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. Mel Avatar

    I would recommend using less than the recommended amount of peppermint oil or none at all because I used all 10 drops, and it burned so much. My hands had skin irritations from the burn, and is only now starting to recover months later.

  2. Louise Avatar

    Oh, I hope this works! I don’t know what bit me, but I’ve never had itching like this. Last night I was considering going to the Urgent Care, I’m not kidding!! I made up some of this just now, except for the zinc, which I don’t have. So far, so good……it’s messy, but who cares?

  3. Nancy Avatar

    This is amazing. I made it exactly as written, with witch hazel. I used peppermint essential oil. It works so well on mosquito bites! Intense itching is gone almost immediately, and the relief lasts at least 4 hours. I did try it on my 7-year-old nephew’s bug bite, and he said it stung a little – he might have scratched the bite quite a bit so he had some open skin. Thank you for this recipe!

  4. Kira G Avatar

    I was wondering if you could use this recipie even after one week when you use water. I used this on my horse for 15 days and it still had the same effectiveness as on the first day. The only reason I stopped using it was because I ran out.

    I’m just checking because I want to make sure that by putting it on him I’m causing his skin irritation or something.

    Thanks for the wonderful post!

    Kira 🙂

  5. JB Avatar

    I have a question on the bentotite clay…is it necessary and is there a substitute for this product? Thank you.

  6. haley Avatar

    omg i love this i brought it to camp worked so good on my trip so many bug bites lol thanks

  7. Clare Tate Avatar
    Clare Tate

    Thank you for sharing so much information from all your research. I do have a question about the bentonite clay you recommended……on the package it says it contains Lead and not to use on children. So my question is what do you know about the Lead content in this product? I looked on Amazon.com and looked at other brands that didn’t have this statement about the Lead. Is it just the particular brand you’re recommending that has this of do they all lead in them? Thank you for your help.

  8. Angelique Avatar

    Hi there, my 6 month old got chicken pox. He’s got eczema though, can I use this on him?

  9. Alli Avatar

    This cream did not work for us very well at all!! My 2yo daughter had a rash for about a week all over her body. I think the glycerin in the calamine lotion was making another rash come out, but it help her sleep. I hate putting anything in or on her body that is made from chemicals (especially longer than a few days). So I tried this one. It was great that I had all the ingredients on hand (I already make homemade lotions, shampoo, and the like). After I make the cream, I quickly put a thin layer on my daughters tummy where the rash has been itching her the most. Within seconds, she started to yell and scream like I burnt her. I asked her what was wrong and she cried and said, “my belly, mom” and she got louder and cried more. so I ran over to wipe it off with a wet dish towel, but it only helped. I ran her upstairs to the tub and make a lukewarm tub with baking soda. That quickly helped! Thank goodness! My hubby has an itchy rash on his skin and he tried it too and said it crazy burned him too:(

    I really love Wellness Momma and your site has been a blessing to our family, but I think others should know that maybe they should try just a tiny bit at first, in case the rash or the child’s skin doesn’t go well with this cream.

    1. Jennifer Avatar

      Peppermint EO shouldn’t be used on children under 6. It’s simply too strong. It’s important to remember that just because it’s natural doesn’t mean it’s safe. All too often I see Eucalyptus and/or Peppermint EO used in vapor rub recipes intended for kids. Eucalyptus isn’t recommended for kids under 10. I’ve always used the rule of thumb for diluting of 1-2 drop per tsp of carrier oil for adults and 1 drop per Tbsp of carrier oil for children (with kids safe oils).

    2. Suzanne McLennan Avatar
      Suzanne McLennan

      I am extremely allergic to poison oak-Wash with Fels Naptha Soap-it is a old fashioned soap that is avail in most gro stores be sure to scrape your nails across it to get the oil out from under the nails-best to shower when doing this with lukewarm not hot water=apply tea tree oil to rashes -recently found that Injury Oil (a blend of essential oils) worked even better to relieve itching -I guess you need to check for oils that may have allergic reactions-I also used lavender and balsum of peru (I read that some people are allergic to this oil but I was not and it smells delicious) This should help Suzanne

  10. Nicole Avatar

    Pity I found this tonight and have none of the stuff. But I will be stocking up on this for future reactions, since my anti-histamines do not work fast enough to stop the itching on my skin when it starts.

  11. Amy Avatar

    I was looking up recipes for anti-itch cream because I have been using gold bond for a couple of years now and I just realized that it says don’t use more that 2-4 times a day. Also apparently it has toxic ingredients. This recipe is the first I cam across. What got my attention is where you said that you get itchy skin when you eat certain foods. For the past 2 years I have been itchy constantly.. except for maybe 10 minutes after shower. I have to use a lot of lotion and very often. I don’t have dry skin, but foods like wheat, all meats and fish.. and well most foods really..detergents., toughing other peoples skin… make me very itchy. I have been to the doctor many times and he says there is nothing I can do about it. I try to cut out the foods but even then I get itchy if any dust is around or have tight fabrics on, lay down in bed and so on. A lot of the time this really gets to me. It is not something I want to just get use to // I want to figure out how to stop it if possible. I have tried to do research but you are the first person I have came across that mentions a similar problem. HAve you been diagnosed with anything? I am trying to figure out what is wrong so I can get it treated. Do you have any tips on how to relieve it as well. This is seriously getting to me and changing me. I am very irritated emotionally from this. It effects my relationship in a negative way.

