Prickly heat, also known as sweat rash or heat rash, often plagues people during the summer season. It is medically called miliaria and it is a common skin issue that affects infants, teenagers, and adults.
Prickly heat can appear on any part of your body. However, it usually occurs around the groin, arm, feet, back, neck, chest, and abdomen.
People are more susceptible to prickly heat in hot, humid climes as such climate leads to excessive sweating which tends to cause blockage of sweat glands. When the sweat glands eventually open up, they tend to irritate the skin and cause prickly heat.
Other factors that increase the likelihood of having prickly heat include; poorly developed sweat glands, bacterial infection, being overweight, and having a high propensity to perspire easily.
Common symptoms of prickly heat include; red round bumps or rashes that itch, a prickly sensation, and a mild inflammation.
Prickly heat normally goes on its own. However, you can take some actions to prevent it or hasten its dissipation. Such actions include;
- Stay in air-conditioned rooms or keep your rooms well-ventilated.
- Endeavor to stay cool especially during summer.
- Take cold baths or showers.
- Opt for loose clothing, preferably, those made from cotton.
- Ensure you take a shower after exercising or working out.
- Avoid exposure to intense heat and humidity.
- Ensure you stay hydrated by taking plenty of fluids such as water, coconut water, and fresh fruit juices.
- Endeavor to change your infant’s diaper often.
- Stay away from direct sunlight.
- Avoid using oil-based cosmetics.
- Avoid scratching the affected areas as that may exacerbate the condition and lead to infection.
- Dress babies in light-weight cotton.
Below are home remedies for prickly heat (heat rash) ;
1. Cold Compress
A cold compress will give instant relief from itching, prickly sensation, and inflammation. Just prepare a cold compress by putting a few ice cubes in a cotton cloth and place on the affected area for 5-10 minutes. Another way is to soak your washcloth in cold water and place on the problem area for 10-15 minutes. This remedy will prevent the heat rashes from spreading further.
A cucumber has an amazing cooling effect on the skin. Since it has high water content, it keeps the skin hydrated, thus, reducing the risk of prickly heat. All you have to do is to soak a few slices of cucumber in water, and then add some lemon juice. After that, place the soaked cucumber on the affected region and allow it to do its work for ten minutes. Alternatively, rub cucumber pulp on the rashes for 30 minutes to lessen the irritation.
Ginger is commonly used in Asian culture to treat numerous skin problems including prickly heat, baby eczema, and sores. Ginger helps to ease the stinging sensation that comes with prickly heat. Simply grate a fresh ginger root into small parts, boil in a cup of water for 15 minutes and then apply on the heat rashes. Wash off with cold water after 10-15 minutes. Use this ginger infusion twice a day until you get the desired results.
4. Aloe Vera
An aloe vera gel (not lotion) works as a hydrating agent. It also penetrates into the skin where many skin care products cannot reach. Rub the gel on the rashes, leave it for 15-20 minutes and then take a cold bath. For quick relief, apply the gel 2-3 times a day.
Besides quenching your thirst, watermelon has a soothing effect on a prickly rash. It contains antioxidants that cool irritated skin. To treat the heat rash, de-seed the watermelon to get the pulp and apply on the problem area. Clean with plain water after 15-20 minutes. You can also heal your skin from within by taking a glass of fresh watermelon juice daily.
6. Baking Soda
Besides being a common ingredient in almost every kitchen, baking soda can be used to treat prickly heat. It unblocks the skin pores and removes dead skin cells to prevent the sweat from being trapped. Secondly, baking soda has unmatched antibacterial properties that curb the infections in the problem area.
To prevent the rash from spreading to other parts of the body, you should make a mild solution by adding two tsp of baking soda in a bowl of water. Apply on the rashes for a couple of minutes and rinse off with tepid water.
