Prickly heat, also known as miliaria rubra, is an itchy rash of small, raised red spots that cause a stinging or prickling sensation on the skin. Prickly heat can develop anywhere on the body, but it usually appears on your face, neck, back, chest or thighs a few days after exposure to hot temperatures. Babies suffer from prickly heat on their buttocks and children suffer from this especially in hot and humid weather. It occurs because their sweat glands are not fully developed, and also the fact that they are constantly in nappies and diapers. Heat rash begins with excessive perspiration, usually in a hot, humid environment. The perspiration makes it easier for dead skin cells and bacteria on the skin to block the sweat glands, forming a barrier and trapping sweat beneath the skin, where it builds up, causing the characteristic bumps. As the bumps burst and sweat is released, there may be a prickly or stinging sensation that gives this condition its name.
5 Ways To Prevent Prickly Heat
1. Air Yourself
Firstly, the golden rule is to keep the body cool and well aired. If you can, uncover the skin where you are experiencing prickly heat and expose it to cool air. Doing so will help bring relief to the skin. For babies, avoid making them wear diapers and air the affected areas.
2. Say No to Synthetic
Summer is the time when you should wear light coloured and loose clothes so that there is air circulation and your body stays cool. Wear cotton clothing and avoid synthetic tight clothes at all cost. Cotton allows air to circulate and move freely through the fabric, which makes heat more bearable.
3. Drink Up Those Summer Coolers
Because the hot temperature can drain energy out of you, it is important to consistently hydrate yourself to stay cool. Drink cool natural drinks like chaach, lemon water and coconut water, and avoid alcohol and aerated drinks. You can also add flavoured water to your diet, where you can make the most of seasonal fruits and herbs.
4. Eat Healthy Foods
Beat the heat and stay cool by eating healthy. Include lots of fresh raw foods like salads and fruits and avoid heavy greasy dishes, fried foods and sweets. Avoid foods that will produce heat in your body and become hazardous.Try avoiding dark meats as they heat up your body.
5. Keep Your Skin Dry
Never leave the skin damp during this hot season. In fact after bathing, always pat yourself dry with a towel to avoid bacteria from building up. Powder yourself and ensure that your skin stays cool.
4 Natural Home Remedies For Prickly Heat
Yoghurt has been known to have both, a cooling and soothing effect on the skin. Apply cold yoghurt to the affected areas and leave it on for 15 minutes. Wash with cold water and pat dry. Never rub the irritated skin. Yogurt has natural anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, that can help prevent breakout of acne and ensure a glowing and healthy skin.
(Also Read: 10 Home Remedies for Glowing Skin)
2. Rose Water
Make a concoction using the following ingredient: 200ml rose water, 4 Tbsp honey and 200ml pure water. Mix together and freeze in an ice tray. Take these ice cubes, four to five at a time, and wrap them in a soft muslin cloth. Press the bundle gently on the prickly heat affected areas. Rosewater helps maintain the skin's pH balance, and also controls excess oil.
This is a time tested remedy for prickly heat and I would recommend that you mix it with full fat, cold milk, and apply it as a pack on the skin and let it dry. Wash off with cold water. It is imperative to save yourself from the harmful rays of the sun. The natural oils present in sandalwood help to get rid of a sun tan.
4. Fuller's Earth
Also known as multani mitti, it has cooling effects on the skin. I have tried this recipe on my young teenager when she returns from school and it is not only very effective but helps soothe and cool her skin instantly.
Take 2 tsp mint paste, 3 Tbsp fuller's earth and enough cold milk to make a smooth paste. Apply this on the skin and let it dry. It is preferable that you sit under a fan whenever you are doing these treatments and always pat dry the skin with a very soft towel.
(Also Read: Skin Care Routine: Essential Ayurvedic Tips For A Glowing Skin)
About the author:
Suparna Trikha is a beauty expert based in New Delhi. She also teaches meditation through aromatherapy and organises corporate workshops for distressing. She has her own range of 40 beauty products and proposes to launch them very soon in the Indian market as well as abroad. With this crusade of moving back to nature, Suparna believes in making people healthier and more beautiful the natural way.
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