Prickly heat, or heat rash, is not a serious condition however it can definitely be uncomfortable during the summer months especially due to the itch all over your body. If you think you have prickly heat, the good news is that there are many natural remedies for prickly heat that combat the itching and alleviate the symptoms.
What is prickly heat?
Prickly heat, also known as sweat retention syndrome, is an increasingly common disorder of the sweat glands which extend deep into the skin. It is also referred to as sweat rash because rising temperatures in the summer can result in blocked sweat glands which cause inflammation and itching. Prickly heat rash may also occur as a result of light sensitivity.
Symptoms of prickly heat
The symptoms of prickly heat include small red spots which are itchy and have a prickly sensation. There may be mild swelling and redness in the area.
How to prevent and treat prickly heat
The key to preventing prickly heat is to keep the body temperature and skin as cool as possible which means you will sweat less and so there are fewer blocked glands. Wear loose clothing especially lightweight cotton clothes and ensure the body is hydrated.
Often wearing loose clothing only its own may not be sufficient. The herb Stinging nettle, or Urtica, is often recommended and used for prickly heat treatment. Stinging nettle may help in the prevention of prickly heat in a variety of ways. Stinging nettle is a natural remedy which works to inhibit histamine which causes the rash and it also works as a great detoxifier removing irritants from the bloodstream that may arise from exposure to sunlight. Stinging Nettle is available in capsule and tincture forms and should be taken daily preferably two weeks before your holiday and whilst on holiday.
Several studies suggest increasing your daily intake of vitamin C to between 500mg and 1000mg a day. Vitamin C displays anti-inflammatory properties and also provides antioxidant support possibly helping to fight the damaging radicals released due to sun exposure.
Use a sunscreen that does not block the pores and trap sweat such as Green People’s Scent Free Sun Lotion SPF30.
There are many prickly heat creams and powders available on the market. Many prickly heat creams contain antihistamines to calm the heat rash however depending upon the formulation, some may be heavy and actually cause pores to be blocked.
Thyme Out is a solution containing thyme extract in an alcohol base which cools the skin rapidly keeping its temperature down and eases the itching. Aloe Vera gel is another option which helps to calm the heat rash and cool skin.