

The calamine ingredient phenol is also used in paint stripping and is even banned in cosmetics in the [European Union]. 

Calamine lotion
Credit: Getty Images

Where do you think a trend like this could stem from?

A layer of calamine lotion was probably discovered to be a nice canvas for makeup. People with oily skin also probably liked how it seemed to mop up excess oil.

But under that crust, the skin is getting overdried and irritated. It is meant to be used as a spot treatment. Dried-out skin cells cannot do their job properly.

Instead of calamine primer, what skin care ingredients do you recommend for those with oily skin looking to combat sebum production?

Niacinamide and zinc acetate may help regulate sebum production.

How should calamine actually be used?

Use it as a spot treatment on itchy lesions like chicken pox, monkeypox and weeping rashes like the one from poison ivy.