How to Identify & Treat Heat Rash

With warmer weather upon us, you’re probably itching to get outside. We don’t blame you. But, to prevent injury or illness, it’s important you take precautions to protect yourself and your family.

Time spent outdoors can lead to ailments like sunburn, dehydration, heat cramps, heat exhaustion, heat stroke and allergy exacerbations. Hot and humid weather also makes you more susceptible to heat rashes, especially if you’re playing sports or engaged in an intense physical activity that makes you sweat.

How can you be sure your rash is in fact a heat rash? And, if it is, what’s the fastest way to get rid of it? Let’s take a look.

What Does Heat Rash Look Like?

Given that your skin is the largest organ in your body, it’s not surprising that many different skin rashes exist. Heat rashes (also known as miliaria) are one of the most common types of rashes, affecting both children and adults.


They form when your sweat glands become clogged and can’t expel sweat, thus trapping perspiration under your skin. Heat rashes usually appear in skin folds or areas where clothes cause friction. For children, this is often in the neck, shoulders or chest areas, whereas adults more typically develop heat rashes in the armpits, elbow creases and groin.

Regardless of the weather outside, babies, in particular, are prone to heat rashes since their sweat ducts aren’t fully developed.


4 Types or Stages of Heat Rash

If you’re looking for a sure sign of how to identify a heat rash, unfortunately, there isn’t one. That’s because there are different types of heat rashes, which range in severity from superficial blisters to deep, red lesions.

To determine what type of rash you might have, be on the look out for the following heat rash signs and symptoms.

  1. Miliaria crystallina is the mildest form of heat rash and affects the sweat ducts on the epidermis, or top layer of skin. If you have miliaria crystallina, you’ll notice small clear or white bumps filled with fluid that can easily break. Despite popular belief, this type of heat rash doesn’t itch and shouldn’t cause discomfort. It’s also most common in babies.
  2. Miliaria rubra (or “prickly heat” rash) is known to be more painful than miliaria crystallina because it occurs deeper within the epidermis. This type of heat rash causes red bumps, an itchy or prickly sensation and a decreased amount of sweat in the affected area. It can also result in inflammation and soreness of the skin since the body can’t release sweat through the skin’s surface. It’s more common in adults than babies and children.
  3. Miliaria pustulosa is similar to miliaria rubra, except the red bumps associated with the heat rash fill with pus, forming lesions and causing them to become inflamed and pustular, or pus-filled.
  4. Miliaria profundal is the least common form of heat rash and affects the dermis, or a deeper layer of skin below the epidermis. Sweat from your sweat glands is retained in your skin, forming larger, flesh-colored bumps. This type of heat rash usually occurs in adults after a long period of physical activity and can reoccur or become chronic.

What Heat Rash Remedies Are Helpful?

The best way to get rid of a heat rash quickly is to ensure the affected area is kept cool and dry. Avoiding exposure to the heat that caused your rash can expedite healing as well.

It is important to note that taking a warm or hot shower will make the symptoms worse!

If you’re experiencing prickliness or itching, heat rash creams like calamine lotion can help relieve discomfort and prevent complications.

Other homeopathic substances, including colloidal oatmeal, sandalwood powder, baking soda, aloe vera, and epsom salt, can also soothe itchiness.

For more serious instances of inflammation, your healthcare provider might prescribe a topical steroid for heat rash treatment.

To prevent a heat rash from occurring in the first place, stick to more breathable clothing made from cotton and moisture-wicking fabrics. When the weather is hot and humid, stay in the shade or air conditioning and keep your sleeping area cool and well ventilated. Plus, avoid ointments and lotions that can clog your pores.

When to See a Medical Professional

In most cases, heat rashes will clear up on their own within a few days. However, you should see your doctor if your rash or your child’s rash gets worse, or you notice signs of infection. This can include:

  • Increased swelling, pain, redness, or warmth around the affected area
  • Golden yellow crust formation or pus draining from lesions
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the neck, armpit or groin
  • Fever or chills

Not sure if your skin irritation is a heat rash or something more serious? Save your spot online or just walk into the GoHealth Urgent Care center that’s most convenient for you. Use the dropdown menu below to locate a center nearby.


The Best Heat Rash Treatment When All You Want to Do Is Scratch

lechatnoir/Getty Images

If you’re susceptible to heat rash, then you know it can spoil on an otherwise fun summer day. When it happens, taking steps to cool and soothe your skin can at least minimize your discomfort. If you’re currently dealing with irritation–or want to prepare yourself for a future incident–here’s what you should know about how to treat heat rash. (Related: How to Protect Your Skin from Heat Damage)

Heat rash usually happens when your sweat ducts become blocked, trapping sweat, which eventually causes a skin eruption, says Shari Sperling D.O., of Sperling Dermatology. This volcanic eruption of sorts causes tiny bumps that look like pimples. People who are experiencing heat rash usually feel an itchy or prickling sensation. It can sometimes be confused with other rashes like eczema or folliculitis, which have a similar appearance, says Dr. Sperling. (Related: What to Do When the Summer Heat Is Ruining Your Sleep)

The good news is that heat rash will usually go away on its own, so the best treatment for a heat rash is to get yourself out of the heat and into a cool room pronto.

