Summers spell a scorching hot sun, unbearably high temperatures, and excessive sweating. Spending a day under the sweltering sun leaves you with those tiny reddish, itchy rashes. Prickly heat is not a grave condition, but is something that needs to be taken care of in the right way. Here are some time-tested and effective home remedies for prickly heat.
But before you glance through these tips, you need to understand what exactly prickly heat is and what its triggers are. This will help you to handle it better, equipping you with the necessary measures to prevent it.
What Causes Prickly Heat?
While prickly heat is common in summers, they could lift their ugly head in winters too. The excessive sweat clogs the skin pores, which, in turn trigger these rashes. This happens when your perspiration gets trapped under the skin, instead of evaporating. That is why prickly heat rashes are seen commonly along skin folds, such as neck, waist, armpits, and groin. Researchers have not found the exact reasons behind the clogging of sweat ducts but there are several contributory factors involved.
Common factors triggering miliaria (prickly heat) could be:
- Wearing clothes made from synthetic fibers that prevent perspiration from evaporating
- Intensive exercising or physical activity that involves high levels of sweating
- Using oil-based cosmetics leading to clogged sweat glands
- Wearing excessively warm clothes in winter triggering perspiration
- Certain medications, such as those for ADHD or blood pressure
Babies are extremely prone to prickly heat. The sweat ducts of newborns remain under-developed for quite a long time, and hence are prone to quick blocking. Newborn babies can develop prickly heat if they are placed in incubators or wrapped up too snugly in blankets.
Can Prickly Heat Be Painful?
Under normal circumstances, prickly heat is not painful. It is an annoying rash that tends to cause a lot of itching along with stinging or prickling sensation. The itching can result in secondary infection. It is not life-threatening, but at times the blisters can be tender to touch.
Simple Home Remedies for Prickly Heat:
Thankfully, there are numerous home remedies for prickly heat rash that you can try your hand at. It is advisable to use two or three remedies simultaneously for quicker and more effective healing.
1. Oatmeal Bath:
Run an oatmeal bath and soak yourself in it for 15 to 20 minutes. You also can use the oatmeal to scrub the affected areas gently. It will help to exfoliate the skin and clear the blocked sweat ducts. This home remedy for prickly heat is great for getting relief from the itching and inflammation, if any.
2. Aloe Vera Gel:
The anti-bacterial and antiseptic properties of aloe vera help in easing various types of skin rashes, including those of prickly heat. Just pluck an aloe leaf and cut it. Squeeze out the natural gel in the leaf onto the affected part of the body. It will help alleviate the inflammation and also ease the redness. If you cannot lay your hands on an aloe plant, use your aloe rich moisturizing lotion. An amazing skin softening and hydrating agent, it prevents skin from dehydration. The antibiotic properties of aloe vera gel heal as well as prevent infection in the affected region.
3. Chickpea Flour:
Make a thick paste of chickpea flour using some water. Apply the paste onto the affected part and let it stand for about 15 minutes. Use cool water to wash off the paste. This home remedy will provide relief from the itching and prickling sensation.
4. Fuller’s Earth:
Fuller’s earth or Multani mitti has long been used for treating prickly heat. Take four tablespoons of Fuller’s earth and mix a few drops of rose water to make a paste. Apply the paste on the affected areas and wash off with cold water after about three hours.
5. Baking Soda:
The anti-bacterial properties of baking or cooking soda help in preventing infections at the site, while soothing the skin. Make a mild solution of baking soda with some cool water. Dip a clean, soft, washcloth in the solution and gently rub on the affected portions of the skin to heal prickly heat.
6. Raw potato:
Slice up some medium sized potatoes and apply the slices on the affected area. You also can dab the areas with the slices. It will ease the itchy and prickly sensation.
Take some watermelon, de-seed it and make a pulp. Apply the pulp on your rash for immediate relief. You can also gulp down a glass of crushed watermelon to heal from within by hydrating your skin.
Ginger has long been used in Asian culture for its medicinal properties. It also can help ease the itching and stinging sensation caused by prickly heat. Grate some fresh ginger root and boil it in water. Let the water cool and then use a sponge or clean, soft washcloth to dab your skin with this solution.
9. Ice Cubes:
Take some ice cubes and put it in water. Once the water gets chilled, use a clean, soft washcloth to dab the water on your skin. Alternatively, you can also rub ice cubes on your skin to get relief from that prickling sensation.
This grandmother’s home remedy for prickly heat is extremely effective if you experience a burning sensation and itching. Take a mallet and crush the camphor into powder. Mix a little margosa (neem) oil in the powder to make a gooey paste. Apply the paste on your skin. It will feel cool and refreshing.
11. Coriander Leaves And Sandalwood Powder:
Grind some dried coriander leaves and mix sandalwood powder. Use rose water to make a thick paste. Apply the paste on your skin like a face pack. Let it stand till the paste dries and then use cool water to rinse it off. Coriander is known for its antiseptic properties, while sandalwood helps to ease the burning and prickling sensation.
