Prickly Heat is an annoying condition characterised by raised red spots that sting or prickle the skin. The condition most commonly occurs on the face, neck, back, chest and thighs and is most common during hot or humid weather.
- Skin rash
- Red skin around rash
- Itching, prickling sensation
- Mild swelling
What causes Prickly Heat?
Prickly heat occurs when a person sweats more than usual and the sweat gland ducts get clogged with dead skin cells or bacteria. Sweat then becomes trapped beneath the skin where it seeps into nearby tissue leading to irritation and the characteristic red rash.
How is the condition treated?
Prickly heat is not a serious condition and rarely requires any specific treatment. Most rashes will disappear naturally after a few days. But to ease symptoms you can apply calamine lotion (purchasable at the pharmacy) or a low-strength hydrocortisone cream (steroid cream) also available over-the-counter. Hydrocortisone cream should not be used on the face. Antibacterial soaps can also help shorten the duration of symptoms.
Alternative Remedies & Self-help
- Where possible avoid excessive heat and humidity. Exposure to heat will only make you sweat more, and could make the rash worse.
- Spend some time in the shade (or take a small fan outside with you) or it possible, spend a few hours a day in an air-conditioned room.
- Wear loose cotton clothing. Avoid wearing synthetic fibres, such as nylon and polyester, as they trap heat more easily than natural fibres.
- Keep your skin cool. A cool bath or shower will help prevent sweating and soothe your skin.