Taking a cooling bath and cold shower can also help, says Dr. Sperling. Calamine lotion can also be your friend since it can help soothe inflammation, but using any cream that’s too rich can actually backfire. “Avoid thick ointments because they can block pores and make the heat rash much worse,” she explains. (Related: Sunburn Remedies to Soothe Scorched Skin)

The majority of heat rash cases are mild, but if your symptoms last more than a few days or include swelling, pus oozing from the bumps, or a fever or chills, you should see a doctor, according to the Mayo Clinic. (Related: How to Tell If You Have Sun Poisoning…and What to Do Next)

The best way to prevent heat rash from happening in the first place is pretty intuitive: Avoid spending extended periods of time in the heat. Since that’s not always practical (or favorable), you can also take precautions if you know in advance that you’ll be sweating profusely. If you’ll be working out and are prone to heat rash, try prepping your armpits, cleavage, and inner thighs with a powder deodorant spray. If you won’t be exercising, opt for light-colored, loose-fitting clothing (during workouts, loose-fitting clothes can encourage chafing). In either case, taking a cold shower immediately can also help, says Dr. Sperling.

Heat rash is a bummer, no question. But on the bright side, the best treatments include things you’d probably feel like doing anyway in order to cool down.

Although heat rash often associated with infants, it can affect anyone. What are the best treatments for it and how can you prevent it in the first place?

Question: It’s summer and I’m going to be spending a lot of times outdoors. I’m susceptible to heat rash. What is the best treatment for it?

I remember anticipating summer vacation as a kid. We were always busy planning and participating in neighborhood sporting activities, biking, hiking, fishing and camping trips. The neighborhood moms always had a ready supply of Band-Aids, Bactine and antiseptic cream to take care of those expected and inevitable scratches, scrapes, cuts and insect bites along the way.

But I also remember a couple of occasions when I developed an itchy, stinging rash on my back, abdomen and upper legs. My mother called it prickly heat or heat rash. It seemed to happen unexpectedly in hot weather. Mowing the lawn in 95 degree weather or traveling in the back seat of a car with clear plastic seat covers and no air conditioning seemed to be some of the causes for me.

Heat rash is a term used to describe several skin conditions that are brought on by heat exposure or overheating. Also known as prickly heat, sweat rash or miliaria, it can affect anyone. Infants tend to be more susceptible to heat rash possibly due to the fact a newborn’s sweat ducts are not fully developed. Adults who are bedridden or have larger skin fold areas in the groin, under the arm or under breasts may also be more susceptible. It’s more prevalent in hot, humid climates but can occur anytime the body is overheated or during periods of intense physical activity, whether exercise or work-related.

Heat rash occurs when blocked pores or sweat ducts trap perspiration under the skin causing inflammation with an itching or stinging sensation. The salty sweat trapped under the skin causes the irritation which can lead to small blisters or red bumps that may become quite inflamed and possibly infected. Most cases of mild heat rash clear up in a few days but you should seek medical attention if it gets worse or lasts more than a week.

The first treatment I recommend is washing the area with cool water and a mild soap. Allow the skin to air dry and avoid rubbing with a towel. Try to remain in an air-conditioned environment to allow the skin to cool off. A cool compress like a washcloth may be used intermittently for 15-20 minutes each hour but remember to allow skin to air dry between applications. You want to avoid skin-to-skin contact by placing a clean, dry cotton washcloth or other breathable material under the breasts or between skin folds on the abdomen, under arms or buttocks.

For mild cases, I recommend using calamine lotion to help control itching. A cool, colloidal oatmeal (ground oatmeal suspended in a liquid, usually water) bath like Aveeno seems to help, especially in children. Some people get relief using prickly heat or similar type of powder. For more severe symptoms, you might need to use an over-the-counter topical hydrocortisone cream or mild prescription corticosteroid like triamcinolone cream. Taking an oral antihistamine like Benadryl (diphenhydramine) may help with the itching and, because it causes drowsiness, may help you get a better night’s sleep.

Although heat rash is unpredictable, heat rash symptoms may be preventable or reduced. You can dress in loose, lightweight cotton clothing that breathes. Avoid wearing synthetic fabrics like acrylic, polyester or rayon which hold moisture close to the skin. Drinking plenty of water to remain hydrated helps to keep your body cool. Keep your body cool by spending time in air-conditioned environments. Be creative in finding ways to stay cool this summer.

How to Manage Your Summer Rash

It’s important to note that heat rash can be brought on in an indoor setting as well. Mancuso, a clinical lecturer in dermatology at Michigan Medicine, says this condition is also seen in patients who are sick in the hospital and lay on their back for extended periods of time. Keeping the skin cool and avoiding hot, humid conditions is beneficial in keeping heat rash at bay.

She says air conditioning, wearing loose fitting clothing, and changing out of sweaty clothes frequently all can help avert blocked sweat glands. Additionally, using an anti-perspirant deodorant in the underarms but also in other skin folds (groin folds, thighs, under breasts, etc.) can be helpful to decrease sweating.

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Likewise, there are factors that can make someone more prone to get heat rash. Those with hyperhidrosis, or excessive sweating, are more likely to develop the rash. Someone with sensitive skin or another skin condition is also at a potentially greater risk.

Distinguishing and treatment

“If you see a dermatologist and tell them you have a heat rash, they will probably want to know more about the rash and even see pictures of it,” says Mancuso. “Always take a picture, because there’s different skin conditions that do a great job disguising as heat rash.”

Conditions commonly mistaken for heat rash:

  • In older adults, Grover’s disease is worsened by heat and occurs on the back and chest.

  • In younger children, eczema can be aggravated by heat.

  • Some people have physical urticaria, which generates hives from heat, sun, sweat or water exposure.

