Heat rashes, also known as prickly heat or miliaria, are tiny, red, bumpy spots that resemble small blisters on your skin. These skin infections affect the body during hot summers. These can occur anywhere on your skin, but the most common places are your neck, face, arms, hands, chest, thighs, and back.
These can cause itching and sometimes create a stinging or prickly sensation. This article gives you detailed information about prickly heat.
Your questions such as, what causes heat rash, how to get rid of a heat rash, how to prevent yourself from getting a heat rash, and many more are answered here.
What Are The Symptoms Of Heat Rash?
Heat rashes are small, pinpoint, and clear to pink bumps spread all over the skin. These appear like gooseflesh or blisters. Infants usually are prone to heat rashes. However, adults also get them. There are three different types of heat rashes, which are:
- Clear heat rashes (Miliaria crystalline): These are the mildest form of heat rashes; these do not cause pain or itchiness.
- Red heat rashes (Miliaria rubra): These are placed deeply in the outer layer of the skin, and are usually red bumps with itchiness. These occur both in adults and infants.
- Deep heat rashes: These are the rarest form of heat rashes. Deep heat rashes occur on your skin usually after repeated heat rash events. These lesions are flesh-colored and are deeply placed on the outer skin layer.
Although anyone can get heat rashes, infants, young children, obese individuals, military troops, athletes, non-ambulatory patients, bedridden people, people who have decreased sweating, and people who have congenital absence of sweating are more prone to heat rashes.
How Are Heat Rashes Diagnosed?
In most cases of incidence of heat rashes, medical evaluation and formal diagnosis are not necessary. However, the persistent presence of these rashes is diagnosed by examining the skin’s appearance, and by analyzing the patient’s recent history of exposure to heat. If the heat rashes seem quite resistant, a skin culture or microscopic examination of samples may be required. In rare cases, a skin biopsy may be required. Biopsy of the skin is the surgical removal of a very little portion of skin after numbing the region; and this portion is pathologically examined so as to find out if the rashes are caused by allergic reactions, bacterial infections, fungal infections, or eczema.
What Causes Heat Rash?
Heat rashes occur when the sweat glands in the skin are blocked and sweat is confined under the skin. This also is the reason for the irritation. This usually occurs in the summer when the weather is hot and humid, but there are also cases when people get heat rashes in the winter. People who tend to release more sweat, especially those who are overweight are ones who are usually affected as their body parts that do not get enough exposure to air get overheated. Young children also are more prone to heat rashes. This is because their sweat glands are underdeveloped, which leads to the quick overheating of their skin, which in turn leads to the development of heat rashes.
How To Prevent Heat Rashes?
- As discussed earlier, heat rashes develop due to heat, and so the development of these can be prevented by keeping out of the heat and by staying cool.
- Stay in air-conditioned rooms or under oscillating fans.
- Limit physical activities during very hot days.
- Wash the affected areas on your skin using mild soap and plenty of tap water. Then dry those gently with a soft towel.
- Avoid going out in the daytime during the hot sun as much as possible.
- Wear loose-fitting clothing made up of natural fabrics such as cotton.
- Ensure that you drink a sufficient amount of water.
- Avoid taking hot drinks, spicy foods, hot baths, hot showers, etc as these make your body get internally heated.
- Keep alcohol, sugary foods, and caffeinated drinks at bay.
What Is The Treatment Usually Given For Heat Rash?
Hydrocortisone cream is recommended by doctors for treating severe heat rash. But these are steroid creams that can have an adverse effect on your skin by thinning it or even causing miliaria when used on a long-term basis. Some other side effects of using this cream are nausea, headache, heartburn, dizziness, trouble sleeping, menstrual period changes, acne, or increased sweating.
What Are The Natural Treatments For Heat Rashes?
There are quite a lot of natural ways of treating heat rashes. These include
1. Herbal remedies
So, how to get rid of a heat rash using herbs? Numerous naturally occurring herbs can help in cooling your body and soothing your overheated skin. Some of these are discussed below:
- Chickweed: Chickweed is a lovely smelling herb native to Britain. This plant’s cooling and soothing properties serve as an excellent remedy for treating heat rashes. Those whose skin is hypersensitive to chemical fragrances or additives present in creams can use this herb for moisturizing, calming, and cooling their skin. Extract its juice with the help of your wheatgrass juice extractor and apply it directly to the affected areas of your skin.
- Peppermint: Peppermint has a natural cooling effect on your skin. This is the reason why many artificial creams and lotions sold commercially have this herb in them in combination with chamomile- another herb with soothing and calming properties. On those hot summer days when your skin feels quite overheated, mix in a capful of peppermint tea to your bathwater. You can also drink a warm cup of peppermint while you rest yourself in your bathing tub for that extra cooling effect.
- Lavender: Lavender is well known for its cooling properties. This naturally occurring herb can excellently heal mild sunburns as well. There are also commercial creams that incorporate this herb into them for topical application.
