Homemade Anti-Itch Cream (Like Calamine Lotion)

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Homemade Anti-Itch Cream - Like Calamine Lotion
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With kids, skin irritations are a fact of life… especially during the summer when things like mosquito bites, poison ivy, and other insect bites can cause skin problems.

Don’t let the lack of pink fool you… this homemade natural anti-itch cream is an excellent DIY replacement for calamine lotion and works in a similar way to relieve skin irritations and itching. It contains all natural ingredients and can be mixed as needed for a soothing and effective remedy.

How to Make Your Own Anti-Itch Cream

If you already make some of your own natural remedies, you probably have bentonite clay, witch hazel, essential oils, and baking soda on hand. If not, I encourage you to build up a small stash of these items because you can make so many money-saving remedies that are just as effective as the ones you find in the store.

To take this anti-itch cream to the next level (and maybe make your own sunscreen while you’re at it!), you can add non-nano zinc oxide powder to this recipe. This isn’t something everyone has around, so feel free to skip it if needed. You’ll still get a great itch-soothing effect courtesy of the bentonite clay.

Longer-Lasting Option:

If you’d prefer not to have to make a small amount that must be used within two weeks, you can make a larger batch by mixing double or triple quantities of the dry ingredients and adding to the wet ingredients as needed for use. (Of course, if you’re using it for the dreaded poison ivy rash, you may want to make the large batch all at once!)

I store the pre-mixed powder in an empty spice container or small tin. When needed, I simply shake the powder out into a small bowl and mix it with witch hazel right before I need to use it.


Homemade Anti-Itch Cream - Like Calamine Lotion
3.16 from 143 votes

Anti-Itch Cream Recipe

Make an all-natural anti-itch cream for rashes and bug bites with ingredients like baking soda, bentonite clay, witch hazel, and peppermint essential oil.
Prep Time5 minutes
Author: Katie Wells



  • In a small bowl or jar, mix together the zinc oxide, sea salt, baking soda, and bentonite clay.
  • Slowly stir in the witch hazel (or water) until it reaches a creamy consistency.
  • Mix in the essential oil and preservative if using.


Store in an air-tight jar in the fridge and use within two weeks (one week if using water in place of witch hazel).
The recommended preservative is broad-spectrum, all natural, and used at a 4% rate. It’s only necessary if you’re not mixing up the dry powder with liquid right before use. 

Other Useful Soothing Skin Remedies

This article was medically reviewed by Jessica Meyers, MPAP, PA-C, RH(AHG), who specializes in herbal protocols and functional medicine. You can also find Jessica on Instagram. As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.

Ever have skin irritation? What has helped you? Share below!

This easy homemade anti-itch cream recipe works like calamine lotion but uses all natural soothing ingredients for DIY natural itch relief.

Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. WellnessMama.com is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


120 responses to “Homemade Anti-Itch Cream (Like Calamine Lotion)”

  1. Seth Avatar

    Can this be made into a lotion bar by adding beeswax? Or can you add zinc along with the clay into your lotion bar recipe? Would prefer an anti itch bar with beeswax (for barrier) so the good stuff gets sealed in. For us, creams are more difficult to use with small children.

  2. katie Avatar

    i live in the south and i had just went camping and these red dots started forming when i was sleeping and they itch like crazy but there not bug bits do u have a clue. (P.S I’m going to try this)

    1. Sharon McFarlane Avatar
      Sharon McFarlane

      If you have small red “bites” all over you got attacked by chiggers that are well known in the south. You need something on the order of Oragel to dab on them to stop the horrid itching. Calamine Lotion only works as soon as you put it on then the itch starts all over. The histimine in the bite causes the itching that can be so bad it will drive you insane. HOT HOT shower to release the histimine in the bite and then oragel with a high consentration of benzocaine (20%) numbs the bite and relieves the itch for a bit. Walmart carries ChiggerX which is 10% benzo. So the oragel is higher in anti itch.

      1. Lea Avatar

        If you look up chiggers you will find that them “burrowing in your skin” and being able to “suffocate” them are both old wives tales. We live in Texas and my 6 kids look like they have chicken pox during the summer from chiggers. We have found deodorant works better to prevent and treat the bites. Sounds crazy but works better than caladryl, chigger-x, and hydrocortisone, and we have tried EVERYTHING walmart etc. sells over the 10 years we’ve lived here. I am going to try this recipe though.

