Calamine Lotion

Do you remember calamine lotion? When I was a kid growing up in the Fifties and had mosquito bites or a case of poison ivy, the go-to remedy my mother always went to was calamine lotion. She would take a cotton ball, pour some calamine lotion on it, and dab the cold, pink liquid onto my bug bites or poison ivy. The lotion would eventually dry up and my skin would be covered in with pink blotches of cracked, dried up calamine lotion.

Apparently calamine lotion was not just my mother’s go-to remedy. There was a mega hit by the Coasters in 1959, “Poison Ivy,” that had the lyric, “You’re gonna need an ocean of calamine lotion.” It is, in fact, the only hit song ever with the words “calamine lotion” in the lyrics.

I honestly can’t remember if calamine lotion actually relieved my itching or if I was the victim of mom-propaganda.

A few days ago, I somehow acquired a few bug bites. I’m not sure if they were mosquito bites or spider bites, but the itching was driving me crazy. I headed over to my local Walgreens and asked the pharmacist what she recommended to stop the itching of mosquito or spider bites. Her immediate response was hydrocortisone. But then she said, “Alternatively, you can try old-fashioned calamine lotion.”

Whoa! Suddenly the pharmacist turned into my mother and I half expected her to reach out for a package of cotton balls, pull one out, pour calamine lotion on it, and start dabbing it on my bug bites.

“So?” the pharmacist said, breaking me out of my flashback.

“I’ll take the hydrocortisone,” I said.

31 thoughts on “Calamine Lotion

  1. popspics2 August 2, 2022 / 5:39 pm

    Oh I remember calamine lotion only too well, thanks for the trip down memory lane 😊🙏

    Liked by 1 person

  2. slmret August 2, 2022 / 5:42 pm

    We always had a bottle of calamine lotion for bug bites (my dad was a pediatrician) — so I was a little surprised when the dermatologist recommended cortisone!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango August 2, 2022 / 5:45 pm

      Times have changed.


  3. Lou Carreras August 2, 2022 / 5:54 pm

    I use both depending on the severity of what I’ve got. but for bug bites I get something in a tube called Afterbite. I think it’s made from a concoction of mink oil and ammonia, but it works, even if it does smell a bit until it dries.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango August 2, 2022 / 6:11 pm

      Afterbite, huh? I’ll have to give it a try.


  4. msjadeli August 2, 2022 / 6:20 pm

    It works! Now I use witch hazel, which is good for that and pretty much any other skin ailment.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. rugby843 August 2, 2022 / 6:50 pm

    Sounds like the CL is old hat. But you never know😂

    Sent from my iPhone


    Liked by 1 person

  6. donmatthewspoetry August 2, 2022 / 6:50 pm

    Gosh I’d be careful with that hyracartyzone stuff Fan. It sounds dangerous. Wouldn’t wanna end up with craters in your flesh…….

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Nope, Not Pam August 2, 2022 / 8:38 pm

    Calomine lotion, I remember standing my kids in the bath and pouring it on them to cover their chicken poxs

    Liked by 2 people

    • Fandango August 2, 2022 / 9:59 pm

      They must have loved that!


  8. Sadje August 2, 2022 / 10:06 pm

    Calamine lotion works well and I’ve used it on my kids and grandkids too. In fact, I think we have a bottle in the house somewhere

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango August 2, 2022 / 10:24 pm

      I didn’t realize that anyone still used calamine lotion, but seems a lot still do.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sadje August 3, 2022 / 12:00 am

        Yup, specially for small children

        Liked by 1 person

  9. cagedunn August 2, 2022 / 11:38 pm

    I still use calamine – so many allergies and too many bities in the garden. It works, and no side effects. Anything cortisone is a risk, but calamine I’m happy to use any (or every) day of the week.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. writerravenclaw August 3, 2022 / 1:01 am

    It is brilliant for sun burn, I remember putting that on, because I couldn’t sleep.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Irene August 3, 2022 / 8:37 am

    My mom always used Vick’s Vapour Rub on our mosquito bites, which works great btw, and I have used both Vick’s and calamine; there is still one of each in the house (the pink calamine bottle in the fridge, of course).

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Melanie B Cee August 3, 2022 / 10:44 am

    They still sell it OTC. And witch hazel, which I need to get a bottle of. That is a greatly diverse substance as Lauren stated. I remember Calamine, because I was usually the one with pink blotches after staying in the sun a while.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. pensitivity101 August 3, 2022 / 11:21 am

    I remember it well and had volunteers to dab my spots when I had chicken pox at the aged of 32!
    It did help, but wasn’t my most attractive look.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. JT Twissel August 3, 2022 / 12:16 pm

    I have a bottle of the pink stuff! It doesn’t really work but I do love that song!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Carol anne August 4, 2022 / 6:28 pm

    I used that too as a kid! We still do sometimes. Its a tried and trusted remedy!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. leigha66 August 6, 2022 / 3:35 pm

    Ah yes, an ocean of calamine lotion. Good song.

    Liked by 1 person

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