When the sun is out, you want to be too, so the last thing you need is to suffer from heat rash. Before you head outdoors this summer, make sure you understand what causes heat rash and how to treat it.
What is heat rash?
When we get hot, our bodies sweat to cool us down. This sweat, or perspiration, is released through the pores of our skin. If these pores are blocked then the sweat can't escape, which causes them to swell and become red and itchy. Tiny blisters may also appear along with a stinging sensation. This is known as heat rash.
In advanced dermatology
, heat rash is also known as miliaria or prickly heat
. This name comes from the prickly sensation the rash can cause on the skin.
What causes prickly heat?
Heat rash occurs when our body gets too hot, but this can happen at any time of the year, not just the summer months.
Heat rash can also appear:
- During intensive exercise, or any other type of activity that can cause us to sweat.
- If we wear too many clothes, causing our bodies to overheat.
- If we get too hot when we sleep, either from lying under a heavy duvet, using an electric blanket, or having warm sheets on the bed.
Are babies affected by heat rash?
Heat rash can occur in men and women of any age, but babies are particularly susceptible. This is because their sweat glands haven't matured yet and they can't regulate their body temperature, as well as adults, can.
To prevent babies from developing heat rash, dress them in loose-fitting clothing as this helps their skin to breathe. Keep their room and the house at a comfortable temperature and don't use too many lotions and powders when washing and changing them, as this can block their pores even more.
5 top tips for heat rash treatment & prevention
- Keep hydrated - keeping your body cool is the first step to avoiding heat rash. Make sure you're regularly drinking water, as this helps to keep your body temperature regulated.
- Dress for the climate - wearing the right clothes in the right temperature is important to ensure you don't get too hot.
- Stay in the shade - if you're out in the hot weather, stay in the shade wherever possible. You may also want to have a small handheld fan with you or a parasol and sunhat.
- Acclimatise - help your body adjust to the hotter temperatures by only spending a short time in the heat at any one time. By taking the time to get your body accustomed to the warmer weather, you could reduce your risk of developing heat rash.
- Have a cool shower - if you are suffering from heat rash it is important you reduce your body temperature slowly. Have a tepid shower and let your skin dry naturally, rather than using a towel.
If your skin is particularly susceptible to heat rash, contact Pall Mall Medical's private skin clinic today and book an appointment with a private dermatologist