  • Polymorphous light eruption is a true sun allergy and can be brought on by varying amounts of light exposure.

If you think you have a heat rash, Mancuso says wearing loose-fitting clothing aids in quick resolution within a few days.

“For severe itching, anti-itch lotions such as Sarna or other topical steroids like hydrocortisone can be used,” she adds.

If these treatments don’t help or cause worsening of the rash, it’s worth seeing a doctor for further treatment or to be evaluated for other types of rashes, as the rash could be a recurrent problem. Take pictures of the rash in case it goes away before your appointment, and remember to protect yourself and your skin whenever you’re exposed to sunlight.

How To Tell If You Have Heat Rash So You Can Treat It Properly

Like blisters and chafing, heat rash can be a super uncomfortable condition that can make your summer a living nightmare. And although that prickly and itchy red rash usually seems to strike once the temperatures rise, conditions like these can occur anytime of the year, if the environment is right.

“Heat rash occurs when the openings of the sweat glands become clogged and irritated,” Dr. Elizabeth Tanzi, Founder & Director of Capital Laser & Skin Care, explains to me over email. “There usually are mild, moderate and severe forms of the condition, which can appear on various parts of the body covered by clothing.”

But rather than falling down the Google rabbit hole and self-diagnosing yourself with every skin care condition possible, it’s best to keep your cool and stick with the facts before making any dramatic conclusions. Heat rash usually tend to go away on it’s own, but if the condition persists after some time, it’s always wise to get it looked at by your doctor or dermatologist.

But if you’re trying to sort out whether your irritation is worth that trip to the doctor’s office, I’ve consulted some expert dermatologists to break down the signs of something not-so-serious.

1. Identify Which Type You Have

Heat rash tends to appear on parts of the body usually covered by clothing and is a red or pink rash that can occur at any time during the year. There are several different types of heat rash to keep an eye out for, though they all look rather similar.

“Miliaria crystallina is considered the mildest form, and affects the sweat glands in the top layer of skin,” says RealSelf contributor and board certified dermatologist Dr. Joel Schlessinger via email. “This type of rash is usually characterized by fluid-filled blisters that tend to break easily.”

Then there’s miliaria rubra, which occurs a bit deeper in the skin. And also known as prickly heat, this kind of heat rash usually involves symptoms such as red bumps, itching, and an unbearable prickling sensation, according to dermatologist Dr. Neal Schultz.

The last and least common form of heat rash is known as miliaria profunda, which affects the deepest layer of the skin. This rash manifests as larger bumps in the skin, and can become irritated from friction caused by clothing. Dr. Schlessinger notes that this rash tends to have firm, flesh-colored lesions that look similar to goosebumps.

2. Know Your Triggers

Any basic internet search will show you that young children and babies usually are the victims of heat rashes, but it’s also important to note that adults can also develop the rash under certain conditions.

Individuals who do a lot of sitting for example (think drivers and frequent travelers) tend to deal with a lot of pressure and sweat, making them a ideal candidates for heat rashes. Similarly, those who engage in a lot of physical activity are also at risk, as Dr. Schessinger notes that tight clothing and constant perspiration encourages rashes to form more easily.

But, Dr. Neal Schultz also stresses to pay attention to your climate, as people in warmer areas tend to deal with heat rashes more often. However, it’s still more than common to get heat rash in the winter, since all those layers can cause heat and friction on the skin.

3. Avoid Heat And Friction

Despite all the varying triggers, you’ve probably realized that the underlying cause of heat rashes usually remains the same. Most heat rashes are usually caused by a combination of overheated skin and friction, which in turn, can cause parts of the skin to become inflamed and irritated. In addition, factors like heavy and tight clothing, or sitting on the skin for prolonged periods of time, can also play a big part.

“Heat rash usually begins with excessive perspiration in a hot, humid environment,” states Dr. Schlessinger. “It’s also common in active adults and those patients who experience a severe fever accompanying an existing medical condition may also be more at risk.”

4. Watch For Early Warning Signs

Heat rash symptoms can vary depending on the person, but the biggest rash indicators to tend to include redness, swelling, and small bumps forming on the top of sweat ducts. More serious symptoms can include soreness and intense itching.

“In adults, heat rashes are usually found in skin folds and areas where clothing causes friction,” says Dr. Schlessinger. “In babies, heat rash typically appears on the neck, shoulders and chest, but it may also show in skin creases, underarms or the groin area.”

5. Treat It

Without a doubt, heat rashes can look pretty serious at first glance. However, conditions like these can be treated easily, and usually go away without any intensive treatment. Dr. Schultz recommends using cool compresses, cold baths, and calamine lotions to soothe any affected areas.

Dr. Tanzi also recommends wearing cool and loose clothing, while Dr. Schlessinger adds that limiting your time outdoors will help, as sweat and perspiration will only make your condition worse. Of course, since the condition isn’t serious, you’ll have to decide if healing the rash is worth missing out on outdoor activities.

Finally, Dr. Schlessinger says, make sure your skin is completely dry after a bath or shower before you put on clothes. Otherwise, your cute outfit will prevent that moisture from evaporating, which can exacerbate your symptoms.

6. Use Ointment Sparingly

Heat rash definitely is uncomfortable, but it usually does not require medical treatment. According to Dr. Schlessinger, the rash usually disappears on it’s own in two to three days, without any additional side effects.

While cortisone can be recommended to help keep swelling down, Dr. Schlessinger advises to avoid applying too many topical treatments, as they can lead to further irritation if you go overboard.

