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Heat Rash: Treatment, Causes & How To Prevent?

Heat Rash

What Is Heat Rash?

Heat rash, often termed as prickly heat, is a skin condition where the skin’s sweat glands are blocked. The sweat produced by sweat glands cannot make its way out to the surface of the skin to evaporate. As a result, the body is not able to maintain its temperature leading to prevention in perspiration.  It especially occurs during hot and humid weather.

Heat Rash On Baby Face

Newborns have underdeveloped skin pores. Hence, they are more prone to getting rashes. It usually develops when a baby’s skin is too hot and sweat is stuck in baby’s pores. This may happen in humid weather or in case the baby is wearing many layers of clothing, Babies have soft and delicate skin. That is the reason their skin can easily break out to rashes. Patches of dry, red skin and general fussiness are common symptoms of heat rashes in babies. Babies are more likely to develop rashes on chest, neck, armpits and nappy area because these areas are least air circulated and produce more sweat. However, heat rash is a different skin condition from eczema or cradle cap.

Heat Rash In Adults

Other than babies, elders and obese individuals are likely to suffer the heat rash condition because of less mobility and larger skin to skin contact areas. The adults who do intense workout usually suffer heat rash if clothing does not allow air circulation. The symptoms are the same for everyone i.e. tiny reddish beads like blisters and itchy, sore patches of skin.

Heat Rash Causes

As the sweat ducts get clogged, sweat gets trapped beneath the skin. So, instead of getting evaporated, it causes skin inflammation. This prickly rash is termed as heat rash. There can be several reasons of prickly heat, few of them are the following:

  • Tropical climate: Weather conditions vary much throughout the continental USA. The hot and humid summers can be a leading reason of increasing cases of heat rash.
  • Overheating: One should not dress in layers or too warmly. Sleeping in a blanket in humid weather can be a reason for this.
  • Prolonged inactivity: Some people take bed rest due to their medical condition, it may cause bed sores and rashes. Fever may aggravate the situation.

Heat Rash Symptoms

Depending upon the heat rash severity, the symptoms range from blisters on the skin surface to red irritable lumps. The mildest form of heat rash causes the skin to break out in clear water-like-fluid filled blisters. Some lumps may feel intensely itchy. The severe form may become inflamed and pus-filled.

Heat Rash Treatment

Heat rash usually clears on its own. One can heal it by cooling the skin and avoiding unnecessary exposure to heat and humidity. Other than cooling, health care professionals are. If the affected spots inflame and appear dark reddish, which is rarely a case, it may be potentially dangerous. In severe cases, prolonged prevention of perspiration may lead to other health concerns like heat stroke or heat cramps.

DO NOT use any other moisturizing lotion or petroleum jelly as it may aggravate the itchiness by more clogging the pores. DO NOT scratch the skin or it may become infected,

Home Remedies For Heat Rash

Home Remedies For Heat Rash
Home Remedies For Heat Rash

Usually, old school methods and home remedies are recommended to treat heat rash. Some tried and tested remedies by the majority is listed below:

  1. Use organic Aloe Vera gel: Use fresh Aloe Vera gel, directly cut from the plant and apply topically. Aloe Vera gel is the best home remedy for heat rash.
  2. Cooldown body: Get a soothing bath with non-drying soap to lower down the temperature of the body. Let yourself air dry and do not use a towel. Later, keep the affected area dry.
  3. Cold compress the affected spots: For babies, give them a sponge bath using a wet washcloth. For adults, cool compress the itchy patches of skin.
  4. Use calamine lotion: One may get calamine lotion over the counter and apply with cotton balls to soothe the rashes.

How To Prevent Heat Rash

As the summer gets intense and humidity increases, one should take following preventive measures to avoid any uncomfortable skin conditions:

  • Stay in airy, less humid and shady places.
  • Keep yourself hydrated.
  • Do not use tight clothing; especially for areas which do not get much air ventilation e.g. thigh and groin area, armpits, etc. Instead, prefer loose fitting clothing.
  • Use breathable fabric like organic cotton so that air ventilation becomes feasible.
  • Adjust the temperature at home/ workplace using an air conditioner, fan or probably an extra fan.
  • Do not overdo any exercise and physical activity during humid days.
  • If someone has sensitive skin history, its best to avoid soaps. Use mild cleansers instead as these tend to be nondrying.
  • Avoid heavier creams and lotions as they can clog the pores of the skin.


Whenever the sweat glands are not able to let the produced sweat evaporate, there is a hindrance in perspiration which is a natural cooling mechanism for the human body. It causes heat rashes, which is also known as prickly heat. Home remedies and preventive measures to minimize the risk of any heat-related health concern. Babies and the elderly are more likely to suffer. The condition is usually common in hot and humid weather. It usually fades out on its own. However, if in doubt about the diagnosis, it is best to visit health care professional or call health care helpline of your area.

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