Sweat Rash
January 20, 2006 11:22 PM   Subscribe

For the past few months I've had a light case of Heat Rash (prickly heat, miliaria). What can I do to get rid of it?

It's been getting steadily, although slowly, worse. I first noticed the prickly, itchy feeling on my scalp. Blamed it on growing out my hair. Then I started to notice it on my torso when I'd go play soccer (or anything where I really moved around), although it wouldn't bother me anymore after I'd gotten into things and really started sweating. Recently it's started getting me after a few minutes in a hot shower or some quick exercise before bed.

I never get much of a rash. After I start sweating I'll get a few red spots on the skin, but the itching normally stops in a minute or two and the spots are gone in five. But it's getting worse. I'll get a bout of the itch, agitate myself to the point that it gets worse, and it will take me awhile to settle down and pull out of it.

Should I go see a doctor? Could they do anything about it? Is there something I should go pick up at the drug store? Any neat tricks to make it go away?

I'm all ears.
posted by kjell to Health & Fitness (6 answers total)
In Thailand, they use a mentholated talc, similar in smell to tiger balm.

Maybe try an Asian store for something similar?
posted by the cuban at 3:30 AM on January 21, 2006

I would caution that the itch and spots are *not* directly due to sweating.

IANAD, but would suggest that your skin is having a reaction due to products used - such as deodorant, shower gel, shampoo - drying out your skin; at odds with this is that you mention spots not dryness though - Definitely see a doc, but you might wish to try any emollient based products form the local pharmacy for the body areas, and a suitable shampoo for the scalp.

Also worth considering, perhaps, is what you wear - changes in washing powder / non breathable garments and so on could all have an impact. The balance to that is that your scalp is presumably not covered and suffers the same problem though... See a doc :)
posted by DrtyBlvd at 4:18 AM on January 21, 2006

I used to get a mild heat rash in high school after riding my bike in winter. I don't really know what to tell you about that. I asked my doctor at the time and he basically started talking about how hard kicking heroin was for him. Seriously.

Anyway, I'm writing because I want to tell you that you should consider some other factors (besides heat).

A few years ago I started getting all itchy for reasons unknown to me. I thought that it was because of some chemical that spilled in my car among other things. At one point I went to the hospital because I had a really bad rash everywhere that was turning my skin red. Turns out that that was caused by me starting to take these really big multivitamins just a couple of days before. Soon after that incident I realized that I had developed an allergy to some binding agent in vitamin tablets. After I stopped taking vitamins, the itching went away. I was so happy when I discovered that.

If this doesn't apply to you, I recommend asking a doctor about this. Maybe a dermatologist?
posted by redteam at 4:27 AM on January 21, 2006

Try Desitin. Seriously.
posted by Gator at 5:17 AM on January 21, 2006

Have you changed soap? Laundry soap? Fabric softener? Softener sheets? You could have a touch of contact dermatitis, or a mild allergic reaction that's slowly getting worse, to one of the chemicals in your soaps. (Even if you haven't changed them, though that's usually the trigger.) Try getting a "Free & Clear" version of your soaps- no color, no fragrance, and use Ivory soap on your skin.

Also, try taking a cooler than usual shower- you could be exacerbating the problem by stripping your skin of essential oils by showering too hot and too often. Gold Bond powder on the irrititated skin might offer some immediate relief, though regular talcum will still feel good and cooling.
posted by headspace at 6:24 AM on January 21, 2006

Weird, I just had a conversation about this with my grandmother who just got back from India, and where prickly heat is a common thing.

If you get to a Asian/Indian store, you'll find tones of balms, creams, remedies for this. Talcum powder is good and pretty much available anywhere.

One of the remedies I know about that they use in my family is mixing up sandalwood powder and Rose Water (which smells and feels heavenly and luxurious by itself, rashes be damned).
posted by wannabehippie at 12:46 PM on January 21, 2006

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