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How to treat and prevent heat rash


How to Get Rid of a Heat Rash: Treatment, Remedies, and More

We include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Here’s our process.

Heat rash is a painful skin condition that often occurs in hot weather.

The symptoms of heat rash include small clusters of tiny, raised bumps on discolored, irritated skin. A prickly, burning or itchy sensation may also accompany heat rash.

Heat rash is also known as prickly heat, sweat rash, or miliaria rubra.

Although it can appear anywhere on the body, heat rash often appears around skin folds, including:

  • in the neck
  • near the groin
  • under the arms

Heat rash occurs when excessive sweating blocks sweat pores. You’re most likely to get heat rash if you live in a hot, humid climate. Babies are particularly likely to get heat rash, especially if they’re overdressed.

Most of the time, heat rash isn’t serious and often goes away in cool temperatures. However, it can be very uncomfortable and can get worse if excessive sweating continues.

Let’s take a look at several ways you can soothe heat rash at home.

Your doctor may recommend several over-the-counter or prescription medications to treat heat rash.

Ointments

A doctor may recommend you use ointments such as calamine lotion to treat the symptoms of heat rash. This lotion has a number of benefits for the skin, partly because it contains zinc oxide.

It can help treat heat rash by soothing itchiness. Dab some calamine lotion onto your rash using a cotton pad. Reapply as needed.

A range of calamine lotions is available for purchase online.

Antihistamines

Over-the-counter antihistamines — whether topical or oral — can relieve the itching associated with heat rash. If you’re giving an antihistamine to a child, be sure to talk with your pediatrician or pharmacist about which types are best.

Steroid creams

Hydrocortisone cream, a type of corticosteroid, may help relieve symptoms of heat rash. It’s available over the counter at any pharmacy and can be applied once or twice a day to soothe itching.

While you can use it short term on your baby’s skin, don’t apply it under the diaper. It could further irritate the skin.

Learn more about hydrocortisone cream for babies here.

There are many home remedies for heat rash. Some soothe your skin or cool it down, while others reduce inflammation and itching while preventing infection.

It’s important not to scratch your rash. Scratching can lead to more irritation and possibly an infection.

Cool baths and showers

Heat rash usually eases up after the skin is cooled down. Bathing in cool water can help with this. Washing the skin gently can also unclog the pores. This is crucial since clogged pores contribute to heat rash.

Ensure that you dry your skin properly after bathing. Skin that’s left wet can become irritated.

Fans and air conditioners

While your skin heals, avoid excessive sweating and humid air. Ventilation is important in letting your rash dry out and stay cool. When possible, stay in an air-conditioned room, or use an air fan.

Light, moisture-wicking clothes

As your skin heals itself, it’s essential to avoid clothing that irritates your skin or makes you sweat more. Moisture-wicking clothing that’s light and loose-fitting can help your skin heal without irritating it.

Look for certain polyesters and other synthetic fabrics designed for fitness and sporting activities. These will be particularly suited for wicking moisture.

Cotton, while not a moisture-wicking fabric, is quite breathable. It might be comfortable to wear as well.

Ice packs or cold cloths

Cold compresses are great for soothing irritated skin. Face cloths soaked in cold water, or ice wrapped in a cloth, can reduce the pain and irritation associated with heat rash.

Here’s more information about making your own cold compress.

Oatmeal

Oatmeal can be effective at reducing itching and inflammation. This makes it a useful home remedy for heat rash and several other skin conditions.

Put 1 or 2 cups of oatmeal in a lukewarm bath and soak for 20 minutes. Make sure the water isn’t hot, so you don’t further irritate your skin.

You can also make a paste with oatmeal and water and apply it to your skin. Mix 1 part oatmeal to 1 part water, and mix until it forms a paste.

You can shop for soothing colloidal oatmeal here.

Sandalwood

Research suggests sandalwood is an anti-inflammatory and analgesic, meaning it may reduce pain. Sandalwood powder mixed with a little water and applied to the rash can reduce the burning, painful sensation associated with heat rash.

