Kick off prickly heat this summer: Heat Rash Remedies

This summer, do not let inflamed and itchy bumps trouble you. Our article will provide you with the list of home remedies for heat rash. All ingredients are easily available in your kitchen cabinets. But before getting into the detail about the ways to get rid of heat rash or prickly heat let us understand what it is?

What is heat rash

Summers are hot and humid. The temperature sometimes is unbearable, and there is excessive sweating. You cannot spend the whole of your summer in an air conditioned room. You have to step out. But exposure to high temperature results in heat rash. Other synonyms used for it are heat bumps, sweat rash or prickly heat.

Sweat rash may develop anywhere on your skin, but the most common areas of their appearance are the neck, back, thighs and chest.

What are the symptoms of a heat rash

A heat bump appears on your skin as a cluster of tiny and raised bumps or spots with the surrounding red area. They may also appear as tiny blisters. In other words, you can say that they look like pimples.

The main symptom of a heat rash is itching. It may also cause prickling and stinging sensation and become a cause of discomfort and irritation. If you have a sweat rash even clothing will irritate you and if you scratch them you invite chances of secondary infection.

An adult is more likely to develop heat rash in the areas where there is skin to skin friction or where clothing cause excessive friction. But in the case of infants, it is common on the shoulder, back and chest. In a few cases, it may also develop in elbow crease, groin, and armpit.

What are the causes of heat rash

As discussed above the main culprit of heat rash is hot and humid climate. A heat rash develops when a person sweats a lot. The sweat glands then get blocked and excessive sweat gets trapped beneath our skin and results in sweat rash. This condition is worse in the areas that are covered with clothing as clothing makes us sweat more and also causes unwanted friction.

People who are more at the risk of developing heat rash or prickly heat are:

  1. Bedridden patients- As they spend a long time in bed in one position. They sweat more if their bedding is warm.
  2. Individuals wearing too much of clothes in winters.
  3. Sitting close to heater, blower or fire.
  4. Overweight and obese people who sweat a lot.
  5. Infants and small children.
  6. Wearing synthetic fiber clothing that’s prevents the sweat from getting evaporated.
  7. The intense physical activity of exercises causing excessive sweating.
  8. Oil-based cosmetics.
  9. Certain medication such as high blood pressure medication and Medicines for ADHD.

Infants and small children are more at the risk of developing prickly heat because their sweat glands are underdeveloped.

Contrary to our above statement that hot and humid climate causes prickly heat, heat rash is not uncommon in winters. In fact, heat rash on the baby in winters is common in the babies whose parents dress them too warmly. Even newborn babies may develop prickly heat when they are snugly wrapped in the blanket or placed in the incubator.

Types of heat rash

Medically termed as miliaria, a heat rash may be classified into 4 types depending on the depth of the blocked sweat gland.

  1. Miliaria crystalline– It is the mildest type. Here the sweat duct at the upper layer of the skin is affected. It is marked by bumps that appear as fluid filled and clear blisters.
  2. Miliaria rubra- It is also known as prickly heat and affects the deeper layer of the skin. It is identified as red bumps that itch and causes prickling sensation.
  3. Miliaria pustulosis– It occurs when prickly heat rash becomes inflamed and is filled with pus. Thus, it appears as a cluster of fluid-filled vesicles.
  4. Miliaria profound– This type is formed when the deepest layer of skin is affected. Here the sweat that was retained leaks out and forms flesh-colored lesions that are firm and appear as goose bumps.

How to diagnose a heat rash

The appearance of heat rash, itch and prickling sensation is enough to identify it. In the case of babies and small children as they are unable to tell you what’s bothering them. So to detect baby heat rash you will have to inspect their skin if they are restless, sleepless or cranky.

Is heat rash a serious condition

Not at all…

Heat rash is neither a serious health issue, nor it is painful. In fact, the rash usually disappears on its own in a few days. But yes, the intense itch is annoying. Heat rash on a baby makes them cranky and disturbs their sleep. And if in the case baby scratches the rash there is a risk of developing a secondary infection.  If prickly heat rash appears on your face just imagine how unsightly they can be.

One important point to note is that baby heat rash may be a sign that your baby is warmer than recommended and overheating during sleep increases the risk of SIDS and heat exhaustion. All these reasons are enough to compel you to look for home remedies for heat rash and get rid of them fast.

