temperatures can make your summer days almost unbearable if you suffer from a
heat rash. Dr Yunoos Omar, a dermatologist based in Johannesburg, explains what
causes a heat rash and how it can be prevented.
HEAT RASH AND WHAT CAUSES IT?
says a heat rash, which is also called miliaria or prickly heat, is a skin
irritation that stings and makes your skin red. “Your skin may feel itchy,
small bumps may form, and you may feel some prickly sensation. However, the
condition is not contagious,” he says. According to Dr Yunoos, a heat rash is
most likely to appear on your inner thighs, neck and in the creases of elbows
and armpits. He says the most common cause of a heat rash is hot temperatures.
“When you sweat too much, sweat can get trapped under your skin and block your
sweat glands. You may get a rash if your pores can’t clear out the sweat,” he
explains that the condition is also very common in babies and children because
they have underdeveloped pores. “In children, a heat rash is triggered by
sweating too much, having high body temperature, being overdressed or being in
a warm environment. Babies who are always dressed in too many clothes are most
likely to get heat rash,” says the doctor.
It’s important to note that people can also get a heat rash in winter or
during cooler temperatures. Wearing too many clothes or sleeping under heavy,
warm blankets in winter can lead to overheating and a heat rash.
says that if you get a heat rash, you should also watch out for signs of
infection. These may include pain, swelling, redness, or warmth around the
affected area. The rash usually clears on its own. Dr Yunoos recommends that
you should keep the skin as cool and dry as possible. He advises that you
should visit the doctor or your nearest clinic for treatment if the rash gets
TO HELP YOU PREVENT A HEAT RASH
¦ Try to cool down: Avoid hot and humid places
if you can. Instead stay indoors or in an airconditioned room when it’s too
¦ Reduce friction: Wear loose-fitting clothes that won’t irritate your skin. Dr Yunoos advises that
dressing in light cotton clothing can help prevent heat rash. “Cotton helps to
absorb moisture and keep it off your skin,” he says.
¦ Go for unscented soaps: Use a soap that doesn’t have a fragrance or dye because these tend to dry out the skin.
¦ Avoid using baby powder and thick body lotions: “Avoid using baby
powder and heavy creams because they can block pores and make the skin even
¦ Get medical treatment: If your condition does not improve after a few
days, get medical treatment.