Heat rash is a general term used to describe skin problems associated with heat exposure. Excessive sweating leads to clogged pores, which is the most common cause of heat rash. Once the pores are clogged they stop excreting sweat, leading to a flare up. Heat rash occurs most frequently during the summer and in hot humid climates. Most of the time the condition fades on its own, but severe rashes right might require medical attention.
Heat rash is rarely serious, but there are situations when it might be a concern. When babies and young children develop heat rash, parents should determine the cause and use gentle remedies to calm the rash. People who are bedridden should also find ways to alleviate the discomfort as soon as possible. Heat rash is a common problem for soldiers fighting in warm climates, overweight people, and those suffering from decreased sweating.
Medicinal Heat Rash Treatment
Allopathic medical treatments for heat rash are usually only necessary in very severe cases or when a person’s immune system or pain tolerance is otherwise decreased. Topical cortisone creams are one of the most common methods of dealing with heat rash. It is commonly used for itching skin, but also helps when skin is sore or inflamed. Steroid creams are also effective, but a prescription is needed and people who prefer to use natural remedies will want to avoid products containing steroids. Doctors might also prescribe oral or topical antibiotics, or oral antihistamines. These remedies are often a solution for the side effects of heat rash including bacterial infections, itching, or eczema.
Sometimes treating the rash itself is unnecessary. There are things you can do to ease the inflammation and reduce the discomfort instead of targeting the rash with medication. Drink plenty of water and eat foods high in water content during an outbreak. Wear loose fitting clothes made of breathable, natural fabrics such as cotton. Spend time in air conditioning and avoid unnecessary activity.
Natural Heat Rash Treatment
Make sure the affected area gets as much air as possible and keep the rash cool and dry. As soon as you notice reddening or discomfort, wash the area with a gentle cleanser free of soap and fragrance. After showering, allow skin to air dry and consider applying cornstarch or fragrance-free baby powder to the area. Do not apply creams or lotions because the added moisture and chemicals in the lotion aggravate the problem. Showering and repeating these steps several times each day might be necessary until the rash has cleared.
Skin to skin contact often triggers heat rash. Common outbreak areas include beneath the breast, under the armpits, between the thighs, and under the belly. Protecting skin from contact helps avoid a breakout and reduces the length of an outbreak. A washcloth offers a barrier of terry cloth or cotton, and provides relief from irritation and discomfort.
Essential oils are another effective option for treating heat rash. The oils have anti-inflammatory properties and help relieve the itching associated with skin irritation. Adding oil to bath water or applying a small amount to the skin and letting it air dry are two effective methods for using essential oils as heat rash treatment. The best oils to use include peppermint, eucalyptus, chamomile, and lavender.
In rare instances, heat rash develops into a condition serious enough to seek emergency medical attention. This is usually the result of an infection associated with an untreated rash. If your heat rash is accompanied by nausea, fever, headaches, dizziness, or vomiting, contact your doctor immediately.