What is the treatment of heat rash

Heat rash resolves on its own in a few days. But you need heat rash remedies to control the troubling symptoms. The treatment includes calamine lotion or low strength hydrocortisone cream. They are easily available in the pharmaceutical shops and eases itching and inflammation. In the case, the itching is intense your doctor may recommend antihistamine tablets.

Avoid heavy lotions, ointments and oils as they might trap moisture and intensify sweat rash. Keep your skin dry by using herbal talcum powder and refrain yourself from scratching.

In the case of babies make them wear cotton mittens to prevent scratching. Better keep your baby’s skin as cool as possible. During bath, wash their skin with tepid water and do not use soap.

If your baby is suffering from the winter heat rash use lukewarm water to clean your baby’s skin.  After bathing pat your baby’s skin dry with a towel. Wrap them in cotton clothes but try to dress your baby as lightly as possible. In summers let your baby roam naked for some time.

Below is the list of home remedies for heat rash. Let’s have a look at them.

Home remedies for heat rash

1. Fuller’s earth

Fuller’s earth is well known for its cooling effect. It also unclogs the pores.

How to use

Mix about 4 -5 tablespoons of fuller’s earth to sufficient amounts of rosewater to make a paste. Apply this paste to the affected area. After 20 minutes, rinse it off with cool water. Repeat this for a few days.

2. Ice

This is the easiest and popular treatment for sweat rash. Application of ice provides immediate relief from itch, inflammation and prickly sensation.

What to do

Wrap a few ice cubes in a cheesecloth. Apply it to the affected part for 10 minutes. Repeat this 4-5 times in a day for 2-3 days. Refrain yourself from applying ice directly to your skin or it may cause chilblains.

In the case of small children, I will advise you to soak a cotton cloth in cold water. Wring it to remove excess of water and place the cloth on the affected part for 10 minutes. Repeat this 3-4 times in a day for a few days.

3. Oatmeal bath

By exfoliating, your skin oatmeal unclogs the sweat ducts. Also, it provides instant relief from itch and inflammation.

What to do

Add 2 cups oatmeal to the bathtub filled with lukewarm water. After the water cools soak yourself in it for 10 minutes. If you do not have a bathtub in your bathroom scrub the affected area with the paste of oatmeal. This process should be repeated every second day till heat bumps disappear completely.

4. Sandalwood powder

The soothing and cooling property of sandalwood effectively eases prickly heat symptoms and also fastens the recovery.

 How to use

Mix 4 tablespoons of sandalwood powder and add it to sufficient amounts of rosewater to make a paste. Optionally, you may also add coriander powder to the paste to increase its effectiveness. Apply this paste to the affected part. When the paste dries, rinse it off with cool water. You may also take a shower to remove the paste. For best results pat the affected area dry with a towel and sprinkle sandalwood powder over it. Repeat this every day.

5. Baking soda

Baking soda is a gentle exfoliator. It unclogs the pores and removes dirt, impurities, and dead skin cells. It also soothes the skin. The best part is being antibacterial baking soda prevents secondary infections.

What to do

Mix a teaspoon of baking soda to a cup of cold water. Dip a washcloth in it. Make sure the washcloth is clean. Wring out the excess of water and place the washcloth over the affected area for 10 minutes. Repeat this  4-5 times in a day and you will get results in just 2-3 days.

6. Aloe Vera

Aloe vera is known for its cooling effects. This makes it one of most effective heat rash remedies. It eases inflammation, hydrates the skin and makes it soft. Also being antiseptic and antibacterial it prevents secondary infection.

How to use

Take a fresh leaf of aloe vera plant and extract its gel. Apply this gel to the sweat rash. Leave it for 20-30 minutes and then rinse it off with cool water. Repeat this 3 times in a day for 3-4 days.

7. Watermelon

I remember during my childhood, my mother use to apply watermelon pulp to heat bumps. And, believe me, it felt so cool and refreshing. So why not you try it out. Watermelon will also keep your skin hydrated.

What to do

Extract the pulp of watermelon. Remove seeds. Better keep it in the freezer for 10 minutes. Apply the pulp on the affected part and rinse it off after 20 minutes. Repeat this every 4-5 hours till you get the desired results.

