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Pregnancy brings about many changes in a woman’s body, but not all of them are favourable changes. These changes can range from expected changes such as mood swings and breast tenderness to the less acknowledged (but common) ones such as itching. Hormonal changes during pregnancy cause skin elasticity to reduce, allowing depletion of skin moisture, while accommodating the belly growth. This can cause the skin to flake, itch and become uncomfortably dry around the tummy area. Dry skin is also noticeable around the thighs, breasts, and arms during pregnancy. In order to appease the itchy and dry skin, some mums-to-be consider using calamine lotion. Calamine lotion is known to relieve mild rashes and skin irritation, but should it be used during pregnancy? Let’s try to find out!
What Is Calamine Lotion?
Calamine lotion is a medication which predominantly consists of zinc oxide mixed with 0.5% ferric oxide. It is formulated through the addition of other elements like calcium hydroxide and phenol. It is used to treat mild rashes and minor skin conditions. This lotion also has drying properties, i.e., it is used to dry out rashes. It is also used to treat acne; it may help treat acne in some people but it doesn’t prevent breakouts. Since it has drying properties, using in excess quantity can cause irritation. Hence, it should be used sparingly or with a moisturiser.
Why Use Calamine Lotion While Pregnant
Calamine lotion is used topically to treat mild irritation, mosquito bites, and dry skin. It won’t address the underlying skin condition but it can provide relief from the itching experienced during pregnancy. Some pregnant women feel that products with a robust fragrance, too, can irritate the itchy skin more. But calamine lotion is mildly fragrant and is not known to be an irritant during such times. Hence, you can use it while pregnant. There are no known side effects of using calamine lotion during pregnancy.
It is a perfect fix for mild itching during pregnancy owing to two of its properties:
1. Counter-Irritant and Astringent Effect
Calamine lotion is effective for providing relief from itching during pregnancy because after applying it on to the skin, the calamine evaporates, leaving a coolness that soothes the skin and provides relief. It works the way astringents work on the skin. This effect is also a reason why it is used on sunburns.
Calamine lotion can prevent infections and pregnancy rashes caused by scratching. The presence of the active ingredient zinc oxide an antiseptic properties helps avoid infection.
Things to Consider Before Applying Calamine Lotion
Although calamine lotion is considered safe for expectant mothers, it would be prudent to consider certain known risks before choosing to use it.
1. Allergic Reactions
Before applying any cream or lotion on your face do a patch test to check for adverse reactions. Once you do a patch test, you can safely apply the lotion if your skin has not reacted for some time after application. It is advisable to consult a doctor if you suspect that you may be allergic to any specific ingredient used in the product. Reading the directions of use and the list of ingredients would help get a better understanding of whether it contains any potential irritants.
2. Interaction With Food and Other Substances
It is considered judicious to speak to your doctor to check if applying calamine lotion can interact with certain foods you eat. Calamine lotion should be applied well before or after mealtimes to avoid any chance of unpleasant reactions. Tobacco and alcohol are known to have an adverse interaction with calamine. While smoking and consumption of alcohol during pregnancy is not recommended during pregnancy, if one does smoke or drink alcohol, it can have adverse effects on the health. And applying calamine lotion can interact with them.
3. Interaction With Other Medication
Your doctor should be made aware of all prescribed medication or non-prescription drugs that you are taking when you plan on applying calamine lotion. Certain medicines cannot be used with calamine lotion. There are, however, other medicines with permissible interactions. Your doctor would be able to alter the dosage of such medicines as required.
How to Apply Calamine Lotion When Pregnant
Calamine lotion is intended for external use only. It should not be ingested at any cost as it can cause vomiting. Avoid contact with the mucous membrane, like the nose, eyes, mouth, genitals, and anal area. And follow the below-mentioned instructions before use:
- Shake the bottle sufficiently before using.
- Apply the lotion on a pellet of cotton to moisten it.
- Apply moistened cotton on the itchy area, spreading it gently.
- Let it dry on your skin. The calamine may leave a thin film on the skin after it dries.
Calamine lotion may help provide relief from itchy skin during pregnancy, but as its use during pregnancy has not been studied well, it’s prudent to consult a doctor before using it. Itching, especially on the stomach, is a common pregnancy symptom and can lead to discomfort. You can use calamine lotion, if your doctor gives a go ahead and if you are not allergic to it. But if you have doubts about using it, look out for other remedies, better yet consult a doctor. And don’t forget to drink water – it will keep your skin hydrated!
Also Read: Is Using Almond Oil in Pregnancy Safe?