12. Henna Powder:
If you do not mind a reddish tinge on your skin, you can use this home remedy for prickly heat rash. Make a thick paste of henna powder using some water. Apply it on your rash. Leave it for about 15 to 20 minutes before rinsing it off.
13. Lime Juice:
The potent antioxidants in lime juice can help hasten the healing process. Squeeze a fresh lime and add some water. You can sweeten it with honey. Drink three to four glasses every day. You will notice the prickly heat disappearing in about 14 days.
Asian cultures use honey for its antibacterial properties. You too can avail these properties by applying natural honey directly on your skin as long as you do not mind your skin being sticky. Let the honey stand for about 15 to 20 minutes before washing it off.
15. Indian Gooseberries:
Indian gooseberry or amla is filled with vitamins and vital nutrients. Eating them will strengthen your immune system to fight the prickly heat. Halve a few Indian gooseberries and place them in an earthen vessel. Pour some water over the pieces and cover it. Let it stand overnight. The following morning, use the same water to mash the gooseberries. Strain and add honey. Drink this concoction every day for a week to facilitate fast healing.
One of the main problems with prickly heat is the petrifying burning sensation. You can ease it by applying peeled slices of cucumber on your skin. Alternatively, you can mash the cucumber and apply the pulp on the skin. Let the pulp stand for about 30 minutes before washing it off.
The tropical fruit papaya is also one of the great home remedies for prickly heat rash. Mash a ripe papaya and apply it on your skin. Let it stay for about 20 to 25 minutes before washing it off with tap water. This will ease the burning sensation and also provide relief from the itching.
18. Talcum Powder:
Good old talcum powder can also be used to hasten the healing process. Be sure not to use scented talcum powder, as it can irritate your skin even further. Go for herbal talcum powder and apply it liberally all over your body after you bathe. It will help to keep your skin dry in hot, humid conditions and this, in turn, helps to heal the rash quickly.
19. Lavender Essential Oil:
Soothing and healing, lavender oil is rich with antibiotic properties. Add about five drops of this oil to tepid water. Take a bath with this water to ease the heat rashes. You can even apply lavender oil to affected area or just dip a cloth in cold water containing this essential oil and dab on affected area.
Neem is well known for its astringent, antibacterial, and antiseptic properties. It is one of the most widely used home remedies for various skin disorders, including prickly heat. Crush neem leaves to make a coarse paste and apply it to affected area for quick relief from the rashes. Alternatively, you can use neem oil along with powdered camphor to be used in a similar manner to heal prickly heat.
Prickly Heat And Diet:
While heat and humidity are the main culprits for prickly heat, certain foods can also aggravate this condition. Red wine, coffee, and spicy foods, when consumed in excessive amounts, could worsen the symptoms. Hence, it is advisable to restrict the quantity, or the best to avoid these foods while you have the rash.
Natural practitioners suggest drinking a lot of fluids when you are suffering from prickly heat. You can drink plain water and/or fresh fruit and vegetable juices to keep your skin healthy and hydrated when you are suffering from prickly heat. This will help your skin heal quicker. Avoid adding sugar to the homemade juices. Sucking on watermelon and musk melon pieces can also help you beat prickly heat.
There are some natural and holistic healers who suggest consuming nettle tea. They believe that it helps to cleanse the liver, removing the toxins from the body that are responsible for the heat rash.
How To Prevent Prickly Heat?
Prevention is certainly better than cure for prickly heat. While there is no dearth of natural remedies for prickly heat, preventing its occurrence is ideal. Here is how you can thwart off the itchy rashes:
- Choose to wear light and comfortable cotton clothing during the scorching summers.
- Avoid tight fitting clothing, as it prevents air circulation.
- When it is too hot, cool off your body by taking a shower or staying indoors under a fan or in an air conditioned room.
- Do not use harsh soaps and moisturizers during hot season.
- Avoid slathering on creams and lotions during summers, as they can block your pores and cause prickly heat
- Wear loose clothing while sleeping and ensure your bedroom is well-ventilated.
- During hot months, always bathe in cool water and wash yourself well to remove all traces of perspiration, especially from the folds of the skin.
- After working out, take a shower to get rid of the perspiration.
Prickly heat is, unarguably, an annoying skin rash. It heals on its own, but when you get it, it’s a real nuisance. That is why you should be looking at home remedies to provide you relief and speed up the healing process. Furthermore, try to spend most of your time in the shade and avoid activities that will cause you to perspire. Should you perspire, take a shower immediately, if possible.
In case you notice a secondary infection or you experience pain and swelling, it is time to forget about home remedies and head straight to the doctor. An infection should never be ignored, especially if you have painful and swollen lymph nodes.
Use these simple, easy-to-use home remedies for prickly heat to your advantage and enjoy quick relief from itching and that burning sensation.