This section is from the book "Materia Medica And Therapeutics Inorganic Substances", by Charles D. F. Phillips. Also available from Amazon: Materia medica and therapeutics.
The oxide and the carbonate of zinc, and "calamine" (impure native carbonate), form useful sedative, absorbent, and protective powders for inflamed surfaces, and sometimes are indicated when serous discharge is present: they are generally mixed with 1/4 or 1/2 part of a neutral powder, such as that of orris-root, starch, or magnesia. They may be used also suspended in mucilaginous liquids as a good lotion, e.g., for erythematous acne of the face, or in the form of ointment mixed with oleic acid - oleate of zinc - (Crocker: British Medical Journal, i., 1879), or vaseline, or the benzoated lard of Mr. Erasmus Wilson: benzoated zinc ointment, when properly made, is an excellent application for irritative and eczematous conditions. A lotion containing 5 gr. of sulphate in the ounce, relieves the itching of eczema and other skin diseases, but is liable at first to cause some smarting.