        1. Michelle Robertson Avatar
          Michelle Robertson

          You need Eucalyptus Oil diluted with a carrier oil (olive or fractionated coconut). Put it on your shoes and clothing to keep the chiggers off. And take a shower as soon as possible to wash off any attached critters.

  3. Ginny Avatar

    I was wondering if you could make this a bit thinner with the witch hazel? My husband has poison ivy on his chest and as it dried I guess there was a lot of pulling feeling because of the hair. I was also going to ask as he woke up to a pile of dried mix on the bed. I did read thru the comments though that you can brush off the dry stuff. Thanks

  4. Missy Avatar

    Sorry, but this was horrible! Is the 10 drops of peppermint a misprint? I nearly burnt the skin off of my hands when I applied this. I may try it again without the peppermint.

    1. Dominika Avatar

      The peppermint is supposed to cool the skin down, but can be a bit aggresive on sensitive skin. I would try levander oil instead, especially when the cream is used on small kids. It calms down irritated skin and has perfect healing abilities.

      1. Perry Tart Avatar
        Perry Tart

        10 drops of lavender is going to be just as caustic to the skin. And 10 drops of essential oil for a little over 1 ounce of liquid is just over 2% dilution which SHOULD be fine for most people, even with sensitive skin, but is still fairly strong. And fairly single note; I’d do 3 drops peppermint, 3 drops bergamot, and 2 drops chamomile for this myself.

  5. Heather Birmingham Avatar
    Heather Birmingham

    Hi! My 7 year old came home from her dad’s house with a rash on her face and neck last night, it doesn’t look like anything bacterial or viral, it looks more like an allergic reaction. I gave her benadryl last night and she woke up with it this morning still. I just made up a batch of this recipe (already had all the ingredients on hand, thanks to your toothpaste and sunscreen recipes) How long should I leave it on? She’s telling me it stings.

  6. Mapel Avatar

    Would this work as an after shave cream? I use aloe vera gel but it still doesn’t completely take the itch away from my horribly sensitive skin.

  7. amanda schaefer Avatar
    amanda schaefer

    hi! i made up a batch of this (minus the zinc oxide, i don’t have any on hand) and i’m finding that if the bites are “scratched open” (which really doesn’t take much scratching) this cream really stings! i assume it’s from the salt and/or baking soda. i’m wondering if these 2 things can be left out? and/or what is their function in this cream? would the cream still help with the itch without these 2 ingredients?

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar
      Wellness Mama

      They are both just alkalizing but they can be left out…

    2. Geretta Avatar

      Hi, I also made it with soda and salt and it kind of burned on my skin. Made a new batch with 1 Ts benonite, 1.5 of zinc oxide, 1 Ts kaolin clay, 1 Ts of glycerin,5 drops lavender, 5 drops of chamomile, 1 drop peppermint, added witch hazel to make a light creamy texture. OMG feels so good on my skin. It has really cleared my acne. I’m 50 years old and have been fighting acne. Have since gone to gluten free and dairy. But this cream the only thing that really helped clear up acne.

    3. Perry Tart Avatar
      Perry Tart

      It’s more likely the witch hazel causing the sting. It’s antiseptic/antimicrobial like alcohol, including stinging when used on open wounds.

  8. Dani Avatar

    So I am wondering about the bentonite if there is a difference between types. My husband drills water wells and they buy the stuff in 50lb. bags, I know people have used it to put in the bottom of their ponds to stop the water from leaching out. Is this the same stuff or is there a cosmetic type?

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar
      Wellness Mama

      I’d make sure it is food grade before using on the skin…

  9. kayla Avatar

    Hi there.. does the cream need to stay wet like a poultice? If not, how long do you leave it on the skin?

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar
      Wellness Mama

      I find it works best to let it dry on the skin and then brush the excess off..

      1. kayla Avatar

        thanks so much! I like the way the salt feels on the skin.. kinda itches it for you as you are wiping it on haha!

      2. Fran Avatar

        I made it for a friend, she said that as it dried it was really messy!

