Last updated on July 16th, 2019 at 02:37 am
Have you ever had a heat rash? Ever since I became an adolescent, I started sweating excessively, especially in my armpits, but also in my groin area. My pants would often have sweat stains in that area. I preferred to put on dark pants when I knew that I would sweat a lot.
The problem was not that much the sweating, though, but the heat rash that came after sweating. If it becomes bad enough because you do not attend it in time, it develops into a hurtful heat rash. You will not even know how to walk for a few hours, not sleep in the night, and maybe even hate to walk the next day.
I dreaded that situation because it happened to me when we had picknick days or days that we worked outside in the heat. My armpit sweating was excessive all the time, no matter what activities I did, but sweating in the groin area became a serious problem when working physically, without being able to take a shower shortly afterward.
Some people get a heat rash in their neck, armpits, breasts, and other body parts. It seems like wherever skin touches skin, sweating, and evaporation is more complicated which turns into a rash.
In this post, I am going to share the definition of a heat rash and a few facts about it. I also pretend to tell you how you can get rid of a heat rash or prevent it in the first place.
What Is A Heat Rash
We have sweat glands all over our body except at the toes and fingernails and in our ears. Our skin is our air-conditioner, as I like to call it because sweating keeps us cool whenever our body gets a little warmer.
Sweat comes out of the pores of our skin and evaporates, which cools our body.
When we start to sweat and it cannot evaporate or skin is clogged, sweat becomes trapped underneath the skin, which causes a heat rash.
Some know a heat rash as prickly heat or miliaria.
What Causes A Heat Rash?
It is not clear why some people develop a heat rash and others never have the problem. I grew up with this problem, but most of my family has no idea what it is, nor how uncomfortable it can be.
A heat rash happens when pores in our skin are clogged and sweat cannot come out. However, there are a few known causes for a heat rash:
1) In creases of our skin, or in the parts of our body where skin touches the skin, it seems that a heat rash is developed easier than on other spots. For example, the groin area.
People that are overweight tend to have less space between their legs and are prone to heat rashes. And it seems like the more you walk on a certain day, the worse it gets because the heat rash starts to rub against heat rash.
I have been around 100 pounds overweight for well over a decade and I have found that I have that problem even more than when I was not overweight. Only recently I lost around 40 pounds after doing a rigorous weight loss program, and I noticed a decrease in the all so common heat rashes.
Other body parts where people tend to develop heat rashes because of skin to skin contact is in the armpits, underneath the breast, underneath the belly, to mention a few.
Wherever air cannot circulate well, sweat cannot evaporate and it will be trapped underneath your skin.
2) A heat rash can also be caused by clothing. Tight clothing that is not breathable can cause a severe heat rash. In that case, you can get it on your back, your belly, and even on your legs.
Nowadays most clothes are made of breathable fabric, which makes it easier for our skin to evaporate sweat and not become clogged underneath our skin.
3) A heat rash can also be caused by the use of lotions, creams, and cosmetics.
If you use these products a lot, it is highly recommendable that you wash your skin thoroughly, so pores will not become clogged. If you let it build up, you can expect a heat rash in no time.
4) Some people even develop a heat rash when having a fever, because they bundle up in bed with many blankets that are not breathable.
Others also do that during the winter time because they want to get warm, so the cuddle up in so many blankets that the body becomes warm enough to trigger the sweat glands, but since it cannot evaporate, it builds up underneath the skin.
5) Newborn babies tend to develop a heat rash in the early days and months of life. However, in that case, the sweat glands are not yet developed, so they cannot get rid of the sweat just yet.
When our boys were born, we noticed a rash after only a few days. It worried us because we figured that something must be wrong. New parents always tend to be worried about small things. Our caregiver told us that it was normal for babies to develop a heat rash, especially if they are bundled up a lot, and that it would go away soon. And it did.
Over time, the heat rash came back in their faces a few times, but it came and went.
Are You At Risk To Develop A Heat Rash?
As said before, obese individuals are at higher risk to develop a heat rash because or more skin-to-skin areas.
However, not only obese individuals have skin-to-skin contact areas, but also other groups of people, like the elderly, babies, and others. In a few words, if you have skin-to-skin areas on your body, you can develop a heat rash.
