How to Make Natural Calamine Lotion at Home

Poison ivy season will soon be upon us and, depending on where you live, it may already be. So let’s learn how to make this homemade calamine lotion recipe.

Calamine lotion is one of those topical skin treatments that are indispensable. It is a known itch reliever and can help speed the healing of rashes and hives. While you can get it online or at most any grocery store or pharmacy, some contain preservatives and things you don’t need. You can make your own for a lot less!

Tip: Read this article for poison ivy treatments.

Calamine Lotion Ingredients


Calamine lotion consists of two main ingredients with a few minor ones. The first is zinc oxide. Zinc oxide has long been used for a sunscreen as it is opaque. The active compounds make it astringent as well as drying. You’ll need a drying agent for rashes like poison ivy and chickenpox.

The next ingredient is ferric oxide. Ferric oxide comes from iron compounds and is an antipruritic. This means that it can help to relieve itching. While ferric oxide can be tough to get your hands on, iron oxide, like those powders used for soap coloring, makes a great substitute. The red will give you the distinct pink color that we are all familiar with, but any oxide color can be used. Just be sure to use a skin safe oxide in this homemade calamine lotion recipe. Don’t use oxides intended for things such as ceramics, as they can be toxic. Also, be aware that there are synthetic oxides available. While these can give you great color, they don’t have the therapeutic properties that iron oxide does.

Other Ingredients

Other minor ingredients include bentonite clay, which is also drying and provides “slip” to your lotion, calcium hydroxide, which is also an anti-itching agent, can be found online or in some ethnic grocery stores, water, and if you need more hydration, you can add glycerin or aloe vera gel. If you are combatting any rash that contains liquid or is “weeping”, you’ll want to omit these ingredients. Both are humectants, drawing moisture from the air. Adding more moisture will inhibit drying and healing. You can add essential oils, such as lavender, if you wish. Some essential oils are antibacterial and can help speed healing.


Homemade Calamine Lotion Recipe

Poison ivy season will soon be upon us and, depending on where you live, it may already be. So let’s learn how to make this homemade calamine lotion recipe.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 4 ounces
Author Debra Maslowski
Cost $2



  • To make this homemade calamine lotion recipe, start by mixing the powders carefully, avoiding breathing in the dust.
  • Add the water and mix well. Continue to mix until it is smooth and creamy.


The shelf life for this is about a week. To make it last longer, you can keep it in the refrigerator or add something like Linatural™ or Leucidal™. Both are natural preservatives and can help to extend the shelf life of your products.

Substitute Ingredients

As mentioned before, you can substitute iron oxide for the ferric oxide in this homemade calamine lotion recipe. Both are antipruritic and can help to relieve itching. Instead of zinc oxide, you can use titanium dioxide. Both are used as drying agents in products such as diaper rash cream. Instead of bentonite clay, kaolin clay, French green clay, and Sea clays are all drying to some extent. They can all be used in the same way. Calcium Hydroxide can be replaced with baking soda. Both are good at relieving itching.

As far as essential oils go, lavender is always a good bet. It can help by being antibacterial and can help in the growth of new skin cells. Other good choices would be tea tree, rosemary, frankincense, rose, and chamomile. Most essential oils have some good properties to them, but these especially are good for healing the skin.

This homemade calamine lotion recipe is great for itchy rashes. Why not make your own?


How to Make Natural Calamine Lotion at Home was written by Debra Maslowski.

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