7. Oatmeal Bath
Oatmeal is used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat heat rash. Since its abrasive, it unblocks the pores and removes the dead skin cells. Moreover, an oatmeal bath restores the skin moisture and reduces swelling. To prepare the oatmeal bath, add 1-2 cups of oatmeal powder in a bathtub with warm water and stir well until you get a milky solution. Then, soak in it for 10-15 minutes and pat dry thereafter. You can also rub the affected area with oatmeal to ease the irritation.
8. Neem Leaves (Margosa Leaves)
Due to their antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects, neem leaves help to alleviate the symptoms associated with prickly heat such as itching, red bumps, and inflammation. Simply prepare your paste by grinding some neem leaves, and then apply to the affected area. Alternatively, simmer some leaves in a cup of water for 20 minutes, strain off and apply on the heat rash. Once the paste dries, wash off with cold water.
9. Chickpea Flour
Chickpea flour works as a natural cleanser by unclogging the sweat glands and removing impurities. Additionally, chickpea flour provides relief from irritation and inflammation. For this remedy, make a thick paste by mixing 2-3 tsp of chickpea flour with some rosewater. Apply it on the affected region and then wash off with cold water after 15 minutes. For optimal results, use this pack once every day.
10. Sandalwood Powder
Sandalwood powder is a natural product that helps to treat any irritation that comes with prickly rashes. Since sandalwood powder has some antiseptic properties, it helps speed up the recovery process. Furthermore, it aids in bringing down the body temperature. For this remedy, make a paste by mixing one tsp of sandalwood powder with two tsp of coriander leaves. Smear on the affected region and wash off after 20-30 minutes. You can also sprinkle some sandalwood powder on the rashes after taking a shower.
11. Fuller’s Earth
Studies have shown that excess production of sebum can lead to heat rash. Thankfully, fuller’s earth can help to absorb the excess oil and sweat from your body. It also has other medicinal properties that can reduce itching and inflammation. To use this simple treatment, mix 1-2 tsp of fuller’s earth powder with rosewater and apply on the affected region. Wash off with cold water after 20 minutes. Use this remedy, once a day, for one week.
12. Raw Potato
Potato works as an emollient and has a soothing effect on the skin. All you need is to slice a raw potato, squeeze out the juice and rub it on the affected area. You can also dab the rashes with the potato slices to reduce the inflammation. Unlike other remedies, this potato remedy would provide instant relief. Use the potato remedy once a week until you get rid of the rashes.
13. Gram Flour
Gram flour is packed with essential nutrients that help to solve a number of skin problems. Ideally, the flour works as a hydrating agent. Secondly, gram flour opens up clogged pores and eliminates dead skin cells. To make the pack, mix 2 tsp of gram flour with rosewater and apply on the heat rashes for 5-10 mins. Wash off with tap water thereafter. Gram flour balances the skin pH while rosewater works as an astringent.
14. Raw Mangoes
A raw mango can provide some relief from itching and inflammation caused by heat rash. It’s one of the best foods that offer a cooling effect on the skin. Just boil two mangoes in three cups of water for a few minutes, squeeze out the paste and consume once a day. To enhance the taste, you can add some sugar or salt. While it will not provide instant relief, it will boost the healing process.
15. Coriander Seeds And Sandalwood Powder
They are best known for their antiseptic effect on the skin. If you are not accustomed to high temperatures, you can cool your skin by applying powdered coriander seeds and dried sandalwood powder. Allow the paste to do its work for several minutes and then rinse with cold water. It will also ease the burning sensation.
16. Talcum Powder
Talcum powder is a mild astringent that helps to treat many skin conditions including skin rashes in babies and sweat rash. In addition to that, it has absorbent properties so it would keep the sweat off your skin. To keep prickly heat at bay, dab some powder on the rashes after taking a shower. Use it in morning and evening. Avoid scented powders.
17. Henna Powder
Henna is commonly used in Asian and Middle East countries to decorate hands. It possesses antibacterial, astringent and cooling properties making it a perfect remedy for heat rash. To prepare a paste, mix 2-3 tsp of henna powder with some water and apply on the rashes. Allow it to stay for 15-20 minutes before rinsing off with water.
