Heat rash is a common term for a number of skin problems that develop as a result of exposure to heat. Infants, elder people, and obese people are more prone to this condition, as they have more areas with skin-to-skin contact. This condition develops due to blockage of sweat ducts, which causes itching and development of a rash. Also known as prickly heat, this condition is more common in regions with hot and humid climate.
Perspiration is an important mechanism of the body that helps us keep our body cool. When we perspire, the sweat which is released from our body gets evaporated. The process of evaporation needs some amount of energy to take place. It obtains this energy from the body, i.e., while leaving the body, the sweat absorbs some amout of energy leaving the body cooler.
However, wearing tight fitting clothes made from fabrics like nylon and polyester does not allow the sweat to evaporate. This heats up the skin and plugs the sweat ducts. As the sweat cannot be released out of the skin, the blocked sweat ducts force the sweat into the skin. This results in the formation of a rash.
The remedies given below are as simple as treating a diaper rash or sunburn. The following cures will help one to relieve the discomforts of prickly heat.
Cool Your Body
The most important step towards treating heat rash is to cool the body. In case you are affected by heat rash, take regular breaks and sit in a cool environment, most preferably in an air conditioned room. This cools down your body, reducing the rate of sweating thus keeping the affected area dry. A long, cool shower is also beneficial, as it unclogs the pores. Not only does a shower help to cool down the body, but it also removes all the dirt and sweat that may have accumulated on the skin. If this dirt is not removed then it may further clog the sweat pores and aggravate the condition.
Using baking soda or fine ground oatmeal powder provides quick relief to the itching caused due to heat rash. Add a few spoonfuls to your bath and soak yourself in it for about 20 to 30 minutes. This is an excellent option to treat heat rash which also leaves one feeling refreshed.
Applying an ice pack to the aggravated area is a very useful cure. Pack some ice cubes into a sealed plastic bag or in a soft cloth, and apply the cold compress for 5 to 10 minutes on the affected area. Repeat this every 4 to 6 hours till the rash gets cured.
With little care, skin rash caused due to prickly heat gets healed. However, it causes itching and a pricking sensation that may cause a lot of discomfort. Dusting the affected area with some cornstarch, unscented talcum powder, baking soda, or an absorbent powder will help heal the heat rash faster.
Creams and Lotions
After cooling off one's body, the next main step to cure heat rash is to keep the skin dry. Avoid oil-based creams or lotions as these may further block the sweat pores. However, mentholated or calamine lotion may be used as they have a soothing effect on the skin. A thin layer of a light cream containing hydrocortisone may be applied to the rash 2 to 3 times in a day to heal the bumps. Alternatively, gel from the aloe vera leaf may also be used as an effective prickly heat rash remedy.
Heat and sweat are synonymous with summers. However, by adopting the following steps one can avoid the discomforts of a heat rash.
- Get out of heat the moment you feel that you have a heat rash. Find a cool shady place and let your body cool down so that sweating can take place at normal pace, and the sweat glands do not have to force excess sweat out of the body to keep it cool.
- Wear the right clothes, and avoid tight-fitting clothes. Loose clothes help the air to circulate through the body, which doesn't allow sweat to accumulate on the skin. Cotton is the best fabric for the summers as it serves the dual purpose of letting the skin breathe, and absorb excess sweat off the skin surface.
- When back at home try to leave as much part of your skin exposed as possible. Allowing the skin to air dry is an effective precaution for heat rash.
Summer is for fun and play. Don't let the spirit be marred due to prickly heat. Treat the skin rash with these easy aforementioned remedies and have a happy, healthy, and cool summer.