- Aloe Vera: Aloe Vera is also well known for its healing and soothing properties on your skin. You can try applying a paste of its clear gel on the affected areas of your skin to get rid of heat rash on the face, neck, back, and hands.
- Dandelion: Water retention in your body can worsen the heat rashes on your skin. So drink lots of water to flush out water from your body. If you have difficulty peeing, make a concoction of Dandelion leaf, and drink a cup of it. Since this is a good diuretic, it will help you urinate well and thus flush toxins out of your body. Besides, this herb also contains potassium and other essential minerals in high amounts, which your body can benefit from.
- Nettle: If you suspect that allergies or hay fever and your heat rashes are somehow related, try consuming nettle juice or soup. This herb stimulates an antihistamine effect in your body’s receptor cells that help decrease its sensitivity to allergens.
- Margosa or Neem leaves: Leaves of the Neem or Margosa tree possess excellent anti-inflammatory and antiseptic natures. These help in suppressing the itching and inflammatory symptoms of heat rashes. You can follow any of the following ways to use Neem leaves for treating your heat rashes:
- Rinse a handful of Neem leaves and grind them into a fine paste. Apply this paste to the affected areas of your skin and allow it to air dry. Wash off using cool tap water. Do this once every day for a week’s time.
- Make a Neem leaves concoction by boiling a handful of the leaves in 200 ml of water for twenty minutes. Filter the solution, cool it, dampen a cotton swab in this, and place it on the affected parts of your skin for a period of 5 to 10 mins. This should be done four to five times a day for a period of 1 week.
- Make a paste of a handful of Neem leaves, and add half a cup of gram flour to it. Add in some water to make it into a smooth paste. Apply this to the affected area and let it dry on its own. Now rinse off with cool tap water. Do this for a week’s time.
2. Other Home Remedies
In most cases, heat rashes resolve by themselves without medical treatment within a day or two, after the switching of the atmospheric temperature to a cooler one. Below listed are some ways how to get rid of a heat rash:
- Cool your skin using an ice pack:
-Take a few ice cubes and tie them in a dishcloth. Place this ice pack on the affected areas for approximately 10 minutes once in 4 hours. This will prevent the worsening and further spreading of the heat rashes.
-Dip a cotton cloth in cold water, squeeze out excess of it, and keep it over the heat rashes for five to ten minutes. Do this four times or so in a day.
-Take a cold bath or shower whenever you feel hot to decrease the intensity of heat rash symptoms.
- Baking soda is another renowned remedy in the treatment of heat rashes. Since baking soda is a good exfoliating agent, it unclogs your skin’s pores by removing the dead cells, impurities, and dirt. This alleviates itchiness and inflammation related to the heat rashes. Follow either one of the below-given treatments:
-Mix one teaspoon of baking soda in 100 ml of cold water. Soak a washcloth in this, squeeze out the excess liquid, and place it on the affected areas for 10 minutes about four times a day for a whole week.
-Take a bath in lukewarm water in which a small amount of baking soda has been mixed. This will help in relieving the itchy sensation made by the heat rashes.
- After your bath, towel yourself dry, and apply an herbal or a non-perfumed talcum powder. Applying powder should be done three to four times a day. This will keep your body free from moisture and sweat.
- Make a paste of gram flour and water, and apply it to the affected area by gently rubbing it. Then, leave it on for five minutes or so, and wash off with cold water to get rid of heat rash effectively.
- Oatmeal is also a well-known ingredient used in the home treatment of heat rashes. It is soothing, anti-irritating and anti-inflammatory properties can work in the healing of heat rashes, and by providing instant relief from the itching and inflammation caused thereby. You can follow the below-given oatmeal treatment twice a day for a week:
-Mix one cup of finely ground oatmeal to cool water in your bathtub. Blend it well with your hands to get a milky solution.
-Soak into this bathwater for about 20 to 30 mins.
-Towel dry your skin.
- Sandalwood powder has a soothing nature that can effectively remove the symptoms of heat rashes. Besides, it also cools your body temperature which in turn promotes fast recovery. You can use sandalwood powder in the following ways:
-Make a paste of sandalwood powder and rosewater by mixing equal quantities of both of these. This paste should be applied to the affected areas and left to dry on its own. After it has thoroughly dried, it should be washed off with cold water. Follow this treatment twice every day for two weeks.
-Mix two tablespoons each of coriander powder and sandalwood powder with sufficient quantities of rose water to make a paste. Apply this paste to the affected areas, and let them dry on their own. Now wash off with cold tap water, and dry your skin by patting it with a soft towel. Do this twice for a week’s time.
-Use sandalwood powder like talcum powder on the affected areas after each shower.
Fuller’s earth is also an effective heat rash remedy. The medicinal properties of this substance help in relieving irritation, inflammation, and itching.
Follow these instructions:
-Mix some fuller’s earth with rose water to make a smooth paste.
-Apply this paste to the affected parts of your skin.
-Let it be dried.
-Wash off with cold tap water.
-Repeat this once every day for a week.