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Medic for Prickly Heat

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While summer is a particularly pleasant time of year for many, it can turn into a nightmare for those who suffer from prickly heat, also called sweat rash or heat rash. In medical terms, this condition is known as miliaria. It is a common skin problem experienced by adults, children and even infants.

It mostly happens to people who live in hot, humid climates. Living in such conditions leads to excessive sweating that can cause the sweat glands to become blocked.

When they subsequently burst open, it irritates the skin and results in prickly heat. Other causes of prickly heat are bacterial infections and underdeveloped sweat glands. Being overweight and leading a sedentary lifestyle can increase the risk for it.

Prickly heat can appear anywhere on the body, but it usually affects the feet, back, neck, groin, hands, armpits, abdomen and upper chest. Common symptoms are mild inflammation, stinging or prickling sensations, and small red round bumps or rashes that itch.

Typically prickly heat resolves naturally as the weather conditions improve. But when it strikes in the heat of the summer, the first thing you must do is cool down your body.

You can stay in an air-conditioned room, or take a cold shower or bath to minimize the prickly sensations on your skin. You can also try some home remedies that are very effective and do not have side effects.

home remedies for prickly heat

Here are the top 10 home remedies for prickly heat.

1. Oatmeal

Oatmeal is a popular treatment for prickly rash due to its anti-irritating, anti-inflammatory and soothing properties. It will have a soothing effect on the skin and give instant relief from inflammation and itching caused by prickly heat.

  1. Add one cup of finely ground oatmeal powder to a bathtub filled with cool water. Stir well, until the water gets a milky color.
  2. Soak in this bath for 20 to 30 minutes.
  3. Pat dry your body with a soft towel.
  4. Do this twice daily for a week to get relief.

2. Cold Treatment

Using a cold compress over the affected area will provide immediate relief from inflammation, prickling sensations and itching.

  • Wrap a few ice cubes in a dishcloth. Place it on the affected areas for five to 10 minutes at a time. Repeat every four to six hours for two to three days. This will prevent the rashes from getting worse and spreading further.
  • Alternatively, you can soak a cotton cloth in cold water, wring out the excess water and place it over the affected area for five to 10 minutes. Repeat three or four times a day for about a week.
  • You can also take a cold shower or bath as needed to reduce the intensity of prickly heat symptoms.

3. Sandalwood Powder

Sandalwood has soothing properties that can effectively eliminate prickly heat symptoms. It can also help cool your body temperature, which is essential for fast recovery.

prickly heat home remedy
Sandalwood Powder Home Remedy for Prickly Heat
  • Prepare a paste by mixing together equal amounts of sandalwood powder and rose water. Apply this paste on the affected skin, and leave it on until it dries. Rinse it off with cold water. Follow this remedy twice daily for a week.
  • Alternatively, mix two tablespoons each of sandalwood powder and coriander powder with enough rose water to make a thick paste. Smear the paste on the affected area and let it dry on its own. Wash with cold water and pat dry your skin. Repeat twice daily for a week.
  • You can also sprinkle sandalwood powder as a talcum over the affected areas after taking a shower.

4. Baking Soda

Baking soda is another useful remedy for prickly heat treatment. It works as a gentle exfoliating agent that helps unclog pores by removing dead skin cells, dirt and other impurities. This in turn relieves the itching and inflammation associated with prickly heat.

  1. Add one teaspoon of baking soda to one cup of cold water.
  2. Soak a clean washcloth in the solution and wring out the excess water.
  3. Put the washcloth over the affected area for five to 10 minutes.
  4. Repeat four or five times a day for a week.

5. Fuller’s Earth

Fuller’s earth, also known as multani mitti, is another popular home remedy for treating prickly heat. The medicinal properties of fuller’s earth will lessen the irritation and reduce the inflammation as well as itching.

  1. Mix five tablespoons of fuller’s earth with two or three tablespoons of rose water to make a thick paste.
  2. Apply the paste on the affected areas.
  3. Allow it to dry on its own, and then wash it off with cold water.
  4. Use this simple treatment once daily for a week.

6. Margosa Leaves

Margosa leaves, also known as neem, have anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties that can help control the symptoms of prickly heat like itching and inflammation.

  • Grind a handful of fresh neem leaves into a paste. Apply the paste on the affected skin and allow it to dry on its own. Rinse it off with cool water. Follow this treatment once daily for a week.
  • Alternatively, you can simmer a handful of neem leaves in two cups of water for 20 minutes. Strain the solution and allow it to cool. Soak a cotton cloth in the solution and place it over the affected area for five to 10 minutes. Do this four or five times daily for a week.
  • You can also create a paste of 15 to 20 crushed neem leaves mixed with one-half cup of gram flour (also known as besan) and a little water. Spread it on the affected area, leave it on for 15 minutes and then rinse it off with cool water. Use it daily for a few days or about a week.

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17 thoughts on “Medic for Prickly Heat”

  1. I previously posted this here on Channel 4’s embarrassing bodies but it seems to be gone since so re-posting it here as I think it has helped a lot of people over the years and it has worked every year since for my wife. The original post is below…

    I feel like we may have found the solution to my wife’s prickly heat and I want to share it with those looking for a solution, especially, when I didn’t see this posted anywhere during my searches.

    She literally tried every preventative measure we could find and we tried every suggestion people gave us because everyone seems to think they know the answer. Truth be told, I’m sure a lot of these things worked for other people but not my wife.

    So let’s do a quick run down on everything she tried:

    Before we start, you can assume we did all the no brainer stuff like trying to keep cool, not pilling on the creams too much, not using cheap sun creams, showering before and after being in the sun and regular dips in the water and the rest, so assume all that and we’ll get to the suggestions for people who really have to struggle with this, bar the suggestion of staying out of the sun, that’s a pretty annoying suggestion, please don’t make it!

