Newest Review: ... consistency when I tipped the bottle after shaking thoroughly as recommended, as I had anticipated that a 'lotion' would be slightly th... more
Member Name: jo1976
Date: 27/06/13, updated on 28/11/13 (238 review reads)
Advantages: Inexpensive, soothes rashes instantly, reduces itchiness and scratching
Disadvantages: Slight medicinal aroma, very thin liquid
Hot on the heels of a nasty sickness bug, my youngest son came down with chicken pox a few weeks ago. We had nothing to hand in the house to treat the chicken pox rash so, on the advice from my GP, I picked up a bottle of calamine lotion BP (calamine and zinc oxide) whilst doing a bit of an emergency food shop in Morrisons.
Fortunately, my two year old's symptoms were relatively mild and he only experienced a handful of spots, mostly on his face. These didn't seem to bother him too much (although he did subsequently pick the scabs off a couple as they dried up) so I didn't actually attempt to treat him with the calamine lotion after all. Two weeks after my youngest son's spots appeared, however, my five year old son woke up absolutely covered from head to toe in chicken pox spots! Unlike his younger brother, my son really suffered with his rash, particularly during the first couple of days when the blisters were breaking out and subsequently drying up. There really wasn't any part of his body that wasn't covered so he found it difficult to get comfortable especially at night-time and he had a couple of disturbed nights.
This time around I did resort to the calamine lotion, in desperation. My son was a little wary of the strange looking milky pink liquid but was in such discomfort that he agreed to allow me to apply some to his blisters. I was surprised by the very thin consistency when I tipped the bottle after shaking thoroughly as recommended, as I had anticipated that a 'lotion' would be slightly thicker. This actually has the pouring consistency of milk, so it is quite easy to tip out too much and cause something of a mess as a quickly discovered! (Luckily the lotion did not stain clothing and washed off pretty easily.) I found the easiest method of application was to hold a balled up piece of cotton wool directly over the bottle and tip slightly. This covered the cotton wool sufficiently for easy application whilst minimising the mess.
On the initial application, my son was a little surprised by just how cold the lotion was and he was slightly resistant. He was also slightly put off by the aroma of the lotion although I didn't personally find it to be too unpleasant. There is a slight medicinal smell to the lotion, vaguely reminiscent of TCP but not quite as powerful. Fortunately the scent did not linger too strongly on the skin, even when applied pretty liberally and extensively.
He soon came round to the idea when he realised that the cooling sensation of adding the cold lotion to his spots and blisters really did provide instant relief. He can be a little over-sensitive, particularly when treating ailments or injuries, but willingly submitted to me covering his entire body with calamine lotion as he found it so soothing and comforting. He was even giggling at some points as he found the moistened cotton wool tickled in places and this proved to be a welcome distraction from the pain and discomfort that he'd been complaining about just minutes before!
I particularly liked how quickly the calamine lotion dried on to his skin and also how easy it was to see which spots had already been treated as the lotion dried to a visible white coating over the skin. My son's spots were literally over every part of his body, from head to toe, so he did look quite comical by the end of the proceedings with a ghoulish white coating over almost every inch! Fortunately, the lotion did not sting at all, even on the patches that he had already begun to scratch.
I noticed a dramatic difference in both my son's mood and his complaints about the spots hurting. It also reduced the need for him to scratch at his spots (causing potential scarring) as the itching was soothed almost instantly.
I was very pleasantly surprised by just how effective this simple, relatively old-fashioned product proved to be in the treatment of chicken pox. Whilst it doesn't do anything to speed up the healing process, it certainly makes the condition more bearable as my son's reaction indicates and I found it to be a simple and stress-free method of offering some relief. I combined this with regular doses of Calpol and found that this kept my son contented and less distressed that he had been before the initial application.
I was also pleasantly surprised by how inexpensive this was, at just 85p for a generous 200ml. Even with liberal application, some wastage through spillages and several re-applications, I have actually used less than half of the bottle so this could easily cope with two siblings suffering with chicken pox, making it excellent value for money. The bottle does have a generous shelf life, with this particular bottle featuring an expiry date in 2016, with no warnings that the bottle has to be discarded within a certain period after opening.
I used Morrisons branded calamine lotion but I would imagine most brands would be a similar price and be equally as effective. The only thing that surprised me about this particular product is that there is no mention of using it to sooth chicken pox on the bottle. Instead, it simply states that the lotion can be used for 'minor irritation and sunburn.' I have only ever associated calamine lotion with chicken pox and it wouldn't occur to me to use it for any other skin complaint but now that I have half an unused bottle (and nobody else in the household to catch chicken pox) I may well bear it in mind if we are unfortunate enough to need it in the future.
I'm certainly happy to recommend this traditional and inexpensive method of relieving the itchiness and soreness of chicken pox spots and am more than happy with my experience. Thankfully, my son's chicken pox have now mostly disappeared and he is back in school and back to his usual happy self.
Summary: An inexpensive and traditional remedy that soothes chicken pox rashes effectively