Make the Pain Go Away: Heat Rash


Summer might be winding down, but the temperature sure isn’t—and neither is the resulting plague of heat rash. But you don’t have to end up looking like a box of Red Hots to enjoy the final days of summer sun—armed with a few tips from dermatologist Anthony Rossi, you can bask in the heat, rash-free.

Why It’s a Drag: Contrary to what the name implies, heat rash, a.k.a. miliaria, isn’t a direct result of 100 degree temperatures. “It’s caused by occlusion, or blockage, of the sweat ducts near the surface of the skin and manifests as small, clear blisters or red papules,” Rossi explains. Which, in simpler terms, means your sweat is seeping back into your sweat glands, clogging them and causing a seriously irritated aftermath. Worse yet, this rash is known for being particularly itchy.

Who Suffers Most: “Infants are especially susceptible to heat rash,” Rossi says. Because their sweat ducts aren’t fully developed yet, they can rupture more easily, trapping excess perspiration beneath the skin during the process. In other words, if you have a baby, keep that baby cool. That said, it’s not uncommon for adults to experience heat rash, especially in skin folds like the armpits, groin and elbow creases, or in areas where clothing may be constantly rubbing up against the skin and irritating the sweat ducts.

Make it Go Away: “The absolute best ways to prevent heat rash are to (a) allow the skin to cool off periodically throughout the day, to (b) avoid occlusive fabrics, like nylon, polyester and spandex, and to (c) wash yourself directly after any heavy bouts of sweating,” Rossi says. “All of which will help wick away perspiration, preventing it from clogging your sweat ducts and causing heat rash.”

So if you feel yourself sweating like a dog on a particularly hot day, do as the Romans do, and hop in the shower—or a kiddie pool if you’re feeling festive. Your sweat glands will appreciate it.