We’ve all experienced itchy, irritated skin at one point or another whether it be do to chicken pox, poison ivy, or using the wrong kind of laundry detergent. Well, be of good cheer, friends, the next time it happens I’ve got you covered with a few different natural remedies, and one of my favorites is homemade calamine lotion!
Calamine lotion is great for many different types of skin irritations:
- Diaper rash
- Contact dermititis
- Bug bites
- Viruses (like Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease, Chicken Pox, Roseola, or Athlete’s Foot)
- Jock Itch
- Toxic plant exposure (like poison ivy)
- And even stretch marks!
Many OTC calamine lotions have varying ingredients that can contain synthetic fragrances and other additives derived from petro-chemicals. But making your own at home is quick and easy, and gives full control over exactly what goes into it.
ZINC OXIDE is one of my favorite natural ingredients to use for things like diaper rash, chicken pox, or even jock itch, because it helps to soothe inflammation and further protect the skin from more damage. It can calm the irritations and help to dry them up by absorbing extra oils and bacteria. Be sure to source non-nano zinc oxide for this recipe (meaning that the particles are larger than 100 nm). This is a really helpful article about the difference between nano and non-nano particles and why those terms are confusing in America. In a nutshell, when the zinc oxide is too small (nano), it can bypass our skin’s protective barriers and be absorbed into the blood stream.
BAKING SODA is another incredible ingredient to add in as it’s alkaline properties help to neutralize acids and calm itching in the skin. It also helps to kill bacteria that may be present. We also use baking soda in our Skin Soothing Bath Tea.
CLAY plays a huge roll in cleansing, nourishing and healing. They can also help to absorb toxins and impurities while leaving behind nourishing minerals that feed the skin. Our favorite beauty and healing clay is sodium bentonite, which is the number one ingredient in our Herbal Baby Powder, what I wash my hair with, goes into our homemade toothpaste, and has plenty of other uses! Tip: Download our free printable checklist on bentonite clay below! Kaolin clay is also a great option and is used as a filler clay in many cosmetics based on its smooth texture and easy application. I like to use both in this recipe, but you can choose one or the other if you prefer.
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ALOE VERA GEL or VEGETABLE GLYCERIN will help with the overall texture of this lotion, but also offer some healing befits of their own. As you probably already know, aloe vera has been used for ages (literally) to soothe sunburns, wounds, and skin rashes. It also contains moisturizing properties which will help soothe itchiness. Glycerin cleanses and locks moisture into the skin.
Homemade Calamine Lotion
- 3 Tbsp Non-nano Zinc Oxide (get it here)
- 3 Tbsp Clay(s): I suggest Sodium Bentonite Clay (or a mix of Bentonite and Kaolin Clay)
- 1 Tbsp Baking Soda (get it here)
- 2 Tbsp Aloe Vera Gel (or Vegetable Glycerin)
- Distilled water (1/8-1/3 cup depending on desired thickness)
- Optional: 15 drops of skin soothing, child-safe Essential Oils (like lavender, chamomile, or tea tree)
- Mix dry ingredients together in a non-metal bowl.
- Add in aloe or glycerin and then stir while adding as much water as needed to reach desired consistency. (1/8-1/4 cup will get you a thick cream that is good for spot treatment. If you are needed to apply it all over, I’d suggest thinning it down a bit more.)
- Store in a non-metal, air-tight container in the fridge for a week (or two if essential oils have been used)
See below for application tips.
Warning: pictures of my rash are included below. If you don’t want to see them, click out of the post now!
You will want to use a non-metal utensil (I like these craft sticks) to scoop out lotion from your container to avoid any contamination. I usually put it onto my wrist and then take it from there as I apply, redipping the stick as much as necessary, and keeping it clean each time. If you are just trying to treat a couple of bug bites or a very small area, then simply “dotting” it on with your fingers will do the trick. But, as you can see, my case of Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease required application onto the entire surface of my legs. If this is also the case with you, you might need to dilute your lotion a little bit to spread it, and note that non-nano zinc oxide particles remain opaque while applying.
NOTE: Zinc Oxide may stain clothing or cloth diapers. Please exercise care while using this treatment, and consider using some kind of liner in your cloth diapers (or a green disposable) when dealing with diaper rash.
More Home Remedies for Itchy/Irritated Skin
- Coconut oil mixed with skin soothing essential oils (like lavender, tea tree, or roman chamomile) can be a big help to soothing/cooling the skin and keeping it moisturized.
- A baking soda paste made from baking soda + water can be applied right onto itchy skin as long as it isn’t broken. Baking soda is a base (alkaline) and therefore neutralizes acids that may be causing itch or discomfort.
- Milk can also be applied directly onto itchy skin (and bonus points if it is breast milk!)
- An oatmeal bath (or baking soda bath) will go a long way toward soothing rash or irritations. Read my tutorial here.
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This Soothing Bath Tea tutorial for rashes and skin irritations that I shared on the Rubies and Radishes blog!