Why you're experiencing heat rash (and how to treat it)

·Shopping Editor
·3 min read

Looking for more news on health and wellness? Sign up for Yahoo Lifestyle Canada’s newsletter!

Getty Images
Getty Images

Yahoo Lifestyle Canada is committed to finding you the best products at the best prices. We may receive a share from purchases made via links on this page. Pricing and availability are subject to change.

We probably don’t need to tell you that too much time in the sun can do serious numbers on your skin. But aside from a gnarly sunburn, excessive exposure to the harmful UV rays can also trigger heat rash.

ALSO SEE: Need to heal a sunburn fast? We asked an expert for her tips

Heat rash is a skin irritation caused by excessive sweating during hot, humid weather. Sweat gets trapped in the epidermis's sweat ducts and leads to anhidrosis, the reaction of non-sweating due to blockage of sweat ducts, resulting to itchiness and sometimes a burning sensation along with tiny papules at sun-exposed sites (the neck, behind the legs and arms near the elbow crease) that tend to get overheated. And while heat rash is known to impact young children it can affect anyone, especially those who sweat excessively.

According to Dr, Renée A. Beach, MD, FRCPC, Medical and Cosmetic Dermatology and Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto, deeper and inflamed heat rashes, also known as Miliaria Rubra or "prickly heat" can also be the result of occlusive or heavy clothing or several layers of bedding. Severe cases of heat rash can lead to spots looking pustular.

When it comes to prevention, Beach suggests maintaining your temperature surroundings between 20- 23°C. “Avoiding heavy perspiration, having loose-fitting clothing that absorbs or channels away sweat (e.g. cotton/ silk fibre)”, she recommends. While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests taking a cool shower or bath and exposure to air conditioning for even a few hours a day can reduce the risk of any heat-related illness.

If you’re currently dealing with an itchy heat rash, treating it unfortunately also involves patience. According to Beach, waiting for natural resolution takes about 14 days, because it takes that long for the highest level of skin layers to desquamate.

However, to relieve itch and discomfort experts recommend using lotion formulated with Zinc oxide, a medication (commonly found in diaper rash cream) used to treat rashes and skin irritation from burns, cuts scrapes. It works by forming a barrier on the skin to protect it from irritants and moisture. A true first-aid must-have, if you ask us.


To shop for zinc oxide solutions, ahead, we’ve listed a couple of options that are to relieve your heat rash.

Supraderm Adult Care Zinc Oxide Barrier Paste

Supraderm Adult Care Zinc Oxide Barrier Paste 
Supraderm Adult Care Zinc Oxide Barrier Paste

SHOP IT: Amazon, $15

Atlas 20% Zinc Oxide Ointment

Atlas 20% Zinc Oxide Ointment
Atlas 20% Zinc Oxide Ointment

SHOP IT: Well.ca, $6

Desitin Diaper Rash Cream for Baby

Desitin Diaper Rash Cream for Baby
Desitin Diaper Rash Cream for Baby

SHOP IT: Amazon, $20

Penaten Medicated Diaper Rash Cream

Penaten Medicated Diaper Rash Cream
Penaten Medicated Diaper Rash Cream


SHOP IT: Amazon, $20

Let us know what you think by commenting below and tweeting @YahooStyleCA! Follow us on Twitter and Instagram and sign up for our newsletter.