Reading Time: 9 minutes
Prickly Heat: MiliariaPhoto By: Ross Catrow/ CC BY
Prickly heat, sweat rash or heat rash is medically called miliaria. This occurs when sweat ducts are blocked, there is leakage of sweat on the skin and there is inflammation where it has leaked. Prickly heat rash is associated with red, itchy bump/papule. What causes the blockage? It is the result of either too much sweat or excessive bacteria.
If the sweat becomes blocked and cannot escape, it is a big problem leading to prickly heat. Rashes are not easy to form a diagnosis about. A lot of conditions such as Polymorphic Light Eruption mimic prickly heat. Heat rashes are characterized by tiny bumps surrounded by red skin. This is generally where the folds of the skin or clothing lead to friction.
Heat rash is the result of blocked sweat entering the skin's tissue leading to the rash. Increases inflammation, redness or warmth around the infected area and pus draining from it or swollen lymph nodes mean the symptoms are indicative of some full-fledged infection and you need to see a doctor. But for combating prickly heat, there are several wonderful home remedies that can work wonders.
Ways To Beat Prickly Heat
It is essential to dress in lightweight, loose clothing that wipes moisture away from the skin, considering that heat rash is the result of blocked sweat. Avoid overdressing. Choose clothing that is non-occlusive, and does not exert any friction against your skin. Wear light cotton that permits your skin to breathe.
Opt for smooth and light clothing. Tight fitting apparel or rough textures can cause irritation of the skin and lead to prickly heat. Clothing with smooth texture such as cotton or merino wool can prevent heat rash on account of additional sweating. Wearing clothes suited to the weather can also offer protection from heat rash.
Layer clothing when it is cold. What is the benefit of that? You can easily remove the outer layers if you start to feel overheated. Choose merino wool in winter if you want to avoid sweating and developing a rash.
Cool water bath
Bathe in cold water with a soap that does not dry or contain fragrances or dyes. Try a colloidal oatmeal bath if you really need relief from the itching.
Avoid the Sun
Another very useful method is the avoid the sun and stay in the shade. This ensures that the skin does not sweat and air conditioning can also ensure that you remain hydrated and your skin remains sweat-free.
Staying cool is all about proper ventilation. Keeping your sleep area cool and extremely well ventilated can provide many benefits.
Avoid Comedogenic Creams
Avoid creams that block pores and contain either petrol or mineral oil ingredients, because once the sweat builds up, this can contribute to prickly heat or heat rash. Also, avoid sticky skincare items that cling to the skin and block the pores. Sunscreens trap heat and prevent the skin from breathing.
Avoid Scratching the Skin
As soon as you develop signs of a rash, avoid scratching the area and check with your doctor about taking antihistamine medication. Shop for OTC sprays and remedies that don't have a long and complicated list of ingredients. Some possible options and brands are ODaban, Magicool, Hyalual, and Eal Thermale Avene. Calming the skin on the move is also possible through the use of calamine lotion. Leaving the area open and ventilated ensures cold water compresses and calamine lotions can soothe the skin. Use a light emollient for the best results. Calamine cream is also a good remedy to try.
Dry Skin Completely After Bathing
Once you have bathed, you need to dry your skin. Heat and moisture can lead to skin irritation and prickly heat. After bathing or swimming, make sure you wipe every speck of moisture from the body to prevent prickly heat.
Hydrate your Skin
Excessive dryness of the skin is associated with prickly heat. Naturally hydrating and moisturizing the skin helps to stave off extreme temperature. Using a humidifier is also very beneficial.
Applying moisturizer once a day to the skin when it is damp yields the best results. Opt for fragrance-free, non-colored moisturizers that are non-comedogenic or do not block the pores.
Circulate the Air
Increased air circulation keeps the skin cool. It also prevents you from sweating or your environment from getting too hot. Opt for a fan or air conditioner to maintain air coolness and consistent circulation. Choose a cool sleeping environment by controlling the degree of light that enters and the temperature.
Try Baking Soda
Sprinkle water with baking soda to soothe the skin. Opt for raw oatmeal or colloidal oatmeal if these are available instead.
Creams and Lotions
Apply anti-itching lotion or cream. Heat rash, inflammation, and itching can easily be overcome using these. An anti-itch cream called hydrocortisone can prevent itching. The cream should contain at least 1 percent of this substance and apply it to the area impacted for best results. Anhydrous lanolin cream can also work wonders and prevent skin ducts from obstruction and prevent lesions and rashes.
Relieve itching and inflammation through the use of ice, cold cubes, cold packs or compresses. This constricts the flow of the blood and cools the skin, rather than heating it and causing sweating. Scratching can also irritate the rash, just as cold compress soothes it.
Home Based Remedies
This is a wonderful herbal plant that reduces prickly heat and prevents itching. It is an anti-inflammatory and it soothes the skin creating cooling effects. You can use:
- Freshly extracted aloe
- Readymade pure gel
Keep this on for a couple of hours and then wash it off with cold water. Follow this method before bathing or turning in at night.
Aloe Vera also works very well when mixed with:
- Apple Cider Vinegar
For applying aloe vera with turmeric, mix a teaspoon of turmeric in a couple of tablespoons of fresh aloe vera gel and apply the same on the skin. Leave it on for an hour and then wash it off– this should be repeated twice a day for best results.
