Heat Rash



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What Is Heat Rash

Heat Rash, also referred to as Miliaria, affects infants, children, and adults, especially during hot and humid weather.  It is a skin condition that can be uncomfortable, concerning, and painful, depending on the severity of the rash.  The skin is the body's protective barrier from pathogens, infection, chemicals and ultraviolet light.  It also helps to regulate the body's temperature, and one of the ways it does that is by cooling off from sweating.  Sweat glands, which are regulated by temperature control centers in the brain, are located under the dermis.  These glands produce sweat, which is brought to the surface via a duct.  Heat Rash occurs when sweat ducts become blocked, resulting in a mild inflammation or a rash.  

Signs Of Heat Rash

Adults who develop Heat Rash most commonly experience it in folds, or where clothing causes friction.  Infants typically experience the rash on the neck, shoulders, and chest, but it is possible for it to show up in elbow creases, the groin, and armpits.  The most common symptoms are red bumps on the skin accompanied by an itchy or prickly feeling.  It is similar to the feeling of a sunburn.  Other symptoms can include:

  • Small white/clear bumps on the skin (also known as Miliaria crystallina)
  • Itchy or prickly skin
  • A lack of sweat in the affected area
  • Inflammation or soreness of skin (this is because the body cannot release sweat through the skin's surface)
  • Large flesh-colored bumps (also known as Miliaria profunda, which is the least common form of Heat Rash)
What Causes Heat Rash

The reason that Heat Rash occurs is because the skin's sweat glands become blocked, meaning that the sweat cannot get to the skin's surface to evaporate.  Instead of evaporating, the sweat is trapped beneath the skin, causing the inflammation and rash.  Why sweat ducts become blocked remains unknown, but the following factors may play a role: 

  • Tropical climates (humid and hot weather can cause Heat Rash)
  • Immature sweat ducts (the sweat ducts in infants are not fully developed, so they can rupture easily and trap sweat beneath the skin)
  • Prolonged bed rest (for people who are confined to their beds for long periods of time)
  • Physical activity (intense exercise can cause excessive sweating and lead to Heat Rash)
  • Tight clothing that irritates the skin

Dherbs Approach...adjusting your diet is always key!

Natural Remedies
  • If the weather is hot and humid, steer clear of tight clothing so that the body can remain cool.  It is beneficial to wear light clothing that is loose-fitting.  Ideally, wear clothing that is 100% cotton and avoid synthetic materials.  Cotton helps the air circulate and the fabric moves, making the heat less intense. 
  • When you develop Heat Rash, you can help to calm the itchiness or redness by making a rose water and honey concoction.  Mix 200ml of rose water, 200ml of filtered water, and 4 Tbsp of raw honey in a small bowl.  Pour this into a silicone ice tray and place in the freezer until they are frozen.  Remove the ice cubes (about 4-5 at a time), wrap them in a soft muslin cloth, and gently apply them to the affected areas.  Rose water helps to restore the skin's pH balance and control excess oil.
  • An oatmeal bath is very effective at reducing inflammation and itchy skin.  If you experience Heat Rash, place one to two cups of rolled oats in a lukewarm bath and soak for 20 minutes.  You don't want the water to be hot because you will continue to irritate your skin.  Alternatively, you can make an oatmeal paste by mixing equal parts oats and water.  Apply this to the skin to provide relief. 
  • Commonly used to help naturally soothe sunburns, aloe vera contains antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties that can naturally cool down the skin.  This is especially beneficial for Heat Rash because the skin is often swollen and hot.  Apply fresh aloe vera to help relieve any discomfort.
  • Cold compresses or cold cloths work to naturally soothe irritated sin.  When the Heat Rash occurs, help cool down the skin by applying an ice pack wrapped in a towel to the affected area(s).  This may help to reduce itchiness and pain. 
  • Several studies have found that sandalwood possesses analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties, so it helps to reduce pain.  Mix two parts sandalwood powder with one part filtered water to create a paste.  Before applying it to the Heat Rash, batch test it on a small part of unaffected skin to ensure that you don't react negatively.  If you don't experience a negative reaction, apply the paste to the rash and leave it on for about 30 minutes.  Rinse with cold water to remove. 
  • Neem has been used to help calm a variety of skin rashes.  While studies on neem's effectiveness on Heat Rash are limited, research shows that neem has beneficial antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.  Combine neem powder with water to make a paste and apply the paste to the rash.  It should only be left on for a few minutes before rinsing with cold water. 
Things you should eat
  • Carrots
  • Acorn Squash
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Cantaloupe
  • Mangos
  • Bell Peppers
  • Flaxseeds
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Walnuts
  • Berries (strawberries, blueberries, & raspberries)
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Citrus fruits (grapefruit, lemons, limes, & oranges)
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