Home Remedies for Prickly Heat

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It’s in your best interest to keep your sweat ducts unclogged. When perspiration becomes trapped under the skin, you can develop a condition known as prickly heat. Often associated with babies, symptoms can strike adults as well – especially when the weather is hot and humid. Luckily, with home remedies for prickly heat, you can concentrate on relieving symptoms by cooling the skin and preventing further sweating.

prickly heat

What is Prickly Heat?

Prickly heat (also known as heat rash or miliaria) is a rash that develops when sweat ducts become blocked and perspiration is trapped under the skin [1]. The condition gets its name from the intense itching or ‘prickly’ sensations that some patients experience. Prickly heat usually fades away on its own, but serious cases may need professional attention.

Prickly heat in adults usually emerges in the folds of skin or wherever clothing causes friction and irritation. Infants usually develop the rash on their neck, chest, and shoulders. It is not uncommon for the rash to appear in the armpits, creases of elbows, and the groin.

Causes and Symptoms

Immature sweat ducts, tropical climates, intense sessions of exercise, certain clothing materials, medications, overheating, and heavy creams or ointments that block sweat ducts can contribute to a case of prickly heat. The mildest form of heat rash is called miliaria crystallina, where tiny, clear superficial blisters and bumps (called papules) that break easily emerge. The blisters do not itch and are not painful.

Miliaria rubra strikes the outer layer of skin, and is the condition mostly referred to as prickly heat. Hot, humid weather or a period of bed rest is common causes for adults. Infants may experience the condition between the first and third weeks of their life. Red bumps, itchiness, and the prickly feeling develop in the affect area.

Miliaria profunda is a less common form of heat rash characterized by repeated occurrences of prickly heat. Flesh-colored lesions (similar to goose bumps) and a lack of perspiration are some of the symptoms that arise.

Prickly Heat Home Remedies

When it comes to defeating a bout of prickly heat, your main line of defense should be keeping the skin cool and dry. If successful, your symptoms should only last for a maximum time between 7 and 10 days. In the meantime, consider the following home remedies for prickly heat:

a) Aloe Vera:

Soothe the inflammation of prickly heat by applying aloe vera gel. The gel also contains zinc, which helps regenerate tissue.

b) Honey:

Honey helps to calm and cool the skin after developing prickly heat. It also works towards speeding up the healing process, as well as replenishing natural elements lost during sun exposure and irritation.

c) Watermelon and Pineapple:

The high-water content of watermelon and pineapple can help cool off the body, as well as replace lost fluids.

d) Cucumber:

The cooling effects of cucumber are well known in the world of home remedies. Consume or directly apply to affected skin.

e) Mint Tea:

Drink fresh mint tea, which works towards reducing body temperature and cooling off symptoms of prickly heat. Another herbal tea that provides the same cooling effect is lemongrass.

f) Cold Compress:

Lessen the intensity of irritated skin by lightly patting a cold compress on affected body parts. This home remedy for prickly heat will reduce dryness and redness.

g) Baking Soda or Cornstarch:

After soaking in a cool bath or taking a cold shower, dust off with baking soda or cornstarch to absorb some of the excess moisture that worsens prickly heat. Unscented talcum (baby) powder also achieves the same goal.

h) Oatmeal:

Gain relief from prickly heat by adding a small amount of powdered oatmeal to your bath water. Stir the bath well and soak to ease inflammation of the skin.

i) Ice:

Rub ice cubes over red and irritated skin to reduce inflammation and swelling.

j) Clean Towel:

Do not allow perspiration to dry on your skin. To avoid further clogging of skin pores, wipe away moisture with a clean towel. It is important to keep your skin dry.

k) Lightweight Clothing:

Choose clothing that is lightweight and loose fitting to avoid a buildup of moisture on the skin during hot weather.

l) Air Conditioner:

Choose air-conditioned rooms as a suitable environment for promoting the healing of prickly heat.

m) Check Your Moisturizer:

When hydrating the skin, avoid greasy moisturizers that can trap heat and cause your damaged skin to worsen. Your goal is not to use any bath and body products that can clog pores.


[1] http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/heat-rash/DS01058