Is Calamine Lotion Good For Ringworm?

ringworm calamine lotion

Ringworm is a form of fungal infection that can make your skin and nails feel uncomfortable and itchy. It causes an itchy, red, and circular rash on the surface of the skin, which is why they call it “ringworm.”

It is also known as “dermatophytosis” or “tinea.” It usually gets its name based on where it decides to locate on your body.

Many people wonder if calamine lotion, a popular over-the-counter remedy, is effective in treating this condition.

This article aims to the efficacy of calamine lotion in treating ringworm. We will talk about its properties and how it interacts with the fungal infection, explaining how it can ease the symptoms or potentially aid in recovery. Plus, we will discuss any potential side effects of using calamine lotion and let you know if there’s any reason for concern.

What is calamine lotion?

Calamine lotion is a topical solution widely used to treat mild itching and skin irritation. It mainly consists of zinc oxide and ferric oxide mixture.

These ingredients have the ability to create a protective barrier on the skin.
This barrier prevents further irritation and promotes healing. Calamine lotion can help to alleviate pain, itchiness, and discomfort caused by conditions such as poison ivy, bug bites, and chickenpox.

You usually just apply it directly to the affected area of the skin, and it dries up leaving a chalky residue. Just make sure to use this lotion only on your skin topically. The medicine can be risky if you swallow it.

Also Read: Can Sensodyne Cause Gum Irritation?

What is calamine lotion actually used for?

The main use of calamine lotion is that it can relieve itchiness caused by poisonous plants such as poison ivy, oak, and poison sumac. Other uses for calamine lotion include:

  • Sunburn Treatment: Calamine lotion can be applied to sunburned skin to soothe irritation and expedite the healing process.
  • Insect Bites and Stings: It provide relief from itchiness and reduces swelling caused by bug bites or stings. Apply this lotion on your skin until symptoms disappear or the bug bites clear up.
  • Chickenpox and Shingles: Calamine lotion is often recommended to relieve the itchiness and the symptoms of chickenpox and shingles.
  • Poison Ivy, Oak, and Sumac: When applied to the skin, it can soothe itching and irritation caused by exposure to these plants.
  • Acne Treatment: When you apply this lotion on the spot it can reduce inflammation and absorb excess oil. While it won’t treat your acne, it can help dry out those pimples, reducing their size and redness
  • Eczema and Psoriasis: It can help you by providing temporary relief from itching and discomfort caused by these skin conditions.

Side effects of using calamine lotion

calamine lotion side effects

While calamine lotion doesn’t have any side effects, it’s usually safe for external use. However, some people might experience some side effects.

It’s rare to have a serious allergic reaction to this medication. But if you notice any signs of an allergic reaction, it’s important to get medical help right away. Some of these symptoms may include:

  • Mild Skin Irritation: Some people may experience a slight burning or stinging sensation upon application.
  • Skin Dryness: This lotion can dry out your skin, which can lead to itching or flaking.
  • Allergic Reaction: Rarely, an allergic reaction may occur. If you experience symptoms like rash, itching, swelling, feeling really dizzy, or having trouble breathing, it’s important to seek medical help right away.
  • Discoloration: Temporary skin discoloration may occur at the site of application.
  • Ingestion Problems: If accidentally ingested, calamine lotion can cause serious complications like difficulty breathing and severe throat irritation.

As always, it is best to consult with your doctor before starting any new treatment.

Is calamine lotion good for ringworm?

No, there is no scientific evidence that calamine lotion is effective in treating ringworm. Calamine lotion helps soothe itching and discomfort from various skin conditions, but it doesn’t treat ringworm caused by fungus.

It may provide temporary relief from the symptoms of ringworm, but it won’t cure the infection completely. It is best to consult with a doctor for proper treatment of ringworm. They may prescribe antifungal medications or creams that are specifically designed to target and eliminate fungal infections.

American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) said that the most effective treatments for ringworm are antifungal creams, lotions, or pills [1]. Therefore, if you think you have ringworm, it is recommended to talk with a healthcare professional for an appropriate treatment plan instead of relying solely on calamine lotion.

How do you use calamine lotion for fungal infections?