      3. Chris Avatar

        Hi, is the preservative only needed if you add water? All of the other ingredients are shelf stable so I would think they would last longer than two weeks

  10. Kirsten Cleigh Avatar
    Kirsten Cleigh

    Just a word of caution about intentionally exposing kids to chicken pox…It doesn’t guarantee you won’t get it again as an adult, plus there’s the possibility of shingles later in life (I know two people that got shingles at ages 25 and 26, so you don’t have to be elderly to get it! Just have a bout with a bad illness or a really stressful year while not eating very well will do it!) I had chicken pox as a kid and even got a titer blood test about 6 months ago that showed I had immunity to it, but at the end of march I came down with flu like symptoms and pain in my knees. After 3 days of it getting slowly worse, I broke out in raised, red, tender spots. Then my knees swelled up and I couldn’t bend them past maybe 10 degrees, nor could I straighten them, I could barely walk and had to cling to furniture to hobble to the bathroom. I went to the emergency room (at the recommendation of the urgent care I went to first) where I was given IV fluids for dehydration and told I had chicken pox and sent home.

    It took about 5 weeks and an 8 day step-down course of prednisone for the inflammation in my knees to recover fully from that, plus the prednisone caused anxiety and heart palpitations for about 3 of those 5 weeks.

    I realize this story may have the effect of encouraging some of you to expose your kids to chicken pox, as it will reduce the likelihood of getting it later (by a great deal) but just be aware that it is a double-edged sword.

    1. Lynn Gould Avatar
      Lynn Gould

      I and siblings had chicken pox while living in Morocco when young and parents had to haul clean water for 50 miles for clean baths. I intentionally exposed my 3 boys and never regretted it. Eat well. Build immune system . I did not, will not vaccinate. ..shedding spreads shingles. among elderly and causing elementary age to get it…I would rather chicken pox than toxic chemicals and poisons injected. .I use and share organic (Young LivingI ) essential oils and also other natural means to protect and build. I had 1 quarter size patch (cultured) shingles on forehead near hairline 8 yrs ago and successfully used prayer, Oregano and Neem oil…amino acid Lysine internally fights herpes virus and works for both. Eucalyptus oil helps also.. and more…has helped others with worse outbreaks..
      Currently helping a friend with excessive itching from poison oak in cellulitis… thanks for suggestions on itching salve! I refuse to recommend hydrocortisone cream…undermines the hormonal system…

      1. Christina Avatar

        My husband (30 years old) just got shingles and a lot of others who are “too young” have got shingles around here. I’m thinking this is why as well. I also was trying to get my kids to get chicken pox but no luck lol. I am going to make up some of this lotion right now and try it on his shingles.

      2. Amanda Avatar

        It’s not just your children you’re affecting by not allowing them to get the vaccine. Vaccines are safe, proven and effective, by the way. Numerous doctors, scientists, and studies have proven this. Do not try to refute this or argue with me in any way. Facts are facts.

        Vaccines also provide herd immunity that helps to protect the elderly, very young and immunocompromised which may not be able to receive vaccines, due to medical reasons, and are very susceptible to contracting these illnesses. With their health status they could have even more severe complications and potentially die from the effects of a typical childhood disease that your kid could bounce back from.

        So unless you and your kids are going to live in a bubble and never see anyone else, you could unknowingly be exposing very vulnerable populations to dangerous diseases. Sometimes without even knowing, as children and adults can be contagious before showing symptoms. I’m sure you don’t want other people’s children to suffer potentially fatal complications because of your actions. Please reconsider your actions to not vaccinate!

        1. Esthee Avatar

          Please reconsider your ideas to vaccinate. There are so many injuries every year. And the science is NOT there on the effectiveness of vaccines. One cannot just take the “proof” from those that have a monetary interest in selling vaccines. You have to seek out independent research.

    2. Christa Avatar

      My daughter had the chicken pox twice before she was 13 and it was due to not having it bad enough the first go around so luckily she had it again when young instead of when she was older.

    3. Kel Avatar

      Clueless u have been lied to. It has been proven and I Have seen proof with my own eyes Vaccines shed and they have given people I know SHINGLES. the MARRIED couple where 1 was vaccinated the other wasn’t, HE GOT SHINGLES right AFTER she got vaccinated.

  11. Volet Avatar

    Hi– I have zinc oxide at home….and it says french milled on the outside. Do you know if that is non nano? It says high grade, cosmetic quality (that never means much to me), french process… I just wanted to check before I added it in. Thanks!