Mix 2 parts sandalwood powder with 1 part water to make a pastelike substance. Before applying it to your rash, test it on a small patch of unbroken skin. If you don’t react after an hour, you should apply it to the rash without any further issues.

You can buy sandalwood powder online here.

Baking soda

Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) can soothe itchy skin. It’s also something most of us have in our pantry. This makes it a great home remedy for heat rash and other itchy skin conditions.

Add 3 to 5 tablespoons of baking soda to a lukewarm bath and soak for about 20 minutes.

Learn more about using baking soda on your skin here.

Aloe vera

Aloe vera is an anti-inflammatory and antiseptic that can cool down the skin while preventing infections. This can help soothe swelling and pain. Use aloe vera gel directly on your heat rash to relieve the discomfort.

Find aloe vera gel here.

Unscented talcum powder

Talcum powder reduces sweat by absorbing perspiration. In turn, this ensures the pores aren’t blocked.

Use unscented talcum powder, as scents might irritate your skin. Apply a little on sweat-prone areas like your underarms, backs of your knees, and inner thighs. Coat the skin and let it sit as if it were an antiperspirant deodorant.

Find talcum powder here.

Neem

Neem (margosa) can help treat a number of skin rashes. Some research has shown it has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. However, human studies are limited.

You can combine neem powder with water to make a paste. This paste can be applied to the rash, left on for a few minutes, and washed off. You can also add neem powder to a lukewarm bath.

Epsom salt

Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) has a range of claimed health benefits. According to anecdotal accounts, a lukewarm bath with a cup or two of Epsom salt may relieve itchiness.

If you give a child an Epsom salt bath, make sure they don’t swallow any water. When consumed orally, Epsom salt is a laxative. In excess, it can cause diarrhea.

You can buy Epsom salt online here.

Provided there are no complications, your heat rash should disappear within a few days of starting home treatment.

The rate it takes to disappear depends on how severe the rash was initially and whether you’re treating it effectively. If your rash worsens after a few days, you may need to speak to a healthcare provider.

While there are a number of effective home remedies for heat rash, you might need a doctor’s guidance if any complications occur.

You should also contact your doctor if a rash doesn’t go away within a week of starting treatment, or if you start to develop a rash after starting any new medication.

You should also consult your doctor if a rash seems infected. Symptoms of infected skin include:

  • pus
  • oozing
  • white or yellowish fluid
  • increased pain
  • swelling

Take your child or baby to the doctor immediately if they have:

  • fever
  • sore throat
  • muscle aches
  • any other flu-like symptoms

Since heat rash occurs when your body overheats and sweats, you can prevent heat rashes by staying cool.

To prevent heat rashes, take the following precautions on hot days:

  • Stay in air-conditioned, cool areas.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Don’t wear excessive layers of clothing.
  • Avoid too much physical exertion.
  • Take cool showers or baths.

Parents should ensure that children and babies stay cool, hydrated, and dressed comfortably. Be sure you’re changing your baby’s diaper frequently, too. Wetness can contribute to heat rash.

Should heat rash occur, there is a range of home remedies available to treat it. These include cold showers and compresses, as well as a variety of ointments and medications.

How to Get Rid of a Heat Rash: Treatment, Remedies, and More

We include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Here’s our process.

Heat rash is a painful skin condition that often occurs in hot weather.

The symptoms of heat rash include small clusters of tiny, raised bumps on discolored, irritated skin. A prickly, burning or itchy sensation may also accompany heat rash.

Heat rash is also known as prickly heat, sweat rash, or miliaria rubra.

Although it can appear anywhere on the body, heat rash often appears around skin folds, including:

  • in the neck
  • near the groin
  • under the arms

Heat rash occurs when excessive sweating blocks sweat pores. You’re most likely to get heat rash if you live in a hot, humid climate. Babies are particularly likely to get heat rash, especially if they’re overdressed.

Most of the time, heat rash isn’t serious and often goes away in cool temperatures. However, it can be very uncomfortable and can get worse if excessive sweating continues.

Let’s take a look at several ways you can soothe heat rash at home.