Instead of turmeric, you can also use 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar over the impacted area and wash this off with cool water after an hour.
Also called neem, this is the perfect cure for prickly heat because it is able to kill bacteria and destroy germs. Not only is neem good for bringing down swelling, but it also has antiseptic properties for preventing the emergence of prickly heat.
Try neem leaves crushed in 3 tablespoons of rose water to get the smooth paste. Place this paste on the affected area for an hour and then wash it off. This remedy can be followed 1-2 times in a day. Crushing a handful of neem leaves and boiling them in water, straining the water, cooling it and applying it also gives fast relief.
This is a healthy food that has more than just nutrients. It has the capacity to heal the skin and calm the rash because it has anti-inflammatory properties. Oatmeal mixed with turmeric, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar or curd is extremely beneficial for preventing prickly heat. You can also take a cool bath with oatmeal powder.
This works very well to cure heat rash. It has the ability to heal the skin and reduce itching and inflammation caused by prickly heat. Mixed with turmeric, lemon or apple cider vinegar, it can be applied to gain fast relief from the rash.
Take Indian gooseberries and grind them into a smooth paste. Apply this for an hour and then wash it off with cold water.
Another great remedy is as follows:
- Take 4-5 gooseberries in small pieces and place them in water overnight.
- Grind the pieces using the water and add 3 tablespoons of sugar/honey.
- Next, add, a pinch of rock salt and some cumin seed powder in this
- Drink this to avert prickly heat.
This is another natural home remedy which works very well too. Mix 2-3 tablespoons of cornstarch or flour and around 5 tablespoons of rose water. Apply this smooth paste over the area impacted and keep it on for 30 minutes.
Then wash it off with cool water. Repeat twice a day for best effects.
Get relief from rash, itching and burning sensations as the skin is soothed. Slice up the medium-sized potato into slices and apply these in the impacted area. The slices should be left on for about ten to fifteen minutes and then rinsed with cold water. The areas can also be dabbed with slices. This needs to be repeated each day to observe the results.
For this, you need 2 to 3 tablespoons of baking soda. Mix this in two cups of water. The water should be cold. Dip a clean, soft cloth and rub this on the impacted areas to soothe the rash. Leave this on for five to seven minutes before rinsing it off.
To cure the rash, another good home remedy is a cucumber. All one needs to do is peel off the cucumber and cut thin, long slices. These slices then need to be refrigerated in the fridge for over 4 to 5 minutes and placed on the rashes directly. The slices need to stay on the rashes till they return to room temperature. This needs to be repeated every day to observe results.
How to Prevent Heat Rash
Keeping Skin Cool
For keeping the skin cool, the NHS recommends wearing loose cotton clothes. Lightweight bedding needs to be used and you need to hydrate yourself to avoid dehydration. Also, ensure that you take cool baths or showers.
Calming the Skin
For this, you need to apply a cold, damp cloth or ice pack wrapped in a tea towel for around twenty minutes. The rash needs to be tapped or patted, rather than being scratched. Perfumed creams or shower gels do not need to be used.
In most cases, heat rashes clear up in just a couple of days if the impacted area is cooled and dried. So, use an AC or fan to cool your skin or take a cool bath or shower and let the skin be air dried. Once the skin cools and becomes dry again, use water-based rather than oil-based products that block your sweat glands.
In case prickly heat does not disappear in just a couple of days, or if the infection is developed when bumps burst, medication may be required so call the doctor. Also, check with the doctor if you have any signs of illness such as fever. If one has been taking new medicines like antibiotics and develop a rash, you need a doctor.
To work towards preventing heat rash, avoid those situations which exacerbate extensive sweating such as humid, hot environments. Avoid exercises that strain the body when it is very warm. In hot weather periods, use fans, air conditioning units, and cool baths as well as showers to stay fresh. Dry your skin completely and wear loose-fitting, light clothes. Avoid fabrics that are synthetic. Drink a lot of fluid to keep the body hydrated and cool.
Wearing clothes made of cotton permit the skin to breathe and lessen sweating. One also needs to wear protective headgear and work towards embracing the shade as far as possible. This helps in preventing prickly heat rash. Another handy tip is to wash hands regularly, as you can never be sure where bacterial infections are waiting to prey on you. For avoiding excessive sweat building up, you need to bathe daily. Use gentle skin care products to avoid skin irritation.
Keep the body cool and leave only part of the skin where prickly heat is exposed to cold air. During hot summers, it is important to keep oneself more hydrated as one can. Drink natural drinks that have a cooling impact and avoid carbonated drinks and alcohol as much as possible. Keeping the skin dry and damp during the hot seasons is also essential. Even post the bathing, pat yourself with a towel gently to avoid bacteria from building up in warm, moist skin.
Avoid scratching the rash, too. Take antihistamines when the heat rash starts to develop. This offers excellent treatment for prickly heat. The area which is infected needs to be kept well ventilated, too. Avoid warm showers and opt for cold ones instead.
Prickly heat can be an irritating problem. But with these quick remedies, you can beat this skin condition and find your way to smooth, even textured and soft skin in minutes.