Heat Rash Treatment and Prevention Tips
Heat rash, also known as prickly heat or miliaria, is a condition that most of us experience at some point in our lives; and because some of us are more likely to run into this condition than others, it’s always a good idea to know of a great heat rash treatment or two. Treating heat rash can be a little tricky but there are a few things that you can do to reduce the symptoms. Take a look below at some helpful heat rash treatment tips and learn what steps you can take to prevent this condition from cropping up on a warm day or during an exercise routine.
What is Heat Rash?
Before we delve into the ways that you can treat heat rash, it’s good to know what it is and why it crops up. A heat rash is a patch of red bumps that can affect virtually any area of the body but is most common in the creases such as the armpits, elbows, neck, under breasts, and behind knees. It is also possible for a heat rash to affect a person’s trunk, arms, legs, and face. This rash can bear a striking resemblance to a mass of tiny pimples although the sensation that they give is very different. Heat rash is usually likened to a burning and stinging sensation or even prickliness.
Being that heat rash is so common, you might be wondering what causes. Simply put, heat rash occurs when the sweat ducts and follicles on a patch of skin become clogged. This usually occurs when the skin is stifled by tight clothing, dead skin cells, or lotions or body creams. Humid weather and heat can trigger the sweat glands to start producing sweat but if the pores are blocked there is no way for the sweat to be released from the body. This causes a buildup of high concentrations of salt on the skin which leads to irritation and the formation of “water bumps,” which can appear clear, white, or red in color.
Bring Down Your Skin’s Temperature
When a heat rash starts to plague your body, the first course of action that should be made is to move into a cooler area, preferably indoors where air conditioning can quickly bring down your body’s temperature. If you aren’t able to find an air conditioned location then seek out a spot that is shaded from the sun. By cooling off the skin you will help reduce your body’s impulse to produce more sweat which will in turn prevent the heat rash from worsening. If you have the opportunity, jump in a nice lukewarm bath. The bath water will work as a double-wonder by cooling down your skin’s physical temperature while also washing away some of the particles that are blocking up the sweat pores in your skin. A gentle exfoliating cleanser can be especially helpful in cutting through and removing dead skin cells, lotion, oil, and other pore-clogging substances. If you do take a bath then bear in mind that harsh or perfumed soaps can cause further irritation to your skin and should be avoided. It’s also a good idea to pat your body dry after the bath rather than roughly rubbing the skin dry.
Wear Loose Clothing
Wearing tight-fitting clothes can cause heat rash to form and can keep it going strong by cutting off airflow to the skin. The next heat rash treatment you could try is to wear loose clothes that won’t hamper your skin’s ability to breathe. Loose clothing also reduces the amount of friction that your skin will receive from the fabric. For babies, the best option is to simply let them run around in a diaper—or sans the diaper if the rash has affected the groin or buttocks. The material that the clothing is made out of will also have a big impact on how quickly the rash-covered skin is able to heal. Fabrics that promote good airflow, such as cotton, are great choices and will go a long way in keeping you comfortable and on your way to a rash-free body. Avoid satin, silk, or polyester fabrics as they are more likely to encourage sweat retention and may keep your skin moist and irritated.
Avoid Exercise for a While
Although exercise and sports are definitely healthy activities to partake in, they could contribute to heat rash if you aren’t careful. Exercising outside when the weather is very warm or humid can lead to the development of a heat rash, especially if you wear tight clothing. A great alternative is to work out in an air conditioned space and to wear baggy clothes while doing so. Prevent your skin from overheating too much and allow your skin to cool as soon as you see the formation of the tiny bumps that signify the stirrings of a heat rash.
Keep the Skin Dry and Avoid Lotions and Creams
If you know that you’re going to be spending the day outside in the warmth and sunlight, or if you have to squeeze into your favorite clothes for a date, then there are a few preventative measures that you can take to save yourself from having to administer a heat rash treatment in the first place. First, take a cool shower and scrub the skin using a loofah or gentle bath bush. This will clear away any potential pore-blockage. After your shower be sure to let your skin dry completely before you get dressed. And last but not least, avoid putting any kind of lotion on your skin. This, of course, excludes sun screen, as some risks just aren’t worth the sacrifice.