    1. Katie - Wellness Mama Avatar

      I”d look in to doing an autoimmune protocol. The Paleo Approach is a really comprehensive book with a specific plan for doing that and I’ve seen that help with skin issues a lot!

  12. Anja Avatar

    Food for thought, on the topic of chickenpox… You may want to consider the idea of not exposing your children to chickenpox. Having the virus in your system can cause shingles later in life which could actually be more life threatening then getting chickenpox as an adult. With out being exposed to chickenpox you have no risk of getting shingles. And it seems like chickenpox is becoming less common where it might be possible to avoid it completely. I avoided it as a child and was given the vaccine when I was in high school. I am really glad my parents didn’t expose me because I don’t have to worry about the risk of shingles.

    1. marissa Avatar

      I agree with you Anja. I got chicken pox 1st time as an adult and with the medication i barely even got 6 bumps…Which isnt as horrible as i thought it would be in adulthood. But as you said, now i am open for shingles because the pox virus remains in your system. I got my kids vaccinated to save them that risk! Shingles is way worse than chickenpox!

    2. Laurel Avatar

      You can actually get shingles from the chicken pox vaccine. It’s a live attenuated vaccine, meaning weakened. But bc its a live virus, just like the regular chicken pox, it stays dormant and then flares into shingles. And getting chicken pox as an adult is usually more painful than as a child. It’s dangerous to a baby if an expectant mother gets it. I personally will hold off on vaccinating my kids for chicken pox but if my daughter hasn’t gotten it naturally then I would prefer she be vaccinated before becoming pregnant to minimize the risk of getting it while pregnant.

    3. Kristen Avatar

      My son received the chickenpox vaccine at his one year well visit and developed shingles at 3 1/2 (confirmed by swabbing the sores). The vaccine is a live virus, so after receiving it, shingles can develop at any time. Wish I would have known that years ago and wouldn’t have been so naïve to just go along with what the doctors told me to.

      1. Ana Avatar

        Whered people get the idea that shingles is life-threatening? Its not–I lived to tell the tale. I got it in my mid-30s. Yes, I got chicken pox before getting the mandatory vaccine for school attendance AND got the vaccine… regardless of what you do or dont do, chicken pox or the vaccine (containing the virus), the CP virus will remain dormant in your body. Whyd I get it? A combination of nutrient deficiency (likely vit D and A thanks for crazy work schedule and never seeing the sun or getting good sleep) and a whole lot of stress (work and toxic relationship). Yes, it sucked. Yes, it was painful. Yes, it itched like crazy. But my life was never threatened by it. I got over it in under a month. Lastly, statistics show that since the introduction of CP vaccine, shingles cases have gone up and they happen in a younger demographic than before. The shingles vaccine has shown to cause shingles.

  13. Tina Avatar

    I just found this recipe and am wanting to try it. I itch constantly, all over my body and it makes me crazy! I have a few questions before diving in. I would probably use it at least twice a day after bathing. Would I put my lotion (organic only) on first, and then a layer of the anti-itch remedy or visa versa? I seems as if this is kinda like a mask, leaving a dried flaky film that people have been “brushing off” after it dries. Could I mix the ingredients into my lotion? What ingredient make it anti-itch? The clay? Baking soda? I think the peppermint oil would help soothe it as well. At least the tingling feeling would overpower the itch, I hope. Thank you in advance for your input and expertise.

  14. Ashley Avatar

    Can you use the alcohol free witch hazel? I have the Thayers Lavender Witch Hazel that is alcohol free. Does this make a difference or does the alcohol in normal witch hazel help with the anti-itching?

  15. Charles Avatar

    I have struggled with the symptoms of allergies for decades. I will definitely be mixing up some of your remedy. In addition, I have to share a remedy I have accidently discovered for contact dermatitis from poison oak/ivy. I suffer from asthma and sinusitis caused by allergies to foods, animals, dust, tobacco smoke, etc. What has worked miracles for me is quercetin, derived from oak bark (to which I am allergic!). as my allergies have improved, I noticed a bonus: I now have almost NO reaction to poison ivy! It’s always been debilitating, and I still panic when exposed, but I get maybe a little itchy patch, and it’s gone within a day or two. I’m amazed!

  16. Megan Alvarez Avatar
    Megan Alvarez

    My 13 month old keeps picking at his scabs and re opening his scrape on his ankle. If I substitute peppermint for lavender oil is this cream safe to put on his open wound (it’s not deep)? He won’t let it heal and he’s making it worse.

  17. Jessica Avatar

    My boyfriend and I got bit up like crazy by mosquitoes and there was no conventional anti-itch cream to be found in the house. It was eight at night and neither of us really wanted to go to the store, but we were kind of desperate. So I googled homemade anti-itch cream and found this and surprisingly had all the ingredients in my kitchen. Threw it together and it works beautifully! Thank you so much!

  18. Edel Avatar

    For those concerned with chicken pox, as far as I know, there’s a vaccine for that now, if you have no objections to vaccines. My son was exposed multiple times (he was a pre-vaccine baby), and developed an immunity without ever actually catching them. The doctor verified this after his step-brother caught them from their sister, but my son didn’t.

    I was glad to see the comment about substituting French green clay for the bentonite. It’s not available for consumer use here.

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