It’s always summer somewhere, and that means lazy days outside, backyard barbecues and yes, sweat and prickly heat! Prickly heat or miliaria, best known as heat rash, is an annoying summer skin condition that affects children and adults alike. It is characterized by itchy, reddish skin, boils and rashes, that are made worse due to excessive sweating. Prickly heat can be quite painful and uncomfortable, especially for young children. It can also develop into secondary skin issues which are harder to get rid of. So let us study some simple home remedies and natural solutions for heat rash.
Heat rash or prickly heat is a skin rash that occurs due to clogged sweat glands. Since the sweat glands get blocked, the skin is unable to cool itself, erupting into tiny boils and pustules. These boils are extremely itchy, red and inflamed and are typically seen on the skin underneath the breasts, on the neck, in the armpits, groin and other folds of the skin. Here are typical symptoms of prickly heat or miliaria:
In most cases, the primary cause of heat rash is clogged sweat glands aggravated by bacteria, humidity and warmth.
Wash and bathe irritated skin frequently. Soak in cool water mixed with a bit of ground colloidal oatmeal. This helps soothe the rash and can heal inflammation. You can also add baking soda to the bath water to keep the skin free from pain and itchiness.
Avoid tight synthetic clothes. Instead, wear loose cotton clothes. This will absorb sweat and also allow air circulation. Parents must avoid swaddling their babies too tightly in warm clothes or blankets during the winter.
As much as possible, avoid going out in the heat. Stay indoors in a climate controlled environment. Running a fan or using air conditioning is recommended. If your job requires you to work or train in hot humid conditions, then take frequent breaks or better yet, avoid going out during peak sunny hours between 10 am and 2 pm. Take 3-4 cool baths and keep yourself hydrated.
Fluids, especially water, flush out toxins and also cool down the skin. So drink plenty of water. You can also eat fruits and vegetables containing more water, such as cucumbers, watermelon, etc. One needs to drink at least 8-10 glasses of water in the summer, and even more if you workout.
If the skin is extremely irritated, itchy and red, rub an ice cube over it. This will bring down inflammation and pain and soothe irritated skin. You can also apply a packet of frozen vegetables on the rash to stop itchiness and swelling.
If you have aloe vera plants in your garden, you can use it to get relief from heat rash. Simply cut open an Aloe leaf and apply its gel over the rash. This will soothe the skin quickly and bring down swelling, itching and pain. Reapply the gel after a few hours. You can also use store bought aloe vera products. However, please ensure that you only select a brand that is devoid of chemicals, parabens, dyes and harsh fragrance.
Calamine lotion is a gentle soothing remedy for heat rash in babies and adults. Liberally apply the lotion over the prickly heat rash to prevent itching, pain, redness as well as secondary infections.
The Sandalwood tree is native to South Asia and the precious wood contains healing and medicinal properties. The essential oil of sandalwood is used in perfumery and also in healing balms and ointments. Sandalwood powder and oil are readily available in the market these days. Make a paste of sandalwood powder by mixing a bit of cold milk or cool water with it. Apply the paste on to affected areas and allow it to dry naturally. The powder contains antiseptic properties which prevent infections, blisters and pus. It also cools down the skin and reduces swelling and itchiness.
If you suffer frequently from heat rashes, then there could be an issue with your sweat glands. There is a possibility that your sweat glands tend to clog up in summers. Dry body brushing can help in such a case. It is an ancient Ayurvedic practice that helps remove dead skin cells and also stimulates the lymphatic system to throw out toxic waste from the body. Use a natural boar bristle brush or a loofah to brush your entire body. Practice the brushing technique right before a shower; your skin should be dry while you brush. Shower as usual afterwards. Regular practice can help prevent the clogging of sweat glands.
Hexane free castor oil contains antibacterial properties which can soothe a heat rash and eliminate skin bacteria that cause rashes and skin issues. Apply a bit of the oil all over the rash. Wipe off the excess oil, leaving a fine layer over the rash. Leave it on overnight and wash off with warm water the next day.
Apply a few drops of diluted apple cider vinegar to the heat rash. This remedy might sting a bit but the anti-inflammatory action of vinegar will prevent heat rashes from worsening. You can also add a cup of apple cider vinegar to warm bath water and soak in it for 20 minutes.
Heat rashes are annoying and painful. We hope the above natural remedies help you get much needed relief.
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