Your doctor may recommend several over-the-counter or prescription medications to treat heat rash.

Ointments

A doctor may recommend you use ointments such as calamine lotion to treat the symptoms of heat rash. This lotion has a number of benefits for the skin, partly because it contains zinc oxide.

It can help treat heat rash by soothing itchiness. Dab some calamine lotion onto your rash using a cotton pad. Reapply as needed.

A range of calamine lotions is available for purchase online.

Antihistamines

Over-the-counter antihistamines — whether topical or oral — can relieve the itching associated with heat rash. If you’re giving an antihistamine to a child, be sure to talk with your pediatrician or pharmacist about which types are best.

Steroid creams

Hydrocortisone cream, a type of corticosteroid, may help relieve symptoms of heat rash. It’s available over the counter at any pharmacy and can be applied once or twice a day to soothe itching.

While you can use it short term on your baby’s skin, don’t apply it under the diaper. It could further irritate the skin.

Learn more about hydrocortisone cream for babies here.

There are many home remedies for heat rash. Some soothe your skin or cool it down, while others reduce inflammation and itching while preventing infection.

It’s important not to scratch your rash. Scratching can lead to more irritation and possibly an infection.

Cool baths and showers

Heat rash usually eases up after the skin is cooled down. Bathing in cool water can help with this. Washing the skin gently can also unclog the pores. This is crucial since clogged pores contribute to heat rash.

Ensure that you dry your skin properly after bathing. Skin that’s left wet can become irritated.

Fans and air conditioners

While your skin heals, avoid excessive sweating and humid air. Ventilation is important in letting your rash dry out and stay cool. When possible, stay in an air-conditioned room, or use an air fan.

Light, moisture-wicking clothes

As your skin heals itself, it’s essential to avoid clothing that irritates your skin or makes you sweat more. Moisture-wicking clothing that’s light and loose-fitting can help your skin heal without irritating it.

Look for certain polyesters and other synthetic fabrics designed for fitness and sporting activities. These will be particularly suited for wicking moisture.

Cotton, while not a moisture-wicking fabric, is quite breathable. It might be comfortable to wear as well.

Ice packs or cold cloths

Cold compresses are great for soothing irritated skin. Face cloths soaked in cold water, or ice wrapped in a cloth, can reduce the pain and irritation associated with heat rash.

Here’s more information about making your own cold compress.

Oatmeal

Oatmeal can be effective at reducing itching and inflammation. This makes it a useful home remedy for heat rash and several other skin conditions.

Put 1 or 2 cups of oatmeal in a lukewarm bath and soak for 20 minutes. Make sure the water isn’t hot, so you don’t further irritate your skin.

You can also make a paste with oatmeal and water and apply it to your skin. Mix 1 part oatmeal to 1 part water, and mix until it forms a paste.

You can shop for soothing colloidal oatmeal here.

Sandalwood

Research suggests sandalwood is an anti-inflammatory and analgesic, meaning it may reduce pain. Sandalwood powder mixed with a little water and applied to the rash can reduce the burning, painful sensation associated with heat rash.

Mix 2 parts sandalwood powder with 1 part water to make a pastelike substance. Before applying it to your rash, test it on a small patch of unbroken skin. If you don’t react after an hour, you should apply it to the rash without any further issues.

You can buy sandalwood powder online here.

Baking soda

Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) can soothe itchy skin. It’s also something most of us have in our pantry. This makes it a great home remedy for heat rash and other itchy skin conditions.

Add 3 to 5 tablespoons of baking soda to a lukewarm bath and soak for about 20 minutes.

Learn more about using baking soda on your skin here.

Aloe vera

Aloe vera is an anti-inflammatory and antiseptic that can cool down the skin while preventing infections. This can help soothe swelling and pain. Use aloe vera gel directly on your heat rash to relieve the discomfort.

Find aloe vera gel here.

Unscented talcum powder

Talcum powder reduces sweat by absorbing perspiration. In turn, this ensures the pores aren’t blocked.

