Heat rash is one of the most common skin problems. If you have not experienced it, you must be very lucky. Otherwise known as prickly heat, heat rash occurs more often during summer. Wet and hot seasons are conducive and favorable for heat rashes to occur. In summer, people tend to sweat more. Continuous and excessive sweating will eventually block the sweat pores. Such constant sweating will result to the formation of pustules all over the skin. These pustules are often tiny and numerous. They can be itchy and very uncomfortable, turning red even as you scratch them.
What then happens if your sweat pores are blocked while you continue to sweat? Where does the sweat go? How is it discharged out of the body? As the sweat pores are blocked, sweat has no place to go. It remains under the skin and builds up in it. It then springs up as boils and rashes commonly referred to as Miliaria (a more generalized name for prickly heat and heat rash). The concentration of salt in human sweat is high and when left underneath the skin, causes irritation. It is the strain of the sweat logged beneath the outer skin that leads to irritation, itchiness and discomfort, all symptoms of heat rash.
Heat rash is very common in babies. Babies are very tender and need to acclimatize to the surrounding environment before being fully exposed to it. Due to this, infants are often wrapped up in their early days, be it in summer or winter. The fear of cold gaining entrance into their body is far greater than that of them getting prickly heat, as mothers dread the thought of their babies getting pneumonia. Mothers and caregivers will therefore prefer to keep them wrapped up. When babies are wrapped up more often than they should be, without giving time for them to get some air, heat rash is inevitable. If babies wear pampers or nappies constantly (as is the common case), they tend to also develop heat rash. They are usually restless when they have this rash and cry more often as their skin is constantly itch. There are three common types of heat rash (miliaria).
- Miliaria crystallina: This is the clear form of heat rash. Rash is not intense, itchy or painful and is usually the early stage of prickly heat. If treated immediately, it will clear on its own, within 2 days. At this stage the skin still appears clear.
- Miliaria rubra: This type of heat rash is more intense, prickly with red bumps. Common in both infants and adults. It occurs much deeper in the epidermis and is usually the result of mild heat rash left untreated.
- Miliaria profunda: This is the result of constant occurrence of heat rash in an individual. It is not very common and usually manifest in adults. At this point the affected skin surfaces are covered with lesions. Treatment should be taken very serious as regular routine change will not make the rash go.
Heat rashes occur in some people more than others. The following individuals are more likely to have heat than others: bedridden patients, obese people, infants, military troops, athletes, children under four and people with congenital absence.
Parts of the body usually affected by heat rash include: back, abdomen, groin, chest, neck, face, buttocks, elbows and under the breasts.
Heat rash can generally be diagnosed by non-medical personnel (or by self). It does not necessarily require a formal diagnosis by a doctor. It is only when it becomes persistent that such formal diagnosis by a physician is advised.
Regular heat rash is not communicable. It usually clears up within few days. However, the way you care for your skin during this period determines how soon the rash will disappear. Treatment of heat rash basically requires consistent care and certain adjustments to your daily routines. Specific cosmetic products are also targeted to treat this condition. Consistent use of these products will definitely produce good results in a short time. Treatments are generally given based on intensity of the rash and conditions that cause or aggravate the heat.
The following Are Simple Ways to Treat Heat Rash
1. Use Heat Rash Powder:
This type of powder is made specifically for the treatment of heat rash. Get one for yourself if you are experiencing this condition. The powder cools and soothes your skin. It reduces the severity of the irritation and calms the itch. In short while, your skin will become clear and smooth. Heat rash powder may contain essential oils that not only give you a refreshing feeling but make you smell nice. It helps you feel fresh in humid seasons that may lead to excessive sweating which may cause body odor and counter such foul smell. Heat rash powder can be used by both adults and children. It is best used after bath especially in the night. It works by preventing further irritation, itch and soreness while reducing the current discomfort. Keep heat rash powder close in warm seasons. It does not only treat heat rash but can also serve as a preventive measure.
2. Wear loose cotton clothes:
If you have heat rash, it is best to wear clothes that will allow air into your skin without much restriction. Clothes that absorb sweat are also highly advised if you are suffering from this skin condition. Regular rash usually disappears if your skin receives more air. If you have heat rash switching over to strictly cotton clothes for the duration of the condition can be of great help towards its treatment. Change to light cotton beddings too. If you sweat on your bed-sheet during hot season and it does not dry off immediately, it will irritate your skin and worsen the rash you already have. It might even cause heat rash if you don’t presently have it. Let all clothing material used at this period be porous cotton.
