Heat Rash: What It Is and How to Care for It
When most people hear red summer skin, many think of sunburn. However, there is another common skin irritant that rears its head when temperatures rise.
What it is and how we get it
Heat rash is different from sunburn; a sunburn is a type of actual skin damage, whereas heat rash is a type of skin irritation. Heat rash that is typically found in places where there is friction from our clothes on our skin, and where sweat gathers (for example our armpits, neck, behind bent knees and in elbow creases, and around the groin area). The rash shows itself in a way common to most other rashes, usually appearing as itchy bumps and redness. Anyone can get heat rash, but it tends to develop most easily on babies and others with sensitive skin.
Ways to take care of it
If you experience heat rash, sweating in the sun may not be the best option. Instead, here are some ways to care for it:
- Wear loose and light clothing. Wearing clothing that breathes and wicks away sweat is preferable, so sweat doesn’t build up and irritate your skin.
- Keep the area cool and dry. Stay indoors for a few days if you need to, so you aren’t sweating or in the heat.
- Use ice packs or other cold compresses on the affected area to get some relief.
- Put the affected area in front of an air conditioner.
- Take an oatmeal bath to help relieve the itchiness.
- Spread aloe vera on it to soothe the rash.
How to prevent it
The best way to not experience something is to prevent it! Here are some ways to prevent developing heat rash:
- Wear loose and light clothing (see above).
- Keep from spending excessive time in the heat, where one is more likely to sweat and develop the rash.
If the rash doesn’t clear up and continues to be an irritation, it might be worth seeing a doctor -- they might prescribe something a little stronger to take care of the rash, or if it persists it could be a more serious rash from another source. Heat rash is an annoyance and might be inconvenient, but it isn’t typically a cause for concern. Stay cool and take precautions, and enjoy the summer!