Sun Allergy, Prickly Heat, Heat Rash and Miliaria, are all basically the same thing to me. They are that incredibly annoying, itchy, sometimes painful or sore, red rash made up of tiny spots. I’ve suffered from them for as long as I can remember.
They come up when I’m hot, or sweaty or when the weather is humid. I usually get it on my hands, arms, face and when it gets really bad, on the top of my back. It doesn’t look nice and it feels even worse. I’ve spent a long time trying to find out how to cure myself of this or how to treat it, but I haven’t had any answers. It’s very frustrating because I love travelling to hot countries, or just love being out and about on sunny days. But I always end up suffering. The main piece of advice medical professionals give is to keep cool and stay out of the heat, which is so impractical when you’re on a tropical holiday.
I’m not a health professional, or an expert, but I have found a couple of things that work for me. They’re not the cure, or the solution, but they do help me manage my condition. This is what I use to prevent, treat or deal with prickly heat. Also, I’m recommending these products solely because I’ve purchased them myself and I’m happy with the results.
Cetirizine Allergy Tablets
Any type of antihistamine that contains Cetirizine will do. Ultimately, heat rash is an allergy to the sun and allergy tablets help reduce inflammation and helps reduce itchiness. This is really important because when the rash comes up, it’s incredibly itchy and if you scratch it you’ll make it worse and can possibly even cause an infection. If I know I’m going on a tropical holiday, I take this every night up to a week before I fly and then every night whilst I’m on holiday. I do still get heat rash, but not as severely as I used to and it tends to come up after a couple of weeks rather than the next day. Also, the itchiness is not as bad as before. This is a medicine, so I would suggest you check with a qualified professional before taking it.
I’ve tried plenty of sun blocks. Usually what they do is create a layer over my skin, blocking my pores. Since heat rash is caused by blocked pores and sweat glands, this is counterproductive. The only one that currently works for me is ‘Piz Buin, Sun sensitive skin, face cream, factor 50+ SPF’. When I first read about this product, I was hesitant to try it because it was a little pricey. But the reviews for it were so positive that I decided to bite the bullet. It was definitely worth it. This product contains an ingredient called ‘Calmanelle’, which is an anti-irritant. My skin can get very sensitive, especially when I’m hot, and this cream is really good at calming red patches. It is for the face, but I also use it on my hands. I tend to wait for it to go on offer and then buy a few. So before I go out in the sun, Piz Buin is my armour!
Despite my best efforts, I do occasionally still get heat rash. In the past, I used to wash the rashy skin with cold water to cool it. And then I would suffer because even though water is so pure, it would cause the rash to sting, become drier and itch more. Anything else I put on my skin thereafter would just make it worse. But not Aloe Vera. It has to be the good stuff and as pure as possible. Once I’ve washed my skin, I apply a layer of Aloe Vera onto the rash. This is instantly cooling and relieving. I love it!! It helps calm the redness and reduces the itching to basically nothing. Until my rash has gone, I always apply a layer of Aloe onto my skin before applying any other cream. It forms a healing and protective layer that I know will bring my skin back to what it was.
I’ve mentioned this lotion in a previous blog about my son’s allergy. The colloidal oatmeal in this product helps calm skin as well as the product providing moisture. Whilst my skin is rashy and sensitive, I usually replace my face and hand cream with it, since anything else will cause it to sting. This goes over the layer of Aloe.
I discovered this product just before my last holiday. It’s quite expensive, but I thought I would try it as it makes some extraordinary claims. The product claims to instantly treat prickly heat and heat rash. It contains no steroids or antihistamines and has a cooling effect without the need for refrigeration. It can be used by people of all ages, even pregnant mothers. There is another product which is just a cooling spray which does all the same stuff, but just doesn’t treat prickly heat. I took these with me to Bangladesh and I have to admit, they were really really good. I used the cooling spray on Chicco whenever I could see he was getting overheated and he loved it. It cooled him down without drying out his skin. It was even safe enough for me to be able to spray it straight onto his face. The one that treats prickly heat didn’t really ‘treat’ it, but did relieve the itching, cool down the area immensely and did take away some of the redness. I would still definitely buy these products again!
The last product I’m going to talk about is ‘Tibet prickly heat powder’. This deserves a mention because I bought this when I was in Bangladesh, the country where most people will suffer from heat rash at some point. There is a more upgraded version, which is a cooling powder, but unfortunately, I don’t have a picture to show you. This product is used on the actual rash to prevent itching. It works. For me anyway. I may end up looking like the marshmallow man, but I don’t care. It absorbs all the sweat and calms the skin. The cooling powder feels like a menthol and makes your skin tingle as it cools. When I go to Bangladesh I usually buy lots to bring back with me. And I have no idea where you can buy this product over here. Sorry!
The very final thing I will mention is water. Drink lots of this, all the time. Any kind of dry skin issues are made worse when you are dehydrated. In fact, it’s not just your skin, but all your organs work better when you drink water.
My prickly heat isn’t about to go away any time soon and I do intend to keep travelling. So in the meantime, I’ll keep up with what I know works and keep searching for the cure!