How to Avoid Heat Rash During the Summer

 How to Avoid Heat Rash During the Summer

This summer, vow to protect your skin from both the sun’s harmful rays and overheating. A heat rash can be both uncomfortable and irritating, so take steps to avoid discomfort and skin irritation.

What is Heat Rash?

Heat rash is defined as a skin condition where blocked pores and sweat ducts trap perspiration under the skin. Excessive sweating can lead to clogged pores so when sweat is trapped in clogged pores, it can build up and form blisters or deeper red marks.

Heat rash is also known as miliaria and prickly heat. While heat rash is often associated with babies, it can affect anyone at any age, mostly appearing in the location of various sweat glands. In adults, heat rash usually shows up in skin creases like the armpits, elbows, or groin.

Tiers of Heat Rash

  1. The least severe form of heat rash is referred to as miliaria crystallina, which forms in the outermost layer of skin. These blocked sweat ducts appear as clear, easily broken blisters and bumps on the skin.
  2. The next tier of heat rash is called miliaria rubra. The symptoms appear similar to that of miliaria crystallina, but are more red and do not break quite as easily. Irritation may be more severe with miliaria rubra. Upon the release of the built-up sweat, your skin can feel bristly and irritated, giving this form of heat rash the nickname ‘prickly heat.’
  3. If the heat rash goes unnoticed or untreated it can form inflamed, pus-filled blisters where the skin is impacted. This level of the condition is called miliaria pustulosa. As with the previous levels, symptoms of irritation become more intense.
  4. The final, most rare form of heat rash is called miliaria profunda. With this condition, sweat glands are backed up in a deeper layer of the skin, called the dermis. When the sweat leaks into the skin, it forms flesh-colored marks that look like goosebumps. With this type of heat rash, sweat does not easily release from the rash.

How to Treat and Avoid Heat Rash

If you’re experiencing mild heat rash, avoiding heat and cooling your skin might be all the treatment you need. Apply ice packs and stay in air-conditioned rooms while allowing your heat rash to go away on its own. If you’re frequently getting mild heat rash, try wearing loose-fitting athletic clothes that wick sweat. This practice will help keep a future heat rash from forming. Take good care of your skin, making sure to avoid soaps and other skin products that might clog your pores. Applying cold compresses to the affected skin and taking cool showers will help you avoid developing heat rash again. Avoid physical activity when you have heat rash, as further sweating will worsen your symptoms.

Even if you haven’t experienced heat rash, exercising these practices this summer will ensure you won’t develop potentially harmful rash.

If your heat rash does not respond to at-home treatments and precautions, there are plenty of effective treatments that your dermatologist can prescribe in order to alleviate your symptoms. Your dermatologist will not need to perform any tests to determine if you have heat rash. Dermatologists can diagnose you with heat rash simply by looking at the affected skin. Generally, corticosteroid cream will be prescribed for severe heat rash and works effectively to treat heat rash. If your skin developed a secondary infection from open sores caused by heat rash, you will be prescribed an antibiotic ointment or medication.

If you think you’re suffering from heat rash, no matter how severe, consulting your local New England dermatologist is important. Don’t hesitate to relieve those prickly symptoms and get back to enjoying your summer!

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