Use unscented talcum powder, as scents might irritate your skin. Apply a little on sweat-prone areas like your underarms, backs of your knees, and inner thighs. Coat the skin and let it sit as if it were an antiperspirant deodorant.

Find talcum powder here.

Neem

Neem (margosa) can help treat a number of skin rashes. Some research has shown it has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. However, human studies are limited.

You can combine neem powder with water to make a paste. This paste can be applied to the rash, left on for a few minutes, and washed off. You can also add neem powder to a lukewarm bath.

Epsom salt

Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) has a range of claimed health benefits. According to anecdotal accounts, a lukewarm bath with a cup or two of Epsom salt may relieve itchiness.

If you give a child an Epsom salt bath, make sure they don’t swallow any water. When consumed orally, Epsom salt is a laxative. In excess, it can cause diarrhea.

You can buy Epsom salt online here.

Provided there are no complications, your heat rash should disappear within a few days of starting home treatment.

The rate it takes to disappear depends on how severe the rash was initially and whether you’re treating it effectively. If your rash worsens after a few days, you may need to speak to a healthcare provider.

While there are a number of effective home remedies for heat rash, you might need a doctor’s guidance if any complications occur.

You should also contact your doctor if a rash doesn’t go away within a week of starting treatment, or if you start to develop a rash after starting any new medication.

You should also consult your doctor if a rash seems infected. Symptoms of infected skin include:

  • pus
  • oozing
  • white or yellowish fluid
  • increased pain
  • swelling

Take your child or baby to the doctor immediately if they have:

  • fever
  • sore throat
  • muscle aches
  • any other flu-like symptoms

Since heat rash occurs when your body overheats and sweats, you can prevent heat rashes by staying cool.

To prevent heat rashes, take the following precautions on hot days:

  • Stay in air-conditioned, cool areas.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Don’t wear excessive layers of clothing.
  • Avoid too much physical exertion.
  • Take cool showers or baths.

Parents should ensure that children and babies stay cool, hydrated, and dressed comfortably. Be sure you’re changing your baby’s diaper frequently, too. Wetness can contribute to heat rash.

Should heat rash occur, there is a range of home remedies available to treat it. These include cold showers and compresses, as well as a variety of ointments and medications.

Prickly heat in adults: treatment, symptoms and types

Dermatovenereologist

Khasanova

Alina Rashidovna

Experience 9 years

Make an appointment

Prickly heat is a skin irritation that occurs due to the fact that a person sweats a lot and at the same time it slowly evaporates. As a result, the sweat glands become clogged - and irritation begins. Most often, this disease occurs in children, but it is also sometimes observed in adults - so you need to know about it.

Symptoms

Speaking about the symptoms of prickly heat, it is necessary to immediately touch upon such a moment as the types of irritation, because each type has its own manifestations.

The simplest and safest form is crystal prickly heat. It is manifested by small (up to a millimeter) painless rashes - these are small bubbles that are located next to each other and can merge. Such rashes are localized on the neck, face, forehead, torso, as well as in the places where the legs and arms are bent. Often this prickly heat occurs briefly and quickly disappears with the observance of the usual hygiene.

More dangerous is this type of prickly heat, like red (inflammatory). Its signs are the following:

  • Rashes in the form of larger vesicles (up to two millimeters) with red, inflamed corollas. In these vesicles, the content of a cloudy appearance is observed.
  • Itching, which can be quite severe and disturb the patient with discomfort.
  • Wet crusts. If they appear, this means that a bacterial infection has joined the usual illness in an adult - that is, a complication has arisen.

Usually, the red variety of the disease is localized under the armpits, on the abdomen and the skin between the buttocks, as well as on the bends of the elbow, forearms. In obese people, it often appears in the groin. Unlike the previous option, this one does not go away on its own and always requires targeted treatment.

If the course of red prickly heat is complicated, the so-called papular form with acute inflammation may develop. Here already appear not only itching, but also symptoms of intoxication. The skin is painful, the patient's condition is complex. Such a disease can be cured only with specially selected medicines - in some cases, this requires more than one month.

