Summer means extra time outdoors and long days under the sun. Unfortunately, this can also mean extra chances for your skin to develop a summer rash. Heat rash is one of the most common types of summer rashes. While typically harmless and temporary, heat rash can be very uncomfortable. In fact, heat rash (also called miliaria rubra) is known for its prickly sensation. This type of rash often includes small red bumps and itchiness that develop on the face, neck, under the breasts, under the scrotum and other places on the body that are prone to excessive sweating.
What Causes Heat Rash?
Despite what you may think, heat rash is not caused directly from the sun. Instead, it is a sweating issue. When your sweat glands get blocked, your perspiration is caught deep within the layers of your skin, which leads to inflammation, redness, irritation and blister-like lesions. Sweat glands can become blocked due to bacteria or dead skin cells.
Summer isn’t the only time you can get heat rash. Any environment that causes you to sweat more can put you at risk for heat rash, including tropical climates, warm bedding at night, sitting too close to the fire/heater during the winter and even certain medications.
Who Is Affected?
Heat rash is often associated with babies and young children because their sweat glands are still in the process of fully developing. This prickly rash can also affect adults who sweat easily as well as people who are overweight.
How is Heat Rash Treated?
Most cases of heat rash dissipate on their own. Cooling your skin is the best way to relieve your symptoms and encourage the rash to go away. However, over-the-counter topical antibacterials can also be an effective treatment.
When to See a Dermatologist?
If your heat rash is lasting several weeks, this may lead to additional complications, such as limiting your body’s ability to sweat properly as well as developing secondary infection or abscesses. When you are not getting relief from your heat rash despite antibacterial agents, or if you notice open blisters, it is time to consult a dermatologist for more aggressive treatment.
At Olansky Dermatology, we treat all types of skin rashes. We are also experts at diagnosing those summer rashes or skin problems that you don’t understand. If you are unsure if you or your child has a heat rash or something more serious, please contact our office to schedule an appointment. Your family deserves comfortable and healthy skin all summer long!