The arrival of the warmer weather usually means barbeques in the garden and sipping ice-cold drinks under a parasol, but it’s important to not forget to protect our skin.
Taking extra precautions to look after your skin in the warmer summer months can help to prevent conditions, such as heat rash, from disrupting your outdoor activities.
What causes heat rash and how long does it last?
Your skin is your first line of defence and protects you from the outside world. It also helps regulate the temperature inside your body by producing sweat. In the warmer months of the year, your body will produce more sweat as a method of self-cooling.
- Heat rash, also known as prickly heat, is usually caused by excessive sweating. Whereby the sweat glands get blocked and the trapped sweat leads to a developing rash.
- Although heat rash is most typically caused by excessive heat and sweating, this does not prevent it from occurring throughout the colder months. As people tend to layer up to keep warm, sweat can often become trapped and create a heat rash.
- Anybody can experience heat rash and it will usually last no longer than two to three days with treatment.
What does heat rash look like?
Usually occurring on the back, neck or chest, heat rash will often look like tiny pink bumps or pinpoint-sized water blisters. There are three different types of heat rash that can all range in severity and appearance:
- Miliaria Rubra is the most common form of heat rash for adults which usually creates a little more discomfort as it occurs deeper in the skin. This type of rash will often become red and inflamed with red bumps on the skin and an itchy prickly sensation. That is why this form of heat rash is more commonly referred to as “prickly heat”.
- Miliaria Crystallina is the most common form of heat rash for babies which forms small clear bumps on the skin that often burst. However, this form of heat rash doesn’t usually itch and shouldn’t be painful.
- The third type of heat rash is called Miliaria Profunda. Usually presenting as larger, tough, flesh-coloured bumps, it is more commonly presented in adult males. This form of heat rash usually occurs from excessive exercise and can lead to damage to the deeper layers of skin.
How can you prevent heat rashes?
Wear loose-fitting cotton clothing
In warmer climates, where your skin will be more prone to sweating, it’s important to stay cool and wear loose-fitting cotton clothing. Cotton is a soft, lightweight and breathable material that allows heat to escape and keep your body temperature cool. To find out more about how to dress for hot weather, check out our blog post here.
Switch up your bedding
Similarly, sleeping in a warm environment can often be quite uncomfortable. A lightweight cotton bedding will, once again, allow heat to escape easily and prevent overheating.
Stay hydrated and avoid direct sunlight
Staying hydrated in a hot climate by drinking plenty of fluids will allow the body to replenish the fluids lost by excessive sweating. Additionally, avoiding direct sunlight for long periods of time and seeking out air-conditioned areas or shaded will help to regulate body temperature and not lead to heat exhaustion.
Treatment for heat rashes
To treat heat rash effectively it’s important to keep the skin cool and dress in loose, lightweight clothing that keeps moisture away from your skin.
There are some ways to get some quick relief for heat rash:
- Keeping the skin cool with cold compresses or ice packs
- Staying out of the sun by seeking shaded areas
- Bathing in cold water will allow the skin to cool down, but be sure to allow your skin to air dry to avoid further irritation.
To help treat heat rash quicker you can use topical treatments in combination with previous tips. A pharmacist will be able to advise the best treatment for your heat rash depending on which type you have.
The active ingredient in Eurax 10% cream, Crotamiton, relieves itching and soothes the skin when affected by skin conditions such as heat rash.
- Eurax 10% Cream can be applied directly to the affected area 2-3 times a day for fast-acting and long-lasting relief, that lasts up to 10 hours, from the symptoms of heat rash such as itchiness.
- When applying Eurax to the affected area, ensure any other ointment or moisturiser has been cleaned off before application and the skin is dry.
- Eurax cream can be used in children. However, for children under 3 years of age usage should only be used under medical supervision and should not be applied more than once a day.