Another variant of prickly heat in adults is apocrine. It is associated with the work of special glands that are located on the areola of the nipple, in the anus, armpits, and also in women in the labia majora. In these places, a small rash appears, as well as specific accumulations in the area of ​​\u200b\u200bthe glands. These formations often burst right inside the skin and an infectious process joins them. In this case, the help of specialists is also required.

Reasons

The causes of sweating in adults look like this:

  • Hyperhidrosis. In people with excessive sweating, the disease can become chronic.
  • Serious metabolic disorders. Since sweat is part of the metabolic reactions, some diseases can affect its release and evaporation.
  • Selected endocrine pathologies - for example, diabetes mellitus, hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism.
  • Some diseases of the nervous system.
  • Fever, elevated temperature for a long time. In this state, sweat is always actively released, so a rash may occur on the skin.
  • Obese or simply overweight. With extra pounds, people tend to sweat much more, which can also lead to irritation of the skin.
  • Inactivity, constant contact of the skin with the bed. Such prickly heat in adults occurs in bedridden patients or in people who, due to certain diseases, do not walk much, but lie or sit a lot.

All these are reasons that can be attributed to pathological - that is, they are already associated with some negative state of the body or disease. But there are also so-called provoking factors - they can be called external causes. Here we include:

  • Hot, dry climate that encourages sweating and high humidity with high temperatures.
  • Active and constant sports, in which a person sweats a lot and the sweat itself is constantly on the skin.
  • Work involving intense physical activity or exposure to hot environments. For example, people sweat a lot if they work in factories near red-hot stoves.
  • Poorly fitted shoes. If it strongly pinches the foot and does not provide enough air, sweating on the skin of the legs may develop.
  • The use of incorrect cosmetics: very thick and nourishing creams when the skin is hot. For example, a rash on the face may appear due to the fact that in the summer heat a woman applies a very dense foundation.
  • Non-observance of all hygiene rules, when sweat mixed with dust and dirt remains on the skin for a long time.
  • Sun exposure that is too frequent and prolonged, which can damage the skin and make it more susceptible to any negative factors.

Both one cause and a combination of several can cause a problem - it all depends on the particular organism.

Diagnostics

As a rule, the diagnosis of prickly heat does not require complex manipulations - a dermatologist or therapist can determine the disease purely visually, by its external signs. But in some cases, it is necessary to examine the cells of the affected areas, as well as pass general tests. This is especially true in difficult cases, when, along with the primary problem, it is necessary to identify a secondary infection.

Treatment

If we are talking about a simple form, the treatment of prickly heat will be to eliminate the negative factor (for example, overheating), maintain hygiene and treat the affected skin with antiseptics.

In difficult cases, patients are prescribed antihistamines, antibiotics (not always), antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and drying agents.

The treatment plan may also include:

  • Various treatments for hyperhidrosis. For example, this is laser treatment, botulinum toxin injections, nerve fiber surgery, removal of sweat glands. The more serious the operation, the less often it is used, since it is important that its risks are covered by the effect obtained.
  • Physiotherapy. Patients can be prescribed reflex and acupuncture.
  • Phytotherapy. In some situations, the doctor may suggest using decoctions based on various useful herbs. But this is far from always necessary, as there are many ready-made products with a more pronounced and faster effect.

Difficult cases require mandatory consultation with a doctor; in such a situation, self-treatment of prickly heat in adults is impossible. If you have a similar problem, we recommend that you immediately contact Medicina JSC. In our clinic, you will receive qualified assistance from experienced dermatologists and be able to get rid of the disease as quickly as possible.

Prevention

To understand what kind of prevention is needed in this case, you need to turn to the causes of prickly heat and exclude all negative factors. It is important to maintain the body at an optimal temperature, wear good breathable clothing, constantly monitor the health of the body, and maintain an optimal weight. A prerequisite is the correct and regular observance of personal hygiene.

FAQ

Does prickly heat itch?

In the event that an additional infection joins it and we are talking about a complicated condition, itching and discomfort may occur.

Is it possible to get infected with prickly heat?

No. This disease is not transmitted by household or other means.

