Dermatologist Warns TikTokers Not To Use Calamine Lotion As Makeup Primer

Mason Joseph Zimmer
woman smiling while touching her face with both hands
Pexels | SHVETS Production

A dermatologist is cautioning the beauty community against adopting a new TikTok trend that sees users putting calamine lotion on their faces as makeup primer.

Depending on your view of TikTok, it may not be so surprising to hear that its trends have a tendency to clash with what the medical community considers safe or practical. But while the most extreme cases like the short-lived "scalp popping" craze have doctors stressing that even attempting the trend is unacceptably dangerous, most others are just generally not considered good ideas.

For instance, doctors advised that sticking garlic up your nose to clear your sinuses does more harm than good. And while they agreed that rubbing a whisk on hickeys does actually get rid of them, they were split on whether it's safe to do so.

Much like the garlic example, the trend we'll looking at today doesn't exactly has life-threatening implications for those who do decide to try it. But one dermatologist is cautioning beauty TikTokers that the latest makeup trend sweeping the platform could be a false friend.

Over the past couple of months, some beauty TikTokers have taken to using calamine lotion as a primer before they start putting on their foundation.

woman applying makeup after using calamine lotion as a primer in TikTok video
TikTok | @brittanybowmann1

According to Good Morning America, one of the users who popularized this trend was Brittany Bowman, who stated back in May that she was trying it as a means to treat acne scars and dark marks on her skin.

At the time, she wrote in multiple comments that it was great for holding her makeup together and making it feel less oily. But while she would later say that it dried out her blemishes, it didn't seem to lighten any discolorations she tried it on.

As another TikToker named Whitney demonstrated in her own video, the calamine lotion hack soon picked up a reputation on the platform for being good at dealing with oily skin.

woman applying makeup to half of her face after using calamine lotion as a primer
TikTok | @whitcharae

And while she said that the side of her face with the lotion applied ended up looking "way more matte" than the other side, the dryness seemed to be the main reason her peers had for trying the trend.

As a New York dermatologist named Dr. Whitney Bowe told Good Morning America, that's likely because calamine lotion dries out the skin just as effectively as astringent does.

But as she cautioned, that doesn't mean that it should be a regular part of one's skin care routine.

doctor making hesistant and skeptical facial expression in 'Gran Torino'
youtube | Warner Home Video

As Bowe (not pictured) put it, "That could be good in the short-term if you're treating something like a bug bite, but if you consistently use it over time, it can damage something called the skin barrier. Think of it as a smart protective shield. It traps moisture in the skin, but it blocks out things like allergens, irritants and pollutants."

Not only do we make ourselves more prone to inflammation by damaging the skin barrier, but Bowe also said that it can result in more blotchy skin, more breakouts, and even accelerated aging of skin due to reduced elasticity.

Instead, she advised using a technique called skin cycling that takes place over the course of four nights and repeats from there.

woman smiling while touching her face with both hands
Pexels | SHVETS Production

On the first night, she recommended exfoliating with a product that contains ingredients like glycolic acid and salicylic acid. The night after this, she said to spread a pea-sized of retinoid over your face to deal with texture issues like lines and wrinkles.

As for nights three and four, these are dedicated to recovering from the first two steps by using moisturizer and a cleansing product that contains hyaluronic serum.

Because while the first two nights are respectively for brightening and texturing your skin, these final two are dedicated to maintaining that precious skin barrier.

h/t: Good Morning America