        1. Shannon Avatar

          I have to get allergy tested and the week before you can not use any antihistamines or things like that. Benedryl pill or liquid, for up to a few days before, yes. Problem is, if one week is not bad enough, I have cancelled 2 times now and I am ready to go through the roof with the scratching and benedryl. I think I can make this and use it before they scratch me with the crazy nasty allergens test. I am sure I will even use it after. Because when I get the freak out allergy attack, even with the antihistamines in me. It’s then I start SLATHERING the cream on which only lasts a few seconds.
          Maybe this will what I am after. Thank you!!!! Shannon

  12. Jennifer L. Avatar
    Jennifer L.

    We have some friends who know some friends who have chicken pox right now and we’re always on the fence when it comes to intentional exposure. The mom whose children have it is open to us coming for a play date because she knows–it took years for her kids to finally get it. Her oldest is 13. This week is our window. We’ll see how it goes.

    1. Kelly Killeen Avatar
      Kelly Killeen

      Good luck! My kids are 2 and 4, so gonna wait a bit before I try that. May be pretty bad though since my husband never had it 🙁

      1. Gina Avatar

        I have been trying to find a way to expose my family but cannot find anything / anyone going through it. Suggestions?


  13. Leesa Schmidt Avatar
    Leesa Schmidt

    Thank you so much for all your hard work and beautifully simple presentation of such helpful information! I am wondering about this recipe–what is the function of the zinc oxide? I know it says “optional” but I would like to know what bene
    fit I might be missing if I leave it out. Thanks!

    1. Perry Tart Avatar
      Perry Tart

      Zinc oxide is a moisture barrier (for that reason it’s frequently an ingredient in diaper rash cream). It may also work as a sunscreen.

  14. Steff Avatar

    I just had a quick question… do you have to use bentonite clay or could you substitute french green clay?

      1. Steff Avatar

        Okay, thanks for getting back to me! Hope this will help my husband as we’ve tried dozens of things to no avail.
        Also, I love your site. I discovered it a few months ago and have really enjoyed going through all of your postings! Thanks again! 🙂

  15. Kate M. Avatar

    I just found your site a couple days ago, and have been devouring all the information! I so appreciate the effort and research you’ve put into each and every one of your articles and recipes.
    I’ve had moderate eczema my whole life that I an usually keep under control with an allergen-free diet (gluten, dairy, egg, and soy) and healthy oils and butters (coconut, Shea, and jojoba). I’ve recently had the worst outbreak I have ever had, and have been dying from the itch. I’m going to make this!!! Any other ideas you may have for supplementation diet would be much appreciated!

  16. Janette Hanson Avatar
    Janette Hanson

    Awesome recipe.. I’ll have to check it out. My sister keeps on having rashes for I’m not sure what reason. I hope this helps

  17. Kelly Killeen Avatar
    Kelly Killeen

    Oh my gosh! Just last night my husband returned from his deployment. He had a reaction to our soap (we use Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint soap) when he shaved his chest. He has sensitive skin and I guess the combination of our hard water and soap he hadn’t used in a while just made him itch like crazy. We tried every oil and lotion in the house. Vitamin E oil, coconut oil, shea butter, even aloe vera. Nothing lasted more than a few minutes. Finally I found some presciption Hydrocortisone cream and that worked for a few hours. I just hated to use it because he was obviously hugging me and our kids a lot. Thank you so much for putting this up! I’ll go make a batch now and let you know how it goes!

      1. Kelly Killeen Avatar
        Kelly Killeen

        He is! I made it for him right after reading this and he said it worked just as well as the Hydrocortisone cream. Thank you so much!!!!

          1. Kelly Killeen Avatar
            Kelly Killeen

            Works with poison ivy too! I’m not allergic, but the kids apparently are. Some had started creeping over the fence and they started pulling on it yesterday. Still had some cream leftover and it worked great!

          2. Sofya Avatar

            Hello! I just have one question… If, for example my hands feel itchy from time to time, should I apply the cream on the whole hand? Or just on the spots where it itches?

      2. Rachael Avatar

        Can I use this all over my baby for hives? We found out he was very allergic to our dog and although we rehomed her it’s going to take time to clear all her hair and dandruff from the house. He also struggles with severe eczema but it seems that is improving and it’s mainly just hives bothering him now. I’ve tried lots of things, store bought and homemade, and they help with the dryness he has but not the itchy red bumps. Thanks!

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