“There is no need to apply topical treatments, as these could irritate the skin and further block sweat glands,” Dr. Schlessinger says. “It’s a good idea to see your dermatologist if the rash does not disappear within a few days.”

7. Know When It’s Something Else

Heat rashes usually prove to be a mild but annoying condition that usually go away after some time. However, some cases can become severe enough to lead to larger infection. While this tends to be pretty rare, signs of greater infection include a fever, chills, and redness in the affected area. If you are experiencing warning signs like these, it’s more than wise to seek out professional help, before the condition gets any worse.

“If not treated properly, the infection could worsen, leading to scarring and other health concerns.,” warns Dr. Schlessinger. “If you experience heat rash with any unusual side effects, it’s always a good idea to consult your dermatologist, to make sure it’s nothing serious.”

Yes, heat rash is annoying. But it’s usually just a sign you’re doing summer right, so in general there’s no need to sweat it.

(Picture: Getty)

It’s not a good idea to complain about the lovely hot weather we’re having – that might jinx it.

When you have heat rash (also known as prickly heat or miliaria) though, it’s hard not to be a summer grump.

Heat rash differs from sunburn in that it’s not caused by exposure to the sun as such.

The bumps and rashes form when sweat ducts become blocked and the perspiration is trapped under the skin.

This usually happens where your clothes rub the skin, or in those folded bits of skin like armpits, elbows, and knees.

You’ll definitely know if you have heat rash, as it’ll likely feel itchy and prickly. The rash itself will likely have small bumps and blisters rather than being an even red like sunburn.

Once you have prickly heat, it’s not too easy to get rid of, but your best bet is to cool down the skin. Here are our best remedies for the condition.

(Picture: Getty)

Natural remedies

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Pour some oats into a lukewarm bath to soothe the skin and leave it silky soft too.

You’ll also find some comfort by simply wrapping a few ice cubes in a tea towel and applying it to the affected area for up to ten minutes.

If you have an aloe vera plant, you can cut a leaf open and use the gel on the rash, which helps heal and also relieves itching.

Wear loose clothes and try to keep out of hot and sweaty environments. Eventually it should go away on its own.

Over-the-counter treatments

As anyone who’s had chicken pox will know, calamine lotion is a saviour on spots and rashes.

This is your safest bet, although some people prefer to use a lanolin cream.

Try to avoid petroleum or mineral oil creams and ointments as these can block the pores and make things worse.

(Picture: Getty)

If it still won’t go away

If you’ve tried everything and the itch is still begging to be scratched, it might be worth a trip to the pharmacist or doctor.

Some very severe heat rashes may require topical steroids, or antibiotics if it becomes infected.

This is the case if you’re experiencing intense pain, swelling, and the rash showing no signs of letting up.

If your child has heat rash

It’s pretty common for children to get pricky heat, particularly because their skin naturally creases more (cute, chubby arms and bellies).

Avoid wrapping little ones up too warm when it’s hot out, and dress them in loose, breathable clothes made of cotton.

Make sure they drink plenty of water, and bathe or shower them in cool water to relieve itching.

As with in adults, this should go away on its own, but if they have a stiff neck, are bothered by light, seem confused, are shaking uncontrollably, have a fever you can’t control, have unusually cold hands and feet, or the rash doesn’t fade when you press a glass against it, call 999.

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Baby Heat Rash: How To Treat And Prevent It

Noticing that your baby has a rash can be alarming. The rash may be causing your little one discomfort. Worse still, you might not know where it came from. While there are many skin conditions that babies often experience, heat rash is one of the most common. In fact, it may even be the first type of rash to affect your child.

In this article, the baby experts at Mustela will explain everything you need to know about baby heat rash. We’ll tell you exactly what it is and how to identify it, as well as how to prevent and treat it. Follow the easy tips we provide in this post and your baby’s skin will be back to normal in no time.

What Is Baby Heat Rash?

As the name suggests, heat rash is a skin condition that develops when your baby’s skin gets too hot. More specifically, heat rash is caused when sweat gets stuck in your baby’s pores.

When your baby’s body becomes hot, their skin begins to produce sweat (which is a cooling mechanism for the human body). Normally, drops of sweat would simply be released through pores. However, babies have tiny pores that can easily become clogged. Heat rash is the result of sweat getting caught in those small pores as it tries to reach the surface of your little one’s skin.

Summer is the most common season for heat rash because we all sweat a bit more during the hot summer months. Humid climates can also contribute to heat rash. But this skin condition doesn’t only occur when the temperature is high! It can also form when it’s cold, especially if your baby is wearing many layers of clothing. Remember to de-layer when you go indoors.

Fortunately, heat rash isn’t a serious condition. It’s perfectly normal for babies to get heat rash, and with proper treatment, it usually goes away after a few days.

How Can I Tell If My Baby Has Heat Rash?

Babies have soft, delicate skin. This means that their skin is more sensitive and prone to conditions like dryness, eczema, and rashes. Baby heat rash can be identified by the following symptoms:

  • Patches of red, itchy skin
  • Tiny bumps or pimples
  • Slight inflammation or puffiness
  • Irritation and discomfort

If you’ve noticed these telltale signs on your baby’s skin, they may be suffering from heat rash. Keep an extra close eye on your baby’s chest, neck, diaper area, or armpits. Your baby is more likely to develop heat rash in these places because they are the areas that usually produce the most sweat. Clothing also tends to fit tightly around those parts of their body.

