The summer season brings along a scorching sun, horrendously hot temperatures, resulting in excessive sweat and tiny-itchy rashes. For some, spending a single day outdoors is unpleasant and uncomfortable and for others, the summer is a season to be dreaded. Although prickly heat is not a serious condition, it still needs to be managed from the outset and for many, this means staying indoors and missing out on the fun.
The tiny red bumps appear when the pores of sweat glands get blocked. Apart from the hot and humid weather, there are a wide number of factors that give rise to prickly heat. Some of them include wearing synthetic clothes, excessive physical activity or intensive exercising, use of an electric blanket, alcohol, stressful lifestyle, acidity, food poisoning, etc.
The more advanced symptoms of heat rash may include a higher degree of irritation and itchiness, large welts, and raised red bumps. Prickly heat rashes commonly occur on skin folds, for instance, waist, neck, groin, face, back, abdomen, under the breasts, elbow folds, buttocks, and armpits.
There are a number of home remedies to cure prickly heat rash that you may try easily at your home. Use two or three remedies at the same time for faster and more efficient healing.
1. Oatmeal Bath
Oatmeal has antioxidant and anti inflammatory properties which protects skin from ultraviolet rays. That is why it is an important ingredient of many skin cosmetics (1). Immerse yourself in an oatmeal bath for 15-20 minutes. You can also scrub the affected areas gently while using oatmeal. It will clear the blocked sweat ducts and will help exfoliate the skin. It also relieves irritation and itching.
2. Chickpea Flour
Mix together chickpea flour and some water to make a thick paste. Apply it onto the affected site and leave it on for about 15 minutes. Rinse off the paste with cool water.
3. Baking Soda
Baking soda has anti-bacterial properties that aids in preventing infections. Put 1/4th cup baking soda in warm water. Bathe your baby in this bathwater if he suffers from prickly heat. Avoid using soap.
4. Raw potato
This is one of the simplest remedies to ease the prickly sensation. Cut some medium sized potatoes into a number of slices and then rub them on the affected portions.
You can also prepare potato poultice and apply it directly on heat rash (3).
Watermelon contain β-carotene and lycopene. These are the important carotenoids in human tissue and blood, that is why they can modulate skin properties. They can be ingested as supplements or can be taken as dietary products. Studies have proved that they can protect skin from sunburn and prickly heat by enhancing the basal defence against UV radiations (4). Take a watermelon, remove its seeds and make a pulp. Apply this pulp onto the rashes for instant relief. Alternatively, you can also drink a glass of crushed watermelon juice.
6. Ice Cubes
Put some ice cubes in water. After a couple of minutes, wash the affected skin using this cool water (5). Instead, you may even rub ice cubes on your skin to get relief from prickling sensation (6). Shower or wash your skin frequently to get rid of prickly heat (7).
Crush some fresh ginger root and allow it to boil in water. Once the water cools down then wipe your skin with this solution using a soft cloth or sponge.
8. Talcum Powder
You may use any herbal talcum powder and put it all over your body. Avoid using scented talcum powder as it may enhance the irritation. It will assist in keeping your skin dry in humid conditions, thus, cures rashes speedily.
9. Lime Juice
Lime juice contains powerful antioxidants that speed up the healing process (9). Squeeze fresh lime and mix it with some amount of water. To sweeten the taste, you may add a tsp of honey. Drink 3 to 4 glasses on a daily basis.
Honey is famous for its antibacterial properties and it has antioxidants that fasten up the healing process (10). Apply some natural honey directly onto your skin. Leave it on for 15-20 minutes and subsequently, wash it off.
Honey based products are also used as sunscreen (11).
Cucumber possess anti oxidants. To relieve yourself from the petrifying burning sensation, apply peeled slices of cucumber onto your skin (12, 13). As an alternative, you can crush or squeeze the cucumber and dab the pulp on the skin. Leave the pulp to stand for 30 minutes and then rinse it off.
Papaya has been traditionally used to treat skin problems (14). Take a ripe papaya and mash it. Apply the pulp onto the affected skin and let it stand for 20 to 25 minutes. Rinse it off with tap water. This will relieve the skin from burning sensation and reduce itching.
This is extremely efficient if you experience itching or burning sensation. Crush the