    1) Hypo Allergenic Sun Creams: These were one of the first thing she tried this year and we brought Soltan and Piz Buin factor 15s and they did seem to help but like many of these things, there may have been a marginal improvement and it’s hard to attribute it to any of these things. Marginal though, still aint gona cut it for anyone who has had this.

    2) Antihistamine Tablets: She started taking these 2 weeks before we went on holidays. It didn’t work last year and it didn’t work this year. I don’t think it made any difference at all!

    3) Vitamin C: Ok so this one really seems like a bit of an old wives tale but she was willing to try anything so we gave it a go this year. Of course it did absolutely nothing, although at this stage, the marginal improvement we had this year before the final solution, as apposed to last year could be down to any of these.

    4) Non Perfumed Toiletries: So this is a common one you hear, and who knows, maybe that is what causes it for some people. For my wife, taking non perfumed, shower gel, soap, shampoo etc. made no difference.

    5) Exfoliating: she had a rough glove thing and used the non perfumed stuff I mentioned, literally nearly taking a layer of skin off with that thing did nothing either except make her raw and grumpyJ.

    6) E45 Cream: I long held the believe that this was simply a case of blocked pores, so keeping them open and not blocking them up should be the key. This stuff sounded then ideal because you put it on a while before the sun cream and it’s supposed to open your pores. He presto right! No blocked pores after you put on your sun cream! Yup you guessed it, no workie and I really had my money on that one.

    7) Bare Minerals Sun Block: So my wife uses “Bare Minerals” products for her skin and she has very soft delicate skin I guess you could say. So anyway she swears by their gear and loves their products. So she came across this makeup based powdered sun block and decided to give it a go, I suppose it was mainly to be used on the face but again, it seemed to totally make sense, if it was the creams blocking up the pores, surely this was the perfect solution. Nope, if anything she was worse after it.

    So as we entered the final few days of the holiday, she was pretty down about it because in my mind, she really, really had tried pretty much everything this year and so it wasn’t until I was reading something on a web page that made me think. It mentioned how people who suffer from prickly heat or heat rash can have 3 times more of a bacterial called Staphylococcus epidermidis on their skin than those that don’t. We all have this, just seems people who get the rash have more. As it happened, we had a bar of Dettol soap, antibacterial soap with us. One of the many weapons in her arsenal and it occurred to me, if these bacteria could be part of the problem, could using the soap in heavy quantities help? So she tried this, lathering herself head to foot in heaps of the Dettol soap, I mean really pilling it on now before we put the sun cream on and headed out into the sun and low and behold, that evening when we got back to the room, no flare up. The second day did the same thing and that evening, npo flare up and the prickly heat from the rest of the week was nearly gone. Unfortunately, that was the last day of sun on the holiday and we had to head home the next day but we were pretty convinced that we had found the solution.

    I should just mention that my wife focused primarily on prevention and we didn’t pay too much attention to treatment because at that stage, you are just peeing against the wind. So just in terms of treatment from earlier in the holiday, the Hydrocortisone Cream did nothing for her but she found the calamine lotion excellent for taking down the prickly heat rash in a matter of hours instead of days.

    So there you go, solution, at least for my wife for the prevention of Prickly Heat Rash is simply:

    Heavy Lathering of Antibacterial Soap in the shower before applying hypoallergenic sun cream and I think the antihistamine tablets and non perfumed toiletries might be no harm either.

    I hope this helps someone else!

    1. I too suffer from really bad prickly heat and have done for the past 25 years. I have read your email and you have now given me a glimmer of hope. I am currently on holiday abroad and have once again got prickly heat after the third day, ruining my holiday with having to stay indoors. I will try an antibacterial soap in the near future and will let you know.

    2. Thank you, for reposting that story, Dennis. My child, too has this problem and I’ve been searching for a method of relief for her. I’m going to try your suggestions. Hopefully, she will be able to play in the summer heat with her family and friends ;-(

    3. Hi, already mentioned
      staphylococcus is definitely the problem. Over production of this has been a problem all my life from styes in the eye to impetigo to all sorts of child hood infections. There was only one doctor ever who look over all my notes for most of my life and told me that this was my life long problem. So antibacterial deep scrubbing is a key to start off a couple of weeks early before your holiday. Get someone else to help. then always dose up on antihistamine they wont hurt and will all ways do good……there non drowsy and you can still enjoy your alcohol. Finally and this I can never remember with out researching and its a alternative/voodoo suggestion lol sorry………..B6 and lots of it . Not a B complex otherwise it could bring you out in a further rash. good luck to all . it is the worst thing in the world to spoil a holiday. reply also if you suffer pompholyx I’d to hear .

  2. I also suffered from prickly hear for years until I started using P20 sunscreen. Its great as doesn’t block pores. Pity I haven’t remembered to pack it for my holiday now this minute in Hurghada Egypt as yes I’ve got it. Will get some dettol soap if I can as this also works.

  3. Me too I suffer every year but love the sun I have a 3 year old that wants me in the pool but I have to stay in the shade !! I will definitely be trying this as I’ve tried EVERYTHING else xx thanks xx

  4. You may also try the neem leaf recipies…. They are easily available and far more antibacterial than dettol soap…

  5. thank you for the solutions.I am going to try these and hopefully have a better summer! thanks again!

  6. I lived in Darwin for many years and sweating is a way of life . I found to fix prickly heat use pure maize cornflower before going to bed and by morning its all sorted.

  7. I suffer from this every winter and scratch my skin red raw every night. It affects my sleep and i am constantly tired 🙁 antihistamine tablets only work for the first few hours i’m asleep, then the prickly itching starts.

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