Heat Rash: What is it and How to Treat it? - AlQudrahMC

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Heat Rash: What is it and How to Treat it?

Heat Rash: What is it and How to Treat it?

by Zahra Ijaz · May 12, 2022

If you think that Heat Rash only occurs in babes, then think again.

Heat rash or prickly heat rash and miliaria is not just for babies but also affects adults as well.

This occurs especially in hot, humid climates. Thus, if you are living in such conditions, you need to take extra care of your skin.
How? Keep on reading.


Heat Rash: Symptoms and Causes

Heat Rash occurs when sweat gets trapped in the skin.
Some of the common symptoms can range from small blisters to deep, inflamed lumps.
However, some forms of heat rash can be very itchy.
It is important to note that heat rash often goes away once your skin cools down. While the severe form of it may need treatment from a health care provider.
Let’s learn more about it in detail.

heat rash 1

Heat rash is also known as prickly heat, summer rash, or wildfire rash. Moreover, it is common and can also be comfortable.

The medical term for heat rash is Miliaria.

It occurs when sweat becomes trapped due to blockage in swat glands in the deeper layers of your skin.

Inflammation, redness, and blisters-like lesions are results of heat rash.

In some cases, however, an infection can also develop.

In case you are among people overweight or obese, and people who sweat easily are more likely to get prickly heat.

Furthermore, babies and children are more prone to it as their sweat glands are still developing.

Symptoms of Heat Rash

Common symptoms of a heat rash are:

  • small bumps or spots, i.e. papules
  • an itching or prickling sensation
  • mild swelling

However, on white skin, the spots are red.

On the other hand, if you have darker skin, they can be hard to see. But your doctor will use dermoscopy.

It is a kind of lighted microscope they will use for examining your skin.

Under this device, the spots may show up as white globules under the skin with darker halos surrounding them.

Moreover, heat rash often affects the areas where sweating is more likely to occur.

These are your face, neck, under the breasts, and under the scrotum.

Furthermore, it can also appear in the skin folds and areas where your skin rubs against clothing.

This includes your back, chest, and stomach.

In case bacteria enters the plugged sweat glands, it can lead to inflammation and infection.

Causes of Heat Rash

Heat rash tends to occur when the pores on your skin become clogged and cannot expel sweat.

This is more likely to happen in warmer months or climates, or after intense exercise.

Moreover, wearing certain types of clothing can trap sweat. This also leads to heat rash.

Using thick lotions and creams can also lead to heat rash.

However, it is also possible to get heat rash in cooler temperatures if you wear clothes or sleep under covers that lead to overheating.


It is important to note that babies are more likely to develop heat rash as their pores are underdeveloped

Friction on the surface of your skin often causes heat rash, and adults often develop them on the parts of the body that rub together.

This includes parts of your baby like between your inner thighs, or under your arms.

On the other hand, babies often develop heat rash on their necks, however, can also develop in skin folds like those of armpits, elbows, and thighs.



Heat Rash: Risk Factors, Complications, and More

Understanding the risk factors that lead to the development of skin rash can help you to treat and even prevent it.
Moreover, they can also help to avoid leading to certain complications.
In case, you do develop complications, you should seek medical attention or consult your doctor as soon as you can.
Keep on reading.

heat rash 2

Risk Factors of Heat Rash

Having certain health problems or engaging in certain lifestyle choices can increase your risk of developing heat rash.

These include the following:

You are more likely to develop this rash if you are prone to intense sweating.

In case you regularly engage in high-intensity physical activity.

Moreover, if you are takings drugs that trigger sweating like:

  • bethanechol
  • clonidine
  • neostigmine

A genetic disorder like Morvan Syndrome can increase your risk of developing this rash.

It is a condition that causes excessive sweating.

Furthermore, type 1 pseudohypoaldosteronism, a condition that causes a loss of sodium through sweat glands that has some links to heat rash can increase your risk.

Potential Complications

Heat rash often heals without scarring.

Moreover, if you are among people with brown or black skin, you are more likely at risk of spots of skin that can get lighter or darker.

This occurs in response to inflammatory skin conditions or postinflammatory hyperpigmentation or hyperpigmentation.

However, these changes often tend to go away within weeks or months.

It is important to note that a common complication of such rah is infection with bacteria, which can cause inflamed and itchy pustules.

What do they look Like?

There are different types of heat rash and can range in severity.

However, they all look a little different.

Miliaria Crystallina
This is one of the most common and mildest forms of heat rash.

In case you have miliaria crystallina, you will notice small clear or white bumps filled with fluid on the surface of the skin

Contrary to popular belief, this type of heat rash does not itch and should not be painful.

Furthermore, it is more common in young infants than in adults.

Miliaria Rubra
This type of ‘prickly heat’ tends to be more common in adults than in children and babies.
It is also known to cause more discomfort than miliaria crystalline as it occurs deeper in the outer layer of your skin.

what it looks like

Also, it occurs in hot and humid conditions and can cause the following:

  • itchy or prickly sensations
  • red bumps on your skin
  • a lack of sweat in the affected area
  • inflammation and soreness of the skin as your body cannot release sweat through the surface

it is important to note that bumps that appear due to miliaria rubra can, in some cases, progress and fill with pus.

When this occurs, your doctor may refer to the condition as miliaria pustulosa.