3. Take your shower more often:
Heat rash will make you feel itchy more often. As your pores are clogged by sweat you will feel hot most of the time. This is a very uncomfortable feeling. Take cold shower at least 3 times daily to cool your body. Let your skin be free of sweat so the rashes can go quickly. Take your bath if you sweat so as not to make the condition worse. You should dedicate time to soak in a cold bath if possible. This way moisture is forced into your pores and the tension of trapped sweat on your skin is greatly reduced. This will make the rash disappear in a very short time.
4. Drink more water:
Water helps cool down the body system even from the inside. It is important to avoid dehydration if you have heat rash. During hot seasons, you will thirst more for water even as you sweat more. As you sweat more, drink more water to avoid dehydration. When you take water, it helps to maintain a cooler body system thereby reducing the intensity of the rash. Heat rash generally thrives on a warm skin resulting from a hot body system.
5. Use Sprays:
Heat rash sprays are specially formulated to cool down the body. It soothes the skin and minimizes the itching that accompanies this uncomfortable rash. Heat rash can spread to other body parts if it is constantly scratched. This spray helps to relieve the urge to scratch the rashes. Go for heat rash sprays that do not contain chemicals and synthetic materials. These compounds might not be good for your skin and can cause reactions. It is better to use sprays that contain beneficial herbal substances like lavender and eucalyptus. They have additional soothing properties and will hardly react with your skin. Heat rash sprays can be used directly on the affected body parts. It sticks properly to the skin and soothes them, cooling down the body and making it difficult for the rash to continue. Within a very short time, the rashes will disappear.
6. Get an allergy sunscreen:
The first basic step to treating heat rash is to stop it from spreading to other parts of the skin. If the rash becomes more intense, it gets more difficult to handle and wrecks more havoc to your skin. In some cases of heat rash, dark spots remain on the affected skin parts even after the rash is gone. Such spots give the skin an unpleasant look and should be avoided. Intense sunlight on a skin covered by heat rash can cause such spots. The last thing you need when you have heat rash is more sun. It intensifies the rash, giving you more itch and irritation. You tend to scratch the rash more and this will only make it more pronounced and sore. Use a good sunscreen to avoid heat rash. It will also treat the rash. Get a sunscreen that also acts as an allergy sun lotion. They help you sweat less as they protect your skin from the intense power of the sun. As you already know, if you sweat less, the heat rash on your skin will disappear quickly.
7. Avoid medicated soaps:
You already know how important it is to take frequent baths when you have heat rash. Use only mild soaps for your bath. Stay away from medicated soaps at the moment. While these soaps help you fight germs of all kinds, it will most likely add to your skin irritation if you have heat rash. Use only soaps that will soothe your skin during this period (you can go back to using your medicated soap after treating the rash). Wash your body gently too. Do not use harsh wash cloth as they might worsen the rash, causing them to spread out on other skin surfaces. You have to avoid anything that will make the rashes more intense. Allow the rashes to clear without aggravating them.
8. Spend more time in air-conditioned rooms:
If your skin is covered with heat rash you will feel warm (even hot) most of the time. Hot environments could increase this rash and make them more difficult to clear up. Try to spend more time in an air-conditioned room. If you don’t have an air-conditioner in your house, visit places that have (malls, cinemas, banking halls, bowling alleys). Let the cold air from such environment penetrate your skin and lower your skin temperature. Heat rashes will not thrive in a cold open environment that allows free circulation of air. As your body temperature decreases, the rash will decrease too. With time they will disappear from your skin.
9. Avoid skin to skin contact: Skin surfaces that overlap or are in constant contact (under the breasts, groin, and abdomen) normally trap sweat. Therefore, when heat rash occurs on these surfaces, extra attention should be given to them. Place cotton materials between touching or overlapping skin surfaces. Do not let them rub off on each other as irritation will be intensified. If these surfaces keep touching they will itch more and become sore. Try to let air constantly touch these body surfaces and keep them dry.
10. Apply antifungal heat rash creams:
Heat rash can occur because of a fungal infection. If this is the case, common practices cannot treat the condition. Use antifungal creams that are specially formulated to soothe and alleviate such cases of heat rash. If heat rash is caused by fungus, itching and irritation may be more intense. Antifungal creams that contain clotrimazole fight the fungus responsible for itching and irritation. Hydrocortisone creams are also very effective against heat rash. Hydrocortisone is usually characterized by a foul odor but is a very effective cream for heat rash. Calamine lotion is another product that has proven effective against heat rash.
Heat rash is very common and springs up in every hot season. They usually disappear on their own if routine care is practiced.