All these mentioned individuals are known to lead a more passive lifestyle because they are often immobile for some time, and that prevents air from circulation in those skin-to-skin areas.
The physically active also have a higher risk, especially when they wear non-breathable clothes. Since they sweat a lot, sweat can become trapped underneath their skin and cause a heat rash.
People living in warmer climates. That is very simple because people living in humid and hot climates will sweat more than those living in colder climates. Therefore, they are at higher risk for heat rashes.
Can A Heat Rash Become A Serious Problem?
A heat rash resolves on its own when your skin cools off and you wash it thoroughly. However, there are cases when the redness and swelling will not go away, which is a sign of infected sweat glands.
In that case, you will want an antibiotic because bacteria has come into your sweat glands, which your body is not able to fight off.
Yet, that is a rare occurrence. Most of the time, a heat rash goes away after a few hours and sometimes a day or two, depending on how you deal with it.
Treatments by physicians are rarely needed because a heat rash tends to be self-limiting. Treatments are commonly done at home and include over-the-counter creams, lotions, sprays, and others, which alleviate the symptoms quickly.
What Are The Symptoms Of A Heat Rash?
A heat rash makes your skin red and most of the time full of bumps. It all starts with a prickling sensation, and if not attended in time, it develops in a serious burning sensation.
It can come to the point where even creams and lotions burn awfully for well over 30 minutes after application. Ideally, you want to take care of your heat rash before it even comes that far.
At some points in my life, I was not able to attend the heat rash in time and it became really bad, to the point where I could not walk properly for a day because of the awful burning sensation in my groin area.
How To Prevent A Heat Rash?
There are a few things that you can do to prevent a heat rash:
1) If you live in warmer, humid climates, shower regularly. Often it means to shower in the middle of the day after a workout or a job where you sweated a lot. Wash the affected area thoroughly. Often you need to scrub a little until the pores are unclogged. Beware because that hurts, so don’t scrub too much, as it can make things worse.
2) Always wear comfortable and breathable clothes. That will certainly help. Dress pants can make a heat rash really bad because they are non-breathable clothes. It happened to me just recently. Went to church, on a really hot summer day, left for a birthday party. Sat most of the day and by the time I was writing this, I had a heat rash developed.
3) Use a cooling system in your home or wherever you are for it can prevent heat rashes. You will naturally sweat less when you keep temperatures lower.
4) And why not, lose weight and fat to get rid of the problem. It might not go away completely, but it sure will be reduced. I experienced it firsthand recently.
5) Drink water. Drinking plenty of water is not only healthy but is also effective for preventing a heat rash, because pores cannot become clogged so easily.
What To Do With A Heat Rash?
If it just happened to you that a heat rash was developed, what is next?
There are a few strategies to reduce the problem and be comfortable soon again.
1) First of all, get a shower as soon as you can. If you already feel the heat rash coming, take a shower. Avoid hot showers, because of a serious burning sensation.
2) Get a skin lotion, like Aveeno, and put a generous amount on the affected area. Do that a few times over the next few hours.
3) Keep the affected area aerated. Yes, even if it means to lay down in bed with legs wide apart or your arms up, or your head tilted back. Air circulation is the most effective cure. Depending on the severity of your heat rash, you will need to keep things clean, smooth and aerated.
A heat rash goes away pretty easily, especially if you don’t let it become too bad, you should be good with these strategies in no time. However, if it becomes really bad, know that it will take at least overnight to become better.
Whenever I develop a heat rash, which is frequent, especially during summer, I try to keep my skin-to-skin areas separated so air can circulate and usually overnight the heat rash goes away.
People that sweat excessively can develop heat rashes very easily, as well as obese individuals. However, the prognosis for this uncomfortable skin condition is rather straightforward. If you follow the simple-to-follow strategies that I just presented to you, you will be fine in a matter of a few hours.
However, if the problem persists, consider seeing your doctor as an infection of your sweat glands could be underway.
One last and simple way to avoid uncomfortable heat rashes is by using products that prevent you from sweating. I have used Sweatblock in my armpits, a clinical strength antiperspirant which stops my sweating completely. That is one simple way of helping this problem because some people (including myself) sometimes develop heat rashes in the armpits.
Another great option for men is the Ejis boxer brief underpants which are designed to absorb the wetness.
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