So how can you tell baby heat rash apart from other skin conditions, like eczema or cradle cap? Eczema will normally cause flaking and feel rough to the touch. Heat rash, on the other hand, causes small bumps or tiny blisters to form on the surface of your baby’s skin. Cradle cap also causes red, flaky skin, but this condition can only form on your baby’s head and forehead.

How Can I Prevent My Baby From Getting Heat Rash?

If your baby hasn’t yet developed a heat rash, consider yourself lucky! It’s a common ailment that most babies suffer from at one point or another. But this doesn’t mean baby heat rash is inevitable! There are several simple steps you can take to prevent it.

Keep Your Baby Cool

If your baby is nice and cool, their body doesn’t need to sweat. No sweating means no heat rash! If your baby’s cheeks become flushed, it’s probably a sign that they’re a bit too hot. Whenever you notice rosy red cheeks, move your baby to a cooler area.

Another option when you notice rosy red cheeks is to run cool water over your little one’s skin. The cool water will rinse away the sweat and body oil. Next, you can apply a cool, wet washcloth to lower your baby’s body temperature.

Keeping your baby cool also means checking your baby’s body temperature frequently. Babies tend to get hot quickly, much faster than adults do. So keeping an eye on your baby when you’re in a hot environment, such as outside, will help prevent a heat rash from developing.

And, mom, you know your little one best. If you notice your baby starting to get uncomfortable and fussy while outside — or even in a warm house — this is a sign that your baby may be too hot.

Don’t Spend Too Much Time In The Sun

While there’s nothing wrong with enjoying some sunshine with your little bundle of joy, don’t spend too long in the sun. Too much direct sunlight can cause sunburn and poses dangers for your baby’s sensitive skin. The heat the sunlight brings can also lead to baby heat rash.

Keep Your Baby’s Skin Dry

Moisturized skin is generally a good thing, but too much moisture can irritate your baby’s skin. This is especially true when heat is added to the mix. To prevent heat rash, make sure you are using a moisturizer formulated for your baby’s skin type so no excess moisture remains. Always make sure your baby is dry before dressing them or putting on a new diaper.

And remember to pay particular attention to your baby’s skin folds when drying your little one off after a bath. We’re talking about areas such as the neck, arms, legs, and diaper area. You’ll want to make sure these specific areas are completely dry.

Dress Your Baby In Layers

Babies are a bit fickle when it comes to temperatures. They get cold easily, but they can also get too hot very quickly. The easiest solution is to dress your little one in layers. Whenever your baby seems hot, simply remove a layer. When you notice that your baby is feeling cold again, just add another layer.

Avoid Dressing Your Baby In Tight Clothing

Tight-fitting clothing won’t allow your baby’s skin to breathe and can actually lead to heat rash. Moisture can easily lock into your baby’s skin when they were tight clothes, creating the perfect environment for a heat rash to develop. Dress your little one in loose clothing to prevent heat rash from occurring.

What Are The Best Ways To Treat Baby Heat Rash?

As we mentioned earlier, heat rash is easy to treat and normally goes away in two to three days, if not sooner. Here are the best ways to treat your baby’s heat rash.

Let Your Baby’s Skin Breathe And Dry Out

It’s extremely important to keep the areas affected by heat rash completely dry. This is essential to get rid of your baby’s heat rash. Why is keeping your little one’s skin dry so important? As we explained earlier in the post, heat rash is caused by sweat clogging your baby’s pores.

Letting your little one’s skin breathe is an excellent way to clear up heat rash because it dries their skin. Allow your baby to be naked (or just in a diaper) for as much time as possible until the rash goes away.

Adjust The Temperature In Your Home

One easy way to treat heat rash is to lower the temperature in your home. This will help keep your baby’s skin cool and dry, which will help the rash to clear up on its own. It’s particularly important to make sure your baby isn’t too hot while they sleep. Try turning a fan on low if your baby’s room tends to be too warm at night.

Apply Skin Care Products Made Especially For Babies

Using the right cream can work wonders when treating your baby’s heat rash. Just be sure to choose skin care products that are safe to use with infants and toddlers. Stelatria is an excellent product to use, as it will soothe your baby’s skin while also helping the rash to heal.

Use Mild Cleansers Rather Than Soaps

Most soaps are simply too harsh for a baby’s delicate skin and should be avoided whenever possible. Instead, use mild cleansers to bathe your baby as part of their daily hygiene routine. This is a great way to treat heat rash and will help keep your baby’s skin healthy. Mustela offers several baby-friendly cleansers, like our Soothing Cleansing Gel and our Gentle Cleansing Gel.

Be Gentle With Your Baby’s Skin

This may seem obvious, but it’s worth repeating: always be gentle with your little one’s skin! Be careful not to rub or scratch your baby’s skin when dressing them. You can even let your little one air-dry after a bath to cool off if you have the time.

If you’re not air-drying after bathtime, pat (rather than rub) your baby dry with a soft towel and only use gentle skin care products that are specially designed for a baby’s delicate skin.

Dress Your Baby In Loose Clothing

As we mentioned earlier, tight-fitting clothing may create an environment for a heat rash to develop. So if your little one already has a heat rash, dress them in loose-fitting clothing to help treat it and soothe their skin.

Loose-fitting clothing won’t rub against your baby’s skin and is, therefore, less likely to further irritate heat rash. Tight clothing may inflame the rash by rubbing against the affected area or by making your baby sweat even more. Try to dress your baby in loose clothing made from soft, breathable fabrics.

