Prickly heat is a condition that also goes by the name heat rash and, in medical terminology, miliaria. This happens when cells of the skin get damaged by heat that causes the sweat glands to plug up. This results in the formation of little red bumps that end up bursting, and a prickly itch. Prickly heat usually lasts a few days, but there are ways to speed up the healing process.
- Skill level:
No sweat. A big reason for prickly heat is being in hot and humid weather and sweating excessively. This can cause breakouts in skin-fold areas like the back of the knees and the inside of the elbows, and it can also appear on the neck and face. To avoid this from happening, avoid rigorous activities in warm weather.
Keep cool. Stay in areas that are cool and have fresh air flow. Also wear loosefitting clothes that are breathable, like cotton fabrics. This will not rub against the rash or trap heat, which can exacerbate the irritation.
Apply skin lotion to help control the itch. Choose lotion without oil, which can slow the healing process. Calamine lotion is a good choice.
Dust yourself off. Take two to three showers with cool water throughout the day. After you finish drying off, dust all the affected areas with a non-perfumed talcum powder. You can also apply an antiperspirant to reduce sweating.
See your doctor. If your prickly heat is bad enough, she can prescribe a topical steroid cream or antibiotic formula to stop bacteria from causing more irritation.
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