Miliaria Profunda
Miliaria Profound is the least common form of heat rash and can also recur often and become chronic, or long-term.

Moreover, this form of heat rash tends to occur in the dermis, which is the deeper layer of your skin.

Additionally, miliaria profunda often occurs in adults after a period of physical activity that produces sweat.

In case you have this condition, you will notice large, tough, flesh-colored bumps on your skin.

As heat rash prevents sweat from leaving your skin, it can also lead to nausea and dizziness.


Diagnosis, Treatment, and More

It is important to note that you do not need tests to diagnose a heat rash. In most cases, your healthcare provider is able to diagnose it by examining your skin. Moreover, a condition that looks like heat rash is transient neonatal pustular melanosis, TNMP which often affects newborns with brown or black skin. However, it is harmless and clear ups in a couple of days with treatment.

heat rash 3

When to See a Doctor?

It is important to note that heat rashes often disappear without treatment.

However, make sure to seek medical advice or see a healthcare provider it:

  • the rash persists or becomes more severe
  • there are signs of infection like open blisters or pustular lesions
  • there are signs of heat exhaustion and an inability to sweat
  • occurrence of other symptoms like fever

A number of illnesses can cause rashes, which can also look just like heat rash.

Your doctor can determine the underlying cause of it.

Diagnosing Heat Rash

In most cases, heat rashes are not dangerous, however, when the symptoms last longer than a few days or there are signs of infection, see a health care provider.

They will examine the rash, and also perform a dermoscopy for closer inspection.

If necessary, they also take a skin punch biopsy or use imaging technology to identify the cause of it.

Moreover, skin changes are a common symptom of a number of conditions.

Also, heat rash can also resemble other health issues like:

  • viral infections like chickenpox or measles
  • bacterial infections like impetigo
  • hives that occur due to an allergic reaction
  • fungal skin infections like candidiasis
  • insect bites
  • folliculitis that occurs due to a blockage of hair follicles
  • acute HIV
  • a response to HIV treatment

In case any of the following symptoms occur, they may indicate that the cause rash is more serious:

A fever, cough, runny nose, fatigue, enlarged lymph nodes, a muscle aches.

Treatment Options

Heat rash often resolves without any medical intervention or treatment in a few days.

However, if the discomfort becomes too severe, you can try methods at home that can help soothe itching and even reduce skin temperature.

Some medicines/creams you can buy to manage heat rash are:

  • over the counter, OTC hydrocortisone cream that you will have to apply 1 to 2 times a day to help soothe itching
  • OTC antihistamines to take an affect itching


In case of severe heat rash, your healthcare provider can prescribe medications.

These can help to relieve pain and discomfort.

Moreover, the most severe form of heat rash has the potential to develop into a secondary infection

Therefore, notify your healthcare provider if you notice symptoms of infections.

In case it becomes infected, your doctor will prescribe oral or topical antibiotics.

Home Remedies for Heat Rash

Other than OTC medications and Creams, you can try a number of herbal or non-medicinal remedies that can help soothe the redness and itching.

These are as follows:
Apply a Cold Compress Using an ice pack or chilled cloth can help to bring down redness, swelling, and itching.

However, if you are using an ice pack, make sure to wrap it in a towel or old t-shirt as you do not want to experience freezer burn.

Take a Low-Temperature Bath A cold or lukewarm shower can help to reduce the temperature of your skin and soothe itching.

Moreover, it may also help to try an exfoliant to help open the affected pores.

Keep Indoor Temperatures Cool You can use a fan or air conditioning to cool down your room.

However, if you are on bed rest, make sure to move around to let air circulate through your body.

Stick with loose, Cotton Clothing This will allow the air to move around your body and keep it cool.

Also, choosing lightweight, breathable, natural fabrics rather than synthetic ones can help to avoid irritation and stay comfortable.

home remedies

Take a Colloidal Oatmeal Bath According to a study on colloidal oatmeal extract suggests that the possible anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects of oats can help as they have itch-soothing effects.

Using Pine Tar Used by people to manage skin conditions for thousands of years.

You can apply pine tar to itchy or inflamed areas to reduce itching and inflammation, according to a study.

Aloe Vera Gel Aloe vera is another well-established topical remedy for skin ailments.

It can help soothe your itchy skin.

Sandalwood with Water According to an older study, sandalwood, a herb common to Ayurvedic traditional medicine can help to reduce inflammation across a number of skin conditions.

Prevention Tips

In order to prevent heat rash, you can follow the tips below:

Avoid wearing tight clothing that does not allow your skin to breathe.

Moreover, moisture-wicking fabrics can help to prevent sweat buildup on the skin.

Do not use thick lotions or creams that can clog your pores.

Try not to become overheated, especially in warmer months.

Make sure to seek out air-conditioning or carry a handheld fan.

You can also use a soap that will not dry your skin and does not have fragrances or dyes.

Wrapping it Up

Heat rash can cause minor discomfort, spots, itching, and swelling, however, often resolves itself in a matter of a few days. There are different types of it that look slightly different than one another.

You can prevent them by staying cool in warmer climates, wearing loose clothing, and avoiding thick creams. Make sure to talk to your doctor if you believe you may need something more serious or in case you have a rash that frequently recurs.

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