Give Your Baby Plenty Of Fluids

While your little one is fighting off a heat rash, they may be dehydrated. There’s very likely a lot of moisture locked in their skin and the rash. Plus, their body is working overtime to unclog their pores and eliminate the rash! Give your baby plenty of fluids so that their body has the hydration it needs until the heat rash is gone.

Limit The Time Your Baby Spends Tightly Wrapped Up

Although babies love the feeling of being swaddled, you should skip this comforting activity while fighting your baby’s heat rash. It’s also best to limit the time your baby spends in carriers, strollers, and car seats. These places can inflame heat rash, so it’s best to avoid them until your little one’s skin is back to normal.

Baby expert tip: Keep your baby’s fingernails trimmed. This way, if a heat rash appears, your little one won’t be able to scratch the area. Also, if your baby already has a heat rash, put little socks or mittens on their hands at night to prevent scratching while sleeping.

When Should You Call Your Doctor?

Heat rash is very rarely a serious condition. Usually, it resolves on its own, especially if you’re putting into practice the tips for treating and preventing heat rash already mentioned in this article. But be on the lookout for the following:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Increased pain
  • Pus draining from the bumps
  • Appetite loss
  • Rash lasting longer than three or four days

If you’re noticing any of these symptoms along with a general case of heat rash, reach out to your little one’s pediatrician for further assistance.

Baby Heat Rash In Review

Baby heat rash is never fun, but it’s very common and easily treatable. Keeping your baby cool, not spending too much time in the sun, and keeping your baby’s skin dry are a few ways to prevent your baby from getting heat rash in the first place.

Letting your baby’s skin breathe and dry out, adjusting the temperature in your home, and using mild cleansers, such as Mustela’s Soothing Cleansing Gel, can help treat your baby’s heat rash. Remember to be gentle with their skin and dress your little one in loose clothing if a heat rash develops. And don’t forget to keep your baby hydrated!

Follow the simple tips we’ve outlined above and your baby’s skin will be soft and smooth again in just a few days.

Home Remedies for Heat Rash

There are many home remedies for heat rash. Some soothe your skin or cool it down, while others reduce inflammation and itching while preventing infection.

It’s important to not scratch your rash. Scratching can lead to more irritation and possibly an infection.

Cool baths and showers

Heat rash usually eases up after the skin is cooled down. Bathing in cool water can help with this. Washing the skin gently can also unclog the pores. This is crucial, since clogged pores contribute to heat rash.

Ensure that you dry your skin properly after bathing. Skin that’s left wet can get irritated.

Fans and air conditioners

While your skin heals, avoid excessive sweating and humid air. Ventilation is important in letting your rash dry out and stay cool. Stay in an air-conditioned room, or use an air fan.

Light, moisture-wicking clothes

As your skin heals itself, it’s essential to avoid clothing that irritates your skin or makes you sweat more. Moisture-wicking clothing that’s light and loose-fitting can help your skin heal without irritating it.

Look for certain polyesters and other synthetic fabrics designed for fitness and sporting activities. These will be particularly suited for wicking moisture.

Cotton, while not a moisture-wicking fabric, is quite breathable. It might be comfortable to wear as well.

Ice packs or cold cloths

Cold compresses are great for soothing irritated skin. Face cloths soaked in cold water, or ice wrapped in a cloth, can reduce the pain and irritation associated with heat rash.

Apply an ice pack wrapped in a towel to the rash. Here’s more information about making your own cold compress.


Oatmeal is effective at reducing itching and inflammation. This makes it a useful home remedy for heat rash and a number of other skin conditions.

Put 1 or 2 cups of oatmeal in a lukewarm bath and soak for 20 minutes. Make sure the water isn’t hot so you don’t further irritate your skin.

You can also make a paste with oatmeal and water and apply it to your skin. Mix 1 part oatmeal to 1 part water, and mix until it forms a paste.

Try soothing colloidal oatmeal. Shop for it here.


Over-the-counter antihistamines — whether topical or oral — can relieve the itching associated with heat rash. If you’re giving an antihistamine to a child, be sure to talk to your pediatrician or pharmacist about which types are best.


Research suggests sandalwood is an anti-inflammatory and analgesic, meaning it may reduce pain. Sandalwood powder mixed with a little water and applied to the rash can reduce the burning, painful sensation associated with heat rash.

Mix 2 parts sandalwood powder with 1 part water to make a pastelike substance. Before applying it to your rash, test it on a small patch of unbroken skin. If you don’t have a reaction after an hour, you should be able to apply it to the rash without any further issues.

Buy sandalwood powder.

Baking soda

Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) can soothe itchy skin. It’s also something most of us have in our pantry. This makes it a great home remedy for heat rash and other itchy skin conditions.

Add 3 to 5 tablespoons of baking soda to a lukewarm bath and soak for about 20 minutes.

Aloe vera

Aloe vera is an anti-inflammatory and antiseptic that can cool down the skin while preventing infections. This can help soothe swelling and pain. Use aloe vera gel directly on your heat rash to relieve the discomfort.

Find aloe vera gel here.

Unscented talcum powder

Talcum powder reduces sweat by absorbing perspiration. In turn, this ensures the pores aren’t blocked.

Use unscented talcum powder, as scents might irritate your skin. Apply a little on sweat-prone areas like your underarms, backs of your knees, and inner thighs. Coat the skin and let it sit as if it were an antiperspirant deodorant.