This tropical fruit works as an exfoliator by unclogging the skin pores and eliminating damaged skin cells. Since it’s a powerhouse of antioxidants, enzymes, and vitamins, it reduces the burning sensation and itching. Mash a ripe papaya, apply the paste on the rashes and then wash off after 15-20 minutes. Use the paste once a day, especially after taking a shower.
Since lavender essential oil has soothing and cooling properties, it can provide some relief if you have a heat rash. It also relieves the burning sensation and, most importantly, promotes the generation of healthy skin cells. To stop the bacteria from settling on the rashes, add five drops of lavender oil to your bathing water every day.
20. Indian Gooseberries
Amla contains vital vitamins that boost the immune system. It also has antioxidants that protect the body from free radicals. To prepare the concoction, add some Indian gooseberries in a container and cover it overnight. Mash them in the morning, add some honey and drink one cup a day for seven days.
21. Olive Oil
Extra virgin olive oil has antioxidants which facilitate the healing of the aggravated skin. It also works as a moisturizer and soothes skin irritation. To treat prickly heat, apply a few drops of olive oil on the rashes before going to bed.
Cornstarch absorbs the excess sweat from the skin, thus, preventing the skin pores from getting clogged. It also has a soothing effect on an inflamed and itchy skin. To get rid of sweat rashes, sprinkle some cornstarch powder on the problem area and leave it on.
23. Greek Yogurt
If you have prickly heat on the armpits, neck, groin, or waist, Greek yogurt can provide some temporary relief thanks to its soothing and cooling effect. Greek yogurt also hastens the healing process by unclogging the skin pores. Simply apply some yogurt on the rashes, leave it for 10-15 minutes, then, wash off with tap water thereafter.
24. Epsom Salt
Epsom salt bath gives instant relief from prickly heat. It exfoliates the skin by unclogging the pores and drawing out toxins. To prepare your salt bath, dissolve half a cup of Epsom salt in your bathing water, and soak in it for 15 minutes. You could also use sea salt if Epsom salt is not readily available.
25. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil inhibits the formation of red bumps on the skin. It also contains essential nutrients that stimulate skin renewal. All you need is to melt the oil and apply on the rashes before going to bed.
Besides its amazing humectant properties, raw honey cools and moisturizes the skin. It also prevents bacteria from settling on the rashes. To reduce the itchiness and irritation, caused by prickly heat, apply some honey on the affected area, allow it to stay for 15-20 minutes, then, wash off.
27. Mint Tea
A freshly brewed mint tea can bring down your body temperature, thus, preventing further eruptions of sweat rashes. Just steep some mint leaves in a cup of boiling water for 5-7 minutes, strain off and then drink 3-4 cups a day.
28. Nettle Leaves
Nettle leaves inhibit histamine production and have a cooling effect on the skin. Prepare the infusion by boiling dried nettle leaves in a cup of water for 15 minutes, strain off and then drink three times a day.
Camphor provides a cooling and soothing effect on the skin. When combined with neem, it curbs any infection on the problem area. If you have prickly heat, crush one camphor tablet to make a fine powder and then add neem oil. Apply the paste on the rashes and then wash off after 5-7 minutes.
30. Lemon Juice
Apart from cooling the body, lemon juice works as an antihistamine. Furthermore, lemon juice has potent antioxidants (vitamin C) which hasten the healing process by boosting the immune system. Prepare the regimen by adding fresh lemon juice in water and drink up to four glasses a day. You may also want to sweeten the juice by adding two tablespoons of honey. When taken on a daily basis, prickly heat would dissipate within two weeks.
31. Apple Cider Vinegar
ACV can treat skin rashes caused by bacteria or fungus. ACV detoxifies the affected pores and balances the skin pH while soothing the skin. To make a tonic, dilute one unit of unfiltered ACV with two units of water. Apply the mixture on the rashes with a cotton ball, allow it to dry naturally, then, rinse off after 30-45 minutes.
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