So it's that time of year again, and we all love a bit of sun on our skin. We might not be lucky enough to have weather like last week's heat wave all summer in Ireland, but some of you lucky lads and lassies will be going further afield for some holiday sunshine.
So here's some info on one of our hot weather enemies, heat rash, aka prickly heat.....
So what causes Heat Rash?
Well, it's all in the name... Our bodies sweat in order to cool us down, from the surface, when we overheat. A heat rash occurs when sweat ducts become clogged and the sweat can't get to the surface of the skin. Instead, it becomes trapped beneath the skin's surface, allowing the high salt content in our sweat to cause an inflammation or rash. It's this trapped sweat that causes the tiny water blisters you see on the skin's surface. It can also be red, itchy and sore.
Tight clothing, un-breathable fabrics, and heavy, oily creams or lotions which clog sweat ducts in the skin can all contribute to prickly heat. It may also occur as a side effect to certain medications.
Who is at risk?
It's more common in babies and the elderly, but it can affect anybody of any age.
|Loose fitting cotton is best.|
Cotton Cotton Cotton!! The best fabric to allow our skin to breathe. Lycra, polyester and nylon are the enemies!
Avoid the harsh mid-day sun. Too hot!
Avoid skin burning, not just because it can cause skin cancer, but because sunburn inhibits our skin's ability to sweat properly....which causes prickly heat!
Cool showers and baths, using mild soap. Pat the skin dry, don't rub. Oh and carry around a hand fan (too obvious?!)
Some people swear by using medicated powders such as Dettol Powder, or even just plain, unperfumed talcum powder on the areas that tend to be affected. Individuals are affected differently so it's trial and error really.
Avoid greasy, oily sun creams, and heavily fragranced products. Use light textured good quality creams only. (Aveeno, Clinique, Lancome, Garnier & Neutrogena do popular non-greasy sun creams)
Some people find that regular exfoliation helps. This makes sense as it will get rid of dead skin cells, which may block the pores, thus causing the rash.
So you've gone and got it anyway, what now?
Calamine lotion is known to be helpful to soothe and calm the skin.
You could try a low dose steroid cream, such as a light cream containing Hydrocortisone (this would be my personal last resort but may be necessary if it's persistent.)
Anti-histamines are also popular (ask your doctor)
Stay cool, and follow my tips above, and it should go away itself.
If you're in a bad way, go to the doctor and get a prescription for something a little stronger.
I hope that this was helpful in some way to all you holiday-makers (jealous = me!)
I'll have to hope for another heatwave here in Ireland before I need to follow my own advice here!