Buy unscented talcum powder.


Neem (margosa) can be used on a number of skin rashes. Research has shown it has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. However, human studies are limited.

Neem powder can be combined with water to make a paste. This paste can be applied to the rash, left on for a few minutes, and washed off. Neem powder can also be added to a lukewarm bath.

Find talcum powder here.

Calamine lotion

Calamine lotion has a number of benefits for the skin, partly because it contains zinc oxide. It can help treat heat rash by soothing itchiness. Dab some calamine lotion onto your rash using a cotton pad. Reapply as needed.

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Epsom salt

Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) has a range of claimed health benefits. A lukewarm bath with a cup or two of Epsom salt may relieve itchiness, according to anecdotal accounts.

If you give a child an Epsom salt bath, make sure they don’t swallow any water. When consumed orally, Epsom salt is a laxative. In excess, it can cause diarrhea.

Buy Epsom salt.

Hydrocortisone cream

Hydrocortisone cream can be used to relieve heat rash. It’s available over the counter at any pharmacy and can be applied once or twice a day to soothe itching.

While you can use it short term on your baby’s skin, don’t apply it under the diaper. It could further irritate the skin.


What is miliaria?

Miliaria is a common skin disease caused by blockage and/or inflammation of eccrine sweat ducts. Miliaria is frequently seen in hot, humid or tropical climates, in patients in hospital, and in the neonatal period. Miliaria is also known as sweat rash.

Based on the level of the sweat duct obstruction, miliaria is divided into three subtypes:

  • Miliaria crystallina (sudamina), caused by obstruction of the sweat ducts close to the surface of the skin (epidermis);
  • Miliaria rubra, caused by obstruction of the sweat ducts deeper in the epidermis;
  • Miliaria profunda (tropical anhidrosis), the result of sweat leaking into the middle layer of skin (dermis).

Who gets miliaria?

  • Miliaria crystallina is most commonly seen in neonates with the mean age of 1 week, affecting up to 9% of all neonates. It can also occur in adults with fever.
  • Miliaria rubra is the most common form of miliaria. It is seen in children and in up to 30% of adults who move to a tropical environment or are unexpectedly exposed to heat and humidity.
  • Miliaria profunda is rare and presents in adult males. It is a complication of repeated episodes of miliaria rubra.

What causes miliaria?

Miliaria results from sweating. The main contributing causes are:

  • Immature sweat ducts in a newborn child
  • A hot and humid environment
  • Intense physical activity
  • Fever
  • Occlusion of the skin with non-porous dressings or synthetic clothing against the skin
  • Prolonged bed rest.

Other diseases and treatments that have been associated with miliaria are:

  • Adverse reaction to medication (isotretinoin, doxorubicin)
  • Stevens-Johnson syndrome / toxic epidermal necrolysis
  • Genetic disease (Morvan syndrome and pseudohypoaldosteronism type I)
  • Radiotherapy

What are the clinical features of miliaria?

  • Miliaria crystallina appears as 1–2 mm superficial clear blisters that easily break. The blisters can look like beads of sweat. There is no inflammation. The blisters are usually seen widely spread on the head, neck, and upper trunk.
  • Miliaria rubra is the most common type of miliaria results in red, 2–4 mm, non-follicular papules and papulovesicles. They are very itchy. Background erythema is often present. In children, miliaria affects the skin folds of the neck, axilla or groin. In adults, miliaria often affects the upper trunk, scalp, neck and flexures, particularly areas of friction with clothing.
  • Miliaria pustulosa is a variant of milia rubra in which there are pustules.
  • Miliaria profunda describes asymptomatic deep papules. The flesh–coloured, 1–3 mm diameter papules usually arise on the trunk and extremities.

What are the complications of miliaria?

The complications of miliaria include:

  • Secondary bacterial infection, most commonly caused by staphylococci
  • Impaired thermoregulation
  • Hyperhidrosis in non-affected areas.

How is miliaria diagnosed?

Miliaria is diagnosed by its typical clinical presentation. In severe cases or repeated episodes, punch biopsy can be useful.

What is the differential diagnosis for miliaria?

Skin disorders that present with papules, vesicles or pustules that look similar to miliaria, include:

  • Herpes simplex
  • Fungal infections
  • Bacterial folliculitis
  • Acne
  • Acute generalised exanthematous pustulosis (AGEP)
  • Toxic erythema of newborn
  • Grover disease.

What is the treatment for miliaria?

Management of miliaria requires heat and humidity to be controlled to reduce sweating and the avoidance of irritation to the skin. Strategies to avoid sweating and reduce irritation follow.

  • Work in an air-conditioned office for at least a few hours a day.
  • Sleep in a ventilated, cool bedroom.
  • Move away from a tropical climate.
  • Avoid excessive clothing and tight clothing.
  • Avoid excessive soap and irritants.
  • Wear shirts and blouses made of breathable synthetic fabrics or cotton.
  • Remove wet clothing.

Treatment of miliaria may include:

  • Cool water compresses
  • Calamine lotion to relieve discomfort; because of its drying effect, an emollient may be required.
  • Treatment of fever with antipyretic such as acetoaminophen/paracetamol
  • Mild topical steroids
  • Antiseptics and anti-staphylococcal antibiotics for secondary infection.

What is the outcome for miliaria?

Most cases of miliaria resolve within a day or two after changing to a cooler environment without any treatment or complications.

Can Warm Weather Cause Rashes?

What Causes Heat Rashes?