How to get rid of prickly heat?

A simple form can pass by itself, and in other cases, the help of specialists is required, who will select special tablets, ointments and procedures necessary for a particular patient.


How to treat prickly heat?

Prickly heat is not only a child's problem. It also affects adults, especially during hot weather and high levels of humidity. Skin irritation and breakouts occur when blocked pores (sweat ducts) trap sweat under the skin. Thus, proper evaporation of sweat does not occur.

Symptoms range from superficial blistering to red nodules deep in the skin. In some cases, a person's skin begins to itch very strongly. In this article, you will learn about the main symptoms, causes, and methods of dealing with this condition. Specialists from the American Academy of Family Physicians will help us with this.

In adults, irritations or rashes most often occur in skin folds and in areas that rub against clothing. In newborns, the neck, shoulder joint area and chest are usually affected. Sometimes prickly heat in children and adults manifests itself in the armpits, in the folds of the elbow joint and in the groin.

By the way, this condition has several varieties. They are classified according to how deep the sweat ducts are located that have been blocked. Thus, the symptoms of prickly heat are different.

The mildest form of this condition (miliaria crystallina) affects the sweat ducts of the top layer of the skin. This type of disorder is characterized by the formation of fluid-filled blisters and bumps (papules) that rupture easily.

When the sweat ducts in the deeper layers of the skin are affected, red bumps form on the skin. Also, the skin itches and tingles. This type of prickly heat is called miliaria rubra. Sometimes the fluid-filled vesicles become inflamed and filled with pus (miliaria pustulosa).

A less common form (miliaria profunda) affects the dermis, the deeper layer of the skin. In this case, stagnant sweat "leaves" from the ducts to the skin and leads to the formation of hard lesions. In appearance, these lesions resemble goose bumps.

When should I go to the doctor?

Usually prickly heat in children and adults goes away on its own. To do this, it is enough to avoid exposure to high temperatures, which led to it. Many are helped by procedures and products that cool the skin. For example, cold compresses.

You should go to the doctor if the symptoms do not go away after 3-4 days. It is also necessary to consult a dermatologist if the symptoms of prickly heat worsen and signs of infection appear:

  • Increasing pain, swelling around the affected area, severe redness,
  • Pus arising from lesions,
  • Swelling of the lymph nodes in the armpits, neck or groin,
  • Temperature increase.

What are the causes of prickly heat?

As already mentioned, this condition occurs when the sweat ducts are blocked. Instead of evaporating, sweat remains trapped under the skin, causing inflammation and breakouts. Why are the channels blocked? It is not always possible to determine the exact cause, but this may play a role:

  • Underdeveloped sweat ducts in infants. They can tear more easily and trap sweat under the skin. Miliaria in newborns often develops in the first week after birth. Especially if the baby has a temperature, he was in an incubator or was dressed too warmly. In general, it is believed that it is infants who are most susceptible to the development of prickly heat.
  • Living or relaxing in a tropical climate. The rash can be caused by hot and humid weather. For this reason, residents of temperate climates are less likely to experience this condition.
  • Physical activity. Sometimes the symptoms of prickly heat appear after intense training, physically hard work, and any other activity that causes a person to sweat a lot. By the way, for this reason, it is very important to buy clothes for the gym that allow sweat to evaporate.
  • Overheating. If you dress too warmly, your body overheats. This increases the risk of a rash.
  • Prolonged bed rest, especially at elevated body temperature.

How to treat prickly heat?

All you need to do is just avoid overheating. As soon as the skin cools down, the rash quickly disappears.

Ointments and other remedies

For more severe disorders, ointments and topical agents may be required. They help reduce discomfort and prevent complications. These funds include:

  • Calamine lotion to soothe itching.
  • Anhydrous lanolin (wool based wax). This tool helps to prevent blockage of the ducts and the formation of subsequent damage to the skin.
  • Steroid creams and ointments. In the most severe cases, the treatment of prickly heat requires the use of steroid drugs.

What else can be done?

Here are a few tips to help get rid of the rash faster and reduce the chance of it coming back:

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