Homemade Calamine

Calamine lotion seems to be a “must have” in any mother’s medicine cabinet. Whether for bug bites or hives or sunburn, calamine lotion is a great soother of children’s skin and their moms’ nerves. :-> One of the things you might not know about calamine powder and lotion is that the ingredients that give it its traditional bright pink color and smooth feel are a combination of red iron oxide powder and zinc oxide powder.

Another thing you might not know is that it’s a relatively easy product to make at home with just a few basic ingredients:

Zinc oxide – This has been used for centuries as a skin protectant and ointment. Zinc oxide is particularly useful since it covers skin trauma without absorbing into the skin.

Iron oxide – This is what gives calamine its characteristic pink color. Traditional calamine powder is 95.5% zinc oxide with 0.5% iron oxide. It’s use is more cosmetic than skin soothing.

Pink kaolin clay – Similar in color to iron oxide, but a less intense shade of red. This can be used in place of iron oxide in your mixture to lend color and skin soothing properties, without absorbing into the skin.

Baking soda – Baking soda is wonderful at soothing itches and present in almost every kitchen.

Glycerin – Glycerin is used in cosmetic applications as a moisturizer and skin protectant. It makes your recipe smoother, softer and more spreadable.

Essential oils – Essential oils of your choice add scent and aromatherapy properties. Lavender, peppermint and tea tree oil are often used in skin-soothing preparations and also repel summer bugs.

Here is a recipe you might want to try:

¼ cup zinc oxide

4 teaspoons pink kaolin clay

4 teaspoons baking soda

¼ cup water

½ teaspoon glycerin

3-10 drops essential oil – lavender, peppermint and tea tree would be great!

Method: Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until smooth. Store in the refrigerator for 1-2 weeks, then discard. If you’d like to try to store it longer, consider combining the powdered dry ingredients and storing them in a secure, dry and cool location. Add water, glycerin and essential oils to a small amount to use as needed.