A heat rash, also called prickly heat, can affect both adults and children when it’s hot and humid outside. A heat rash happens when sweat gets trapped under your skin. Symptoms of a heat rash can be mild (slight blisters) to serious (red, deep bumps). A heat rash that is not infected can feel very itchy or tickly.

What Does a Stress Rash Look Like?

A stress rash typically appears as hives. If you are under a lot of stress, it can also inhibit the healing of skin rashes from other causes.

How Soon Does Heat Rash Appear?

How soon a heat rash appears in adults and children will depend on the amount of exposure to heat and humidity. Also, if the person is wearing too many clothes or if the clothing is tight, both can have effects on how fast a heat rash develops.

When Should I Go to the Doctor for a Rash?

Your or your child’s heat rash usually will heal by itself if you cool the skin and avoid exposure to hot and humid weather. See your doctor if you or your child has the heat rash for a few days or more, the rash looks like it’s getting worse, or you see signs of infection, such as:

  • Swelling, pain, redness, or warmth
  • Pus drains from the blisters
  • Lymph nodes swell in the neck, armpit, or groin
  • Fever
  • Chills

What Does Sun Rash Look Like?

A sun rash that is from exposure to sunlight can cause a rash that has small, red blisters over small or large areas of skin that have been exposed to sunlight. A sun rash can happen quickly or appear hours later and can be quite itchy.

What Does a Photosensitivity Rash Look Like?

If you’re photosensitive, it means you have unusually strong reactions to sunlight. Just a small amount of time in the sun can cause a photosensitivity rash. A photosensitive rash can develop as a butterfly rash that develops over the nose and cheeks after time in the sun. Other rashes of this type can appear as hives.

How Do You Make a Heat Rash Go Away?

You can make a heat rash go away by:

  • Holding (not rubbing) a cold compress on the rash
  • Rinsing the rash with cool water and letting it air dry
  • Wearing loose clothing
  • Bathing in a colloidal oatmeal bath
  • Applying a natural remedy ointment that contains no more than 15% arnica oil
  • Drinking lots of cool water

If these methods do not improve the rash after a day or two, seek medical care. If you experience severe symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, vomiting and nausea, see your doctor.

How Do I Stop a Sweat Rash?

The best way to stop a sweat rash is to keep the skin as dry as possible. Powder can help keep the skin dry. Frequently dabbing sweaty areas will a soft and absorbent cloth can also help.

Does Heat Rash Hurt?

A heat rash will typically sting and feel itchy. If there is more pain involved, it could be a sign of infection, so see your doctor.

To learn more about rashes or to set up a screening, make an appointment today with Keys Dermatology of Key West and Islamorada, FL. Our providers offer the highest quality of dermatological services in a compassionate and state of the art setting.

Heat rash is usually harmless, but can be itchy.

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What is heat rash?

Heat rash — sometimes called prickly heat or miliaria, is a harmless but very itchy skin rash. It causes small red spots in places where sweat collects, such as the armpits, back, under the breasts, chest, groin, crooks of elbows and knees, and the waist.

It happens when your body sweats more than usual, so it’s usual to get it during the summer months or when you are in a hot climate.

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What are the symptoms of heat rash?

Heat rash causes:

  • tiny red spots or clear blisters. In babies, these are often in the skin folds, on the face or in the nappy area
  • an irritating itch and prickling sensation
  • redness and mild swelling of the affected area

Symptoms of heat rash last 2 to 3 days.

CHECK YOUR SYMPTOMS — Use our rashes and skin problems Symptom Checker and find out if you need to seek medical help.

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What causes heat rash?

Heat rash is caused by a blockage and inflammation of sweat ducts in heat and high humidity.

It is common in newborn babies as their sweat glands haven’t developed properly yet. It can also happen in older children.

When should I see my doctor?

If the area becomes infected, you or your child may need antibiotics. See your doctor if:

  • the blisters fill with pus
  • the area is getting more red and swollen or feels warm
  • the rash lasts more than 3 days
  • you or your child are unwell or have a fever
  • you or your child have swollen lymph nodes

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How is heat rash diagnosed?

Your doctor will diagnose heat rash by looking at the rash. They may take a swab to rule out an infection.

How is heat rash treated?

Heat rash normally goes away without treatment.

If you’re experiencing heat rash, here are some things that may help:

  • When possible try to avoid sweating. Make sure there is good ventilation.
  • If your baby has heat rash, make sure they are not swaddled in too many garments and avoid plastic mattresses.
  • Try to wear loose cotton clothing which can help prevent you overheating and making the itch worse. Avoid fabrics which irritate your skin, like wool or scratchy fabrics.
  • A cool bath or shower may help provide short-term relief from any itching, but excessive showering or bathing should be avoided as this can reduce the natural oils that protect the skin and may make it worse.
  • There are medicines available to ease the symptoms of itching. Speak to your pharmacist for further advice and to make sure any medicines you take are suitable for you.
  • Your pharmacist may recommend calamine lotion (which helps ease itching) or antihistamine medicines.
  • Your pharmacist may also recommend a low-strength hydrocortisone cream. Hydrocortisone cream is a type of steroid cream used to treat inflammation.

You many need antibiotics if the area becomes infected.

Speak to your pharmacist for advice on medicines available to ease the symptoms of itching.

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Can heat rash be prevented?

Try to dress babies in appropriate clothing for the weather, without too many layers. Make sure you dry in the baby’s skin folds after a bath.

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Treatment heat rash adults

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