By now, we all know that sunscreen is a year-round necessity – yes, the sun can affect you even in the cloudy fall or chilly winter. But summertime, of course, is when the sun is at its worse. And that means that sometimes, no matter how adamant we are with our sunscreen routine, the sun can get the better of us. Even if we’re escaping a burn, things like blisters, chafing, and heat rash can still happen when the temperature heats up.
Heat rashes, in particular, can make summer living a very uncomfortable nightmare. And a scary one, too, if you don’t know what you’re dealing with.
So instead of trying to self-diagnose with a million Google searches, check out the information below if you’re worried you may have a heat rash. We’re going to breakdown what heat rash is, what it looks like, how to treat it, and how to prevent it from happening again.
WHAT IS HEAT RASH
Heat rash is broadly characterized as red or pink bumps that can break out on the skin at any time of the year. Heat rash occurs when sweat blocks the glands of the skin, and it usually happens on parts of the skin covered by clothing.
This happens most frequently in children, but adults (especially those frequently expose to heat or prone to sweating, even from exercise), can also develop heat rash.
TYPES OF HEAT RASH
There are three types of heat rash: mild, moderate, and severe. Note that even the most severe of the three is not life-threatening! It should be checked out by your doctor/dermatologist, but please, don’t panic.
MILD: This is called miliaria crystallina and happens mainly in the sweat glands in the top layer of skin. It’s usually characterized by fluid-filled bumps that tend to break easily.
MODERATE: Miliaria rubra occurs a bit deeper in the skin. Also known as prickly heat, this kind of heat rash usually involves symptoms such as red bumps, itching, and an unbearable prickling sensation.
SEVERE: The worst heat rash you can have is called miliaria profunda, and it affects the deepest layer of the skin. This rash manifests as larger bumps in the skin, and can become irritated from friction caused by clothing. The tell-tale sign is firm, flesh-colored lesions that look similar to goosebumps.
HOW TO TREAT HEAT RASH
Although it might look scary at first, heat rash is actually very likely to go away on its own – there’s no terrible need for intense treatment.
We would suggest some soothing treatments like cool compresses, cold baths (avoid hot water at all costs), and calamine lotion. This will help lessen the irritation, swelling, and redness.
You can also wear loose, light clothes on the area to prevent further rubbing.
Don’t go crazy on topical creams, you’ll only be wasting of money on this kind of rash. However, if the rash persists for close to a week, see your doctor for further instructions.
HOW TO PREVENT HEAT RASH
Most heat rashes occur when you combine heat and humidity with heavy or tight clothing. Even sitting for too long (with a chair causing friction against your legs) can cause heat rash in high temps.
Being aware of these factors and wearing appropriate clothing in the extreme heat is truly the only way to avoid heat rash all together. Make sure your clothes are lightweight and loose, and try to get out of the sun and heat when you can.
Remember, if anything about your rash concerns you, consult your doctor or dermatologist right away. There is never any harm in getting a professional opinion!
But on the whole, heat rash is simply an uncomfortable symptom of summer that’s easy to prevent and simple to treat.