Heat rash help

How to help cope with prickly heat

Heat rash can be part of many people’s summers, and it can make life pretty uncomfortable. Also known as prickly heat, a heat rash is characterised by small red bumps on the skin that are hot and itchy. Wondering how to make the warm weather more bearable? Take a look at some advice from our experts on how to help beat that prickly heat.

The pharmacist

Angela Chalmers, Boots pharmacist, says:

"Heat rash can happen when you perspire more than usual (as lots of us do in summer): sweat glands become blocked, and skin cells and bacteria trap sweat below the surface of the skin, leading to those little bumps. Try to minimise sweating by seeking shade, avoiding strenuous activity, using a hand fan, taking a cool shower or going into an air-conditioned room. Prickly heat isn’t usually a serious condition and rarely requires any specific treatment. The rash generally disappears after a few days, but if you find it is very itchy and becoming a problem, talk to your local Boots pharmacist, as they will be able to advise on suitable products to help."

The skin doctor

Independent dermatologist Dr Anjali Mahto says:

"An antibacterial shower gel can help reduce the number of bacteria on your skin, as they can block the sweat glands and cause a flare-up. Avoid oil-based products, which can also clog glands. Use an antiperspirant spray containing aluminium salts to reduce sweating – the cause of heat rash – and wear lightweight, natural fibres, such as cotton, since they don’t trap heat like synthetic fibres. Water sprays are handy when you’re out, as they can fit in a handbag."

The sun-safe guru

Clare O’Connor, Boots suncare expert, says:

"You might worry that sunscreen will aggravate a heat rash, but there are lots of formulas developed for sensitive skin – sprays, mists and light lotions can be less irritating. Whatever you do, don’t skip it! It’s a myth that high SPFs are heavier and greasier, so whichever product you choose, you don’t need to compromise on protection."