You-are-not-a-doctor-but-I-will-ask-anyway rash filter.
July 24, 2010 6:54 PM   Subscribe

Does my boyfriend's daughter have a rash or an acne flare-up? Symptoms: Friday morning, a red splotchy rash on shoulders, upper chest. By Friday night and even more so on Saturday morning, rash still there but with addition of what look like tiny whitehead pimples - hundreds (maybe thousands) of them. No itching, just plenty of embarrassment. Help!

A dose of oral Benadryl made no change.

A few things to consider: She just turned 18. A week ago Friday she got a new tattoo on her back. We have been using plenty of A&D Ointment on it; there is some overlap between the rash area and the tattoo, but not much. She spent all day Thursday at the Warped Tour in the sun, temps in the upper 90s. Wore a spaghetti-strap tank top and a bikini top, which left the area now affected bare. Used a spray-on sunscreen, which she put mostly on her shoulders and upper back. Came home, took a shower, went to bed.

Also of note: She has been visiting us for a week, but normally does not live with us. Her mother maintains her health insurance; I do not know the status since her birthday. It would be seen as very presumptuous of me to take her to the doctor, but I'll take her to an emergency clinic on Sunday anyway if it seems warranted. However, her main desire is just to clear up her skin.
posted by Jaie to Health & Fitness (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Keratosis? (Although a little odd to show up so suddenly.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:19 PM on July 24, 2010

sounds like heat rash? If there's 'thousands' of bumps I doubt it's acne.

What is she putting on the new tattoo to help healing? If she's putting something like Vaseline on there, then all that time in the sun and in the 90's could possibly contribute to the heat rash?
posted by matty at 7:26 PM on July 24, 2010

Ah... I took it to mean you were using A&D ointment on the rash vice her tattoo.
posted by matty at 7:26 PM on July 24, 2010

I'm not a doctor, but I took 2 semesters of medical penmanship so I can write like one.
Definitely Heat Rash.
Tell her: "Don't sweat it. It should resolve on its own."
posted by Floydd at 7:39 PM on July 24, 2010 [2 favorites]

When I had heat rash (all over my shoulders), a friend of mine who'd had that same problem immediately said, "Gold Bond Medicated Powder." Well, it at least soothed the owie as needed, while I healed (rather soon). Ahhh, I remember thinking, that's shades better than it was.

I don't remember the exact type that I used. Just that it was Gold Bond. Ask the pharmacist at a drugstore which is recommended.
posted by not_on_display at 7:44 PM on July 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

Floydd, I think you've got it. Her father has heat rash on an ongoing basis in the summer, but his looks pink. (Is there a genetic component?) The teenager's, however, looks just exactly like a combination of two of the pictures in your Google Images link. She'll be greatly relieved to know it's not acne!
posted by Jaie at 7:44 PM on July 24, 2010

No direct sun and no sunscreen on the affected area until the rash disappears. Milk of magnesia (yes, really!) will help, too. The A&D ointment is part of the problem, I suspect.
posted by Carol Anne at 5:03 AM on July 25, 2010

funny, i just am at the end of a round with heat rash--the first ever in my life. i say funny because i also used a spray-on sunscreen and had been thinking that might have something to do with the rash. it seems, from what i've read, that heat rash occurs because one is sweating profusely and all the sweat is unable to make it out of the pore. it gets backed up in there and pushes up under the skin. now, i sweat profusely when i'm working in the heat--always have--and have never had heat rash until the one time i was using spray-on sunscreen--which, if you've sprayed it inside the house, you are probably aware is full of waxy stuff to make it stick. so this is purely surmise, but i'm thinking the waxy sunscreen blocks up the pores just enough to trap some of the sweat that's trying to come out, leading to the rash. i could be way off base on that, but i'm not using that spray-on stuff any more.

oh, and don't use any oil-based ointment or lotion on it--it just blocks up those pores some more. unscented baby powder will help, and i found that ibuprofen knocked down the itch. i hope she heals up nicely.
posted by miss patrish at 12:57 PM on July 25, 2010

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