If you’re an avid hiker, chances are you’ve come across poison oak, poison ivy, or sumac along the way. There’s almost nothing worse than realizing that you’re either standing in a grove of the stuff or belatedly finding out you’ve brushed up against one of these rash-inducing plants.
Whichever the case may be, getting poison oak isn’t fun, especially when you may not have a quick-fix remedy on hand.
As you may already know, I’ve been slowly bagging peaks in the hopes of conditioning my body to take on the fabled Mt. Whitney – the highest peak in the contiguous United States.
I’ve already brushed elbows with poison oak along the way, and since I’m one of those people who are highly allergic to the sumac family, I thought it would be wise to carry along a lightweight remedy that I can use on camping trips, day hikes, and backpacking thru-hikes.
It gives me peace of mind knowing that I have this handy little calamine lotion stick to help treat any itchy rashes that may develop.
I think you’re going to love it!
DIY Hiker’s Calamine Lotion Stick
I made this recipe into a stick version to help eliminate the need to wash my hands while “out in the wild.” This is handy since water is a precious commodity on longer hikes, especially if you’re far from a water source. With this, you can just swipe it on the affected area and voila! No need to use your fingers to spread it out and no need to waste any water.
This version is also more lightweight than carrying around a bottle of calamine lotion which is another important aspect to consider when backpacking.
All in all, you can make this recipe into as small or as large a stick as you desire. That means you can even use lip balm tubes to make really tiny versions or use a push-up tube for home use or car camping excursions.
Here’s what you’re going to need to make two 15ml tubes of calamine lotion:
• An accurate kitchen scale
• A flexible spatula
• A heat-resistant cup for melting ingredients (I like beakers or Pyrex measuring cups)
• Two 15ml lip balm tubes (can also use a 1oz tin or 5 lip balm tubes)
• 10g of carrier oil (opt for something fast absorbing like fractionated coconut oil, safflower oil, or grapeseed oil)
• 10g of mango seed butter (you CAN use shea butter, but it’s a little greasier. Cocoa butter can also be used if desired)
• 5g zinc oxide – this is what soothes rashy, itchy, weeping poison oak sores (cannot be subbed)
• 7g beeswax
• A tiny pinch of red iron oxide (for color if desired)
• 3 drops cistus essential oil
• 3 drops lavender essential oil
• 3 drops myrrh essential oil
• 3 drops peppermint essential oil
• 3 drops Roman chamomile essential oil
• 3 drops tea tree essential oil
This will make a 3% dilution, so feel free to adjust as needed. You can read this post to learn more.
This recipe makes 1oz (28g) of calamine lotion. The average lip balm tube is 5g for reference.
You can also use herb-infused carrier oil like arnica, calendula, plantain, and St. John’s wort to give this calamine lotion stick some extra oomph and healing qualities. Highly recommended. If you happen to have jewelweed on hand, definitely use that!
Loving preparation – Hiker’s Calamine Lotion Stick Recipe
2. Bring 1 inch of water to a gentle simmer, and place the Pyrex in the center.
3. Allow the carrier oil and the mango butter to melt thoroughly.
4. While you wait, measure out your zinc oxide and stir in a tiny pinch of red iron oxide if using. This will give your calamine lotion that well-known pinkish hue. I recommend doing this because it can be easy to mix up with your lip balm if you’re not careful! And, while putting this on your lips won’t necessarily do anything adverse, I wouldn’t want to use this after it’s already been used on poison oak!
5. Once the oils are melted through, take it off the heat, wipe the bottom with a kitchen towel, and place it on said towel on the kitchen counter. This prevents it from cooling too quickly while you add the other ingredients.
7. Once everything is smooth, add the essential oils, then stir to combine.
8. Pour the final product into your tube or tin of choice and allow it to cool completely before use.
The essential oils in this recipe are known for their anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, soothing, and anti-itch properties. If you don’t have the oils I used in the recipe, you can make a simpler version with just lavender, tea tree, and peppermint essential oil.
Have you ever made a calamine lotion stick or another version of calamine lotion before?
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