A rash of any kind indicates that something has changed on the skin. While most rashes are minor and disappear on their own; some chronic or persistent rashes indicate an underlying health issue which must be treated promptly. Now that summer is nearly here and most of us are ready for the beach, we must know a thing or two about sun rash treatment and heat rash home remedies. It is also important to know the difference between heat rash and sunburn. Most common rash treatments, no matter if it is a heat rash or a sun rash, includes cool baths, cortisone creams, lotions, powders or moisturizers. These help reduce the rash and prevent itchiness and swelling. We will cover heat rash treatment and sun burn treatment in detail in this article.
First let us study some sun rash and heat rash pictures. We have also included some sunburn photos so you can clearly study the difference.
Heat rash causes and symptoms
A mixture of sweat, heat and clothing are typically responsible for heat rash. Heat rash symptoms may be seen even if you are not exposed to the sun. Summer is a common time of the year when people suffer from heat rashes. However, infants and toddlers may also break out into heat rashes in the winters especially if they are swaddled too tightly in blankets or sweaters.
Typical heat rash symptoms include:
- Small white blisters
- Tiny deep red or pink knot like bumps or pimples
- Usually the rash is seen in covered parts of the body where sweat accumulates such as the folds of the skin under the neck, underneath breasts, in the groin, the elbows etc. It may even be present on the upper trunk region in babies.
Sun rash causes and symptoms
Sun rash usually occurs when one is exposed to the sun at the beach. It starts off as sunburn and the skin starts peeling after 24 hours. Many medications also increase sensitivity to sun known as sun poisoning. These drugs are called sun sensitizing drugs. If you have undergone laser skin rejuvenation or similar procedures, you might develop sun rash if proper precautions are not taken.
Typical sun poisoning and sun rash symptoms are:
- Severe sunburn
- Itchy blisters
- Dry, flaky and peeling skin
- Tanning in bizarre patterns and unexpected places
How long does a sun burn last? How long does a heat rash last?
Sunburn pain and rashes usually last for 4 to 5 days. Moderate to severe sunburn on the face could however last for up to a week. Note that each episode of sunburn increases your aging process such as development of wrinkles, sun spots etc. Hence, adequate sun protection is a must when you plan to spend a day outdoors or at the beach. Also promptly use the sunburn rash treatment and home remedies which we will describe shortly.
How long does a heat rash last? Typically, heat rash or prickly heat fades away on its own within 3 to 4 days. Make sure you use proper home remedies for heat rash so as to make it disappear quickly.
Home remedies for heat rash
- Keep the body cool. Take a cool shower or soak in a tub bath filled with tepid water.
- Add some colloidal oatmeal to the bath water and soak in it. This will soothe the rash. You could also add some Epsom Salt to the bath water.
- Apply Aloe Vera gel to the rash. Many good formulations of Aloe gel are available in the market. You could also directly take the gel from the leaf of Aloe Vera plant and apply on the rash.
- Use hydrocortisone cream if the heat rash is very itchy.
- Apply Calamine lotion on the rash to stop pain, swelling and itchiness of the heat rash.
- Prevent sweating by sitting in a cool or air conditioned room.
- Avoid going outdoors in the sun during peak hours of sunlight. If needed, cover your face with a wide brimmed hat or scarf.
- Wear loose cotton clothing.
- Avoid tight fitting underwear if you have a rash in the groin region.
Sun burn rash treatment
- In case of sun poisoning due to drugs or medicines, stop use of the drugs immediately.
- Immediately seek shade.
- Drink plenty of water. This is important to prevent dehydration which is a common sun rash or sun poisoning symptom.
- If the rash is very painful, take some acetaminophen or Ibuprofen.
- Apply aloe vera gel on the sun burn.
- Apply calamine lotion on the rash if Aloe gel is not available.
- Cover the sun burnt portion when going outside.
Sun burn and sun rash prevention
- Apply sunscreen with SPF 30++
- Limit sun exposure in peak hours of 10 am to 4 pm.
- Wear cool cotton clothing that covers up all exposed body parts as well as broad wide brimmed hat and scarf. Also use sunglasses.
Heat rash and sun rash may look similar but have different causes. In either case, do seek prompt medical treatment if the rash develops painful blisters or covers a wider painful area. Also call the doctor immediately if you experience fever, chills, facial swelling, vomiting, light headedness etc. These could be signs of acute dehydration or hives.