How to recognize (and relieve) heat rash

Dry season is not easy for the skin: you can get sunburned, you tend to be eaten by mosquitoes and, if the temperature is really scorching, you can even develop heat rash. While heat rash is often mild, that doesn’t mean it isn’t painful or that its presence on your skin isn’t alarming.

The term “heat rash” is an umbrella term for a condition called miliary rash, which is a “rash that develops after excessive heat.” When you are too hot and your skin is covered with clothes or heavy creams, the sweat cannot leave your skin which causes a rash. Babies tend to have miliary rashes often because their sweat ducts are not yet developed and sweat can easily get trapped under their skin.

According to the Mayo Clinic, you’re more likely to develop heat rash on humid days, if you exercise intensely, or if you wear too much clothing in a particularly hot environment. And you don’t have to be outside in direct sunlight to get heat rash. “It could be from exposure to UV lights indoors, or just a very hot and humid environment, and even strenuous activity that makes you sweat profusely.”

What does a miliary eruption look like?

Heat rash usually shows up on the torso, chest, or arms. There are three types of miliary eruptions, the most common being crystalline miliaria. It may look like small, clear to white water blisters on your skin, she says. The bubbles can also look like tiny water droplets. These tiny blisters are filled with sweat that can’t get out through the pores on the top of the skin and break very easily.” Most people only have rashes and no other symptoms.

The most serious type of heat rash is called miliaria rubra, or “stinging heat.” This type of rash manifests itself in the same way as other heat rashes, but it technically sits a bit lower in the epidermis. As the name suggests, one may feel itchy or tingling sensations on the skin, and have red bumps. “The rash itself is uncomfortable and associated with a stinging or stinging sensation that is tolerable, much like sunburn.”

In extreme cases, sweat can be trapped in the dermis, the layer below the epidermis, causing milaria profunda. “When sweat gets trapped in the dermis, people develop large, firm, skin-colored nodules under the skin, and sometimes severe fatigue.” It might sound scary, but she says it takes hours of physical activity in the heat to develop this type of rash.

How to treat heat rash?

The good news is that almost all miliary rashes go away on their own once you’re in a cool place. “However, if the rash is continually exposed to sweat and heat, it may persist and you may develop infection and damage to the sweat ducts.” You will need to see your doctor to get a proper one. Antibiotic or steroid cream to make it go away.

Is there a home remedy for heat rashes?

If you come home after a long day at the beach or take off your leggings after an exercise session and notice heat rash, don’t panic, although it might seem scary at the time. Taking a cool shower is usually helpful. It is also advisable to wear loose clothing, limit physical activity and not expose yourself to heat. In other words: stay cool.

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