Charleston Dermatology Blog

Dealing with Summer Heat Rash

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Heat rash, sweat rash, prickly heat, it’s all the same condition. And it can really put a damper on your summer fun if its not treated properly.

But before we dive right into treatment options, let’s take a step back and talk about the cause of heat rash and how to prevent it.

What is a heat rash?

A heat rash is a common name for a skin condition called miliaria, which occurs when sweat becomes blocked and clogs up your sweat ducts. This causes the skin to become inflamed and the result is a prickly rash with very itchy little red bumps.

The most common cause of heat rash is excessive sweating or an overgrowth of bacteria. As many as 30 percent of people may develop this condition and it is most common in hot, humid climates.

The area where heat rash is most common includes skin folds such as the back of the knees, inside of the elbows or under the arms.

How is heat rash prevented?

Heat rash is difficult to manage, since it is primarily caused by the amount of sweat your body generates. The key is the stay as dry and cool as possible, even if just for a few hours a day. Stick to wearing loose-fitting clothes and avoid excessive amounts of sticky skincare and sunscreens. Basically, the less you sweat, the better off you will be.

How is heat rash treated?

Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you will still get a heat rash. Once you’ve recognized that you have a heat rash, it’s important to avoid scratching your skin, as this will further irritate the rash. Leave the area around your rash as ‘ventilated’ as possible. Bathe in a cold oatmeal bath to soothe your skin or try using a cool compress or calamine lotion.

If your symptoms worsen or become uncomfortable, visit your local dermatologist for a more specialized treatment plan.

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