8. Margosa leaves

I especially recommend margosa leaves for small children and baby heat rash. The reason behind is that the irresistible itching makes it difficult for them to refrain themselves from scratching. This increases the risk of secondary infection. But do not worry as we have a backup plan and that is the application of margosa leaves paste. It is antibacterial, astringent and antiseptic. Also, it controls inflammation and itching.

What to do

Grind a few fresh margosa leaves and make a paste. Apply the paste to the affected part.  Once the paste dries, rinse it off with cool water. Repeat this once daily.

Alternatively, you may simmer a handful of margosa leaves in a half bucket steaming water. When the water cools off take bath with it. In the case of heat rash on the baby. Soak a clean cheese cloth with this water. Wring it and remove excess of water and place it over the bumps for 15 minutes. Repeat this 4-5 times in a day.

9. Yogurt

Yogurt is not just good for your guts, but it is also an effective treatment for most of the skin problems. It soothes inflammation, unclogs the pores and promotes the healing of skin rashes.

How to use

Take plain yogurt and apply it to the affected part. Leave it for 15-20 minutes and then rinse it off. Repeat this daily until you find relief.

10. Coconut oil

I strongly recommend coconut oil as the first line of treatment in the case of heat rash on babies. A baby’s skin is delicate and sensitive. Coconut oil is not at all harsh on their skin. On one hand, it, control the symptoms of heat bumps and on the other hand it, hydrate and nourishes the skin. Being antibacterial it also prevents secondary infection.

What to do

Apply virgin coconut oil to the affected part daily before sleeping. In the case of babies, even after the rash disappears, you may continue this treatment to prevent prickly heat in the future.

11. Cucumber

To get rid of the burning sensation use cucumber. It will cool and soothe your skin.

How to use

Peel a cucumber and crush it. Apply it to the heat rash. After 15 minutes, rinse it off with cool water. Repeat this 3-4 times in a day.

12. Honey

We all know that honey is antibacterial. It nourishes that skin and keeps it hydrated. You can also use it to treat baby heat rash.

How to use

Apply raw honey to the affected part. Leave it for 20 minutes and then rinse it off with cool water. In the case of small children or babies soak a clean washcloth in cool water, wring it and then wipe off applied honey with it. Repeat this every day.

13. Camphor

Camphor, when applied to the skin, is found to be extremely refreshing and cooling. Thus, it effectively controls the burning sensation.

How to use

Crush a tablet of camphor and make a fine powder. Mix this powder with a few drops of neem oil. Make a paste and apply on the affected part. After 5 minutes, rinse it off with the water. Repeat this every alternate day.

14. Rose water

Rose water is antibacterial and soothes the skin.

How to use

With the help of a cotton swab, apply rose water to the affected part. Repeat this several times in a day.

You can even use honey, oatmeal, coconut oil, cucumber, rose water and yogurt to get rid of the winter heat rash.

Besides the above-mentioned home remedies for heat rash also follow the instructions given below:

  1. Wear smooth and loose cotton clothes.
  2. Keep yourself hydrated.
  3. Dry yourself properly after bathing.
  4. Better avoid stepping out in the sun from 12 noon to 3 pm as the temperature is at peak during this time in the summers. Travel in shades as much as possible or carry an umbrella with you.
  5. Try to stay in air conditioned, under a fan or at least shade in summers.
  6. Never bath with warm water in summers.
  7. In winters try not to overdress.
  8. Even during the winters prefer bathing with slightly warm water.

These instruction are also to be followed to prevent sweat rash or prickly heat.

Home remedies for heat rash described in this article will relieve the symptoms and also fasten the healing.

Best cream for heat rash available in the market that is ‘Wheezal Calendula Nectar cream‘. It is as effective as home remedies. It not only treats prickly heat rash but also checks bad odor and provides a cooling and soothing effect. You may also use it for the athlete’s foot. It is easily available at Amazon

If even after using heat rash remedies you do not find any relief or your rash and itching gets worse or if in case there is fever or swollen lymph nodes do visit your doctor. this may be an indication of secondary infection that needs a proper treatment.

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Dr. Ritu Kumari Gupta

Professionally homeopathic physician and dietician Dr. Ritu Kumari Gupta is passionate about writing health and parenting blogs. She believes in a holistic approach to well-being and health.

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