Calamine lotion is not a direct treatment for fungal infections like ringworm but it can play a role in the broader treatment approach. It can be used to alleviate the symptoms of these conditions, such as itching and skin irritation.

To use calamine lotion for this purpose, clean the affected area with a mild soap and warm water. Then, gently dry the skin by patting it with a clean towel. Next, apply it on the affected area using a cotton ball or cloth, making sure to avoid getting it near your eyes and mouth.

Let the lotion dry on your skin, leaving a protective layer that can reduce discomfort and prevent more irritation.

However, calamine lotion will not cure a fungal infection. It is important to seek medical advice for proper diagnosis and treatment, typically involving antifungal medicines.

Best antifungal medications for ringworm

Calamine lotion isn’t a good choice for ringworm. Usually, it’s treated with antifungal medications that kill the fungus causing the infection.

Here are some of the effective antifungal medications that doctors prescribe often for ringworm:

  1. Terbinafine (Lamisil): An over-the-counter (OTC) medication that comes in a cream, gel, spray, or tablet form. Terbinafine works by inhibiting the growth of fungus and is usually applied to the infected area once or twice a day for one to two weeks.
  2. Clotrimazole (Lotrimin AF, Mycelex, Trivagizole): Clotrimazole is available as a cream, powder, or lotion. This OTC antifungal medication is used to treat various fungal skin infections including ringworm.
  3. Miconazole (Monistat, M-Zole, Micatin): An OTC antifungal cream, miconazole is generally used to treat skin infections and is applied twice a day until the infection clears.
  4. Ketoconazole (Nizoral): Available as a cream, gel, and shampoo, Ketoconazole is often used for treating ringworms of the scalp (tinea capitis).
  5. Griseofulvin (Grifulvin V, Gris-PEG): A prescription medication often used for ringworm infections that do not respond to other treatments. It comes in tablet form and is taken orally.
  6. Itraconazole (Sporanox): It’s mainly used for infections that are difficult to treat with other medications. It’s taken orally, usually once a day.

Note: these medications are highly effective but they should only be used under the guidance of a healthcare professional. Make sure to follow the instructions from your doctor and complete the full course of treatment even if the symptoms improve before treatment is complete.

Should I be concerned about any interactions when using calamine lotion?

Interactions with calamine lotion are extremely rare. It is used topically means it is applied directly to the surface of the skin and is not usually absorbed into the bloodstream.

Calamine lotion may interact with other topical medications or products. Applying multiple products on the same patch of skin can either enhance their effects, causing potential skin irritation, or it could hinder the absorption of either product, reducing their effectiveness.

It’s generally recommended to apply calamine lotion on clean skin and let it dry before using other skincare products.

Plus, calamine lotion can cause skin dryness, and using it in conjunction with other products that have a drying effect (like certain acne treatments) may result in excessive dryness or irritation.

It’s good to consult with a healthcare provider about all medications, supplements, and skincare products you are currently using to avoid possible interactions.


Calamine lotion may offer temporary relief from itching and irritation but it is not considered a primary treatment for ringworm or other fungal infections. Use it as part of a bigger treatment plan to help ease discomfort, rather than getting rid of the infection completely.

It is important to consult a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan.


Q: What is the strongest cream for ringworm?

Antifungals are the strongest creams containing active ingredients like clotrimazole, terbinafine, or miconazole and are commonly used to treat ringworm. These medications are available by prescription or over-the-counter.

Is Calamine lotion good for allergies?

Calamine lotion can provide temporary relief for mild allergic reactions, like itching and skin irritation. However, it is not a substitute for proper allergy management or medical advice.

How fast does Calamine lotion work?

Calamine lotion starts to work as soon as it is applied to the skin, providing immediate relief from itching and irritation. However, the duration for which relief is provided may vary depending on the severity of the symptoms.

Does Calamine lotion actually work for eczema?

Calamine lotion is not considered a primary treatment for eczema. While it may help soothe itchiness and provide temporary relief, it is important to consult a doctor for appropriate eczema management.


The information provided in this article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Don’t ignore professional medical advice or put off seeking it just because of something you read here. Although we aim to offer precise and current information, we do not guarantee its completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability, or availability for any purpose. Using the information in this document is at your own risk. We are not responsible for any losses or damages caused by our content.

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