What is Prickly Heat?The rising temperatures bring in a number of skin-related ailments that can be quite irksome. One such, fairly common, condition is prickly heat, also referred to as heat rash or sweat rash.
Clinically known as miliaria, sweat rashes can appear anywhere on your body. While it is most commonly seen as an underarm sweat rash, it may also manifest around the groin, feet, back, back of the neck, hands, chest, and abdomen. In some severe cases of prickly heat, a person may also see rashes on their face and neck. This condition affects adults and infants alike.
Common Causes for Prickly HeatThe most common cause of a heat rash is hot and humid weather that leads to excessive sweating and blocked eccrine sweat glands (major sweat glands in the human body). Once blocked, the sweat from these glands seeps out onto a person’s skin and leads to a sweat rash. Other causes include underdeveloped sweat glands - a common cause for this kind of rash in babies - and being overweight.
While prickly heat normally resolves on its own, one of the best ways to help relieve its symptoms is to cool your body down, by either staying in a cold room, taking a refreshing shower or applying a salve on the affected area.
Top 7 Home Remedies for Prickly HeatBeing that a summer rash is quite common, there are a number of ways to help treat the symptoms of prickly heat. But while those methods may be easier, they may not be as helpful in relieving the symptoms of the condition quickly. So, to help you out, here are somesummer rash home remedies for effective relief:
- Multani Mitti and Rose Water: Also known as Fuller’s Earth, multani mitti has been used as a common home remedy for a number of skin-related ailments. This is because fuller’s earth has many properties that not only soothes but also disinfects the skin. Apart from that, it also helps cool down the area and helps unclog pores, relieving the symptoms of prickly heat. Take two to three spoons of multani mitti and add some rose water to it, so as to make a paste. Apply this on the affected area and allow it to dry. Once dried, you can wash it off with some cold water. Using this remedy twice or thrice a day can help reduce the severity if you have a heat rash.
- Sandal Wood Powder and Rose Water: This mixture is extremely soothing for the skin and is a great sweat rash treatment. Both sandalwood and rose water have soothing properties that help relieve the burning and pricking sensation of prickly heat. Apart from that, the antibacterial properties of sandalwood ward off infection in the area. All you need to do is take a spoon full of sandalwood powder and mix it with some rose water to make a paste. Apply this paste on the affected area and allow it to dry. Once dry, wash off the paste with cold water. Using this remedy once every day for a week can help cure prickly heat naturally.
- Oatmeal: Another great remedy for prickly heat, oatmeal has very potent anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce the discomfort associated with a sweat rash. Apart from that, it also has soothing properties that reduce the sensation of itching and irritation associated with a heat rash.
In order to use this remedy, add one cup of finely ground oatmeal to a bathtub of cold water. Stir the water well until it turns milky white in color. Soak in the tub for about 20 to 30 minutes and then pat yourself dry with a soft cloth or towel. Doing this once or twice every day is extremely effective in relieving the symptoms of a heat rash.
- Baking Soda: A great exfoliating agent, baking soda helps unclog your pores that in turn reduces inflammation, itching and irritation. It can also be used as a dusting powder to help absorb excess sweat and reduce the irritation caused due to a sweat rash.
To use this remedy, add a tablespoon of baking soda to one cup of cold water. Now, dip a piece of cloth in the solution and wring out the excess water. Place the cloth on the affected area for about ten minutes for relief. Doing this four to five times a day can bring great relief.
- Cold Compress: Applying an ice pack or cold compress to the affected area helps provide immediate relief and prevents the sweat rash from spreading to other parts on your body. The cold compress also helps relieve itching, reduces inflammation and lowers sensation on your skin – reducing that pricking sensation. All you have to do is wrap a few ice cubes in a piece of soft cloth and gently apply it to the area. Alternatively, you could also dip a cloth in some cold water and place it on your skin for immediate relief. Make sure you do not keep the cold cloth or ice in contact with your skin for more than 10 to 15 minutes at a time. Use this remedy twice a day for effective relief.
- Cornstarch: This remedy works the same way as the baking soda one. Not only does it help unclog the pores and relieve the symptoms of prickly heat, but it also helps calm irritated and inflamed skin, preventing the further spread of prickly heat. To use this remedy, take two spoons of cornstarch and add some water to it, to make a paste. Now apply this paste on the affected area and allow it to dry. Once it is dry, splash some cold water on the dried cornstarch and wash away the pack.
- Potato: A cooled slice of potato, is also a great remedy for a heat rash. Potato has soothing properties for the skin and helps relieve the inflammation caused due to a heat rash. Cooled potato slices help cool the skin and prevent the further spread of the sweat rash. To use this remedy, take a cooled slice of potato and rub it over the affected area. Doing this two to three times a day can help reduce the symptoms of prickly heat to a great extent.
Heat Rash in BabiesBabies or infants are especially prone to a heat rash or sweat rash as their sweat glands and ducts are not fully developed, making it extremely easy for them to get clogged – thereby leading to prickly heat. While you can use the same home remedies to get rid of a sweat rash in babies, it is always best to consult your pediatrician as to the best course of action.
Here’s how you can prevent the onset of prickly heat:
- Wear loose and comfortable clothing that does not rub against your skin.
- Avoid using cream or oil based creams and lotions as they can clog your pores and lead to prickly heat.
- As far as possible, try to avoid exposure to heat and humidity.
- Take a bath every day and, if possible, twice a day.
- If you are prone to the condition, make sure you use a medicated powder to prevent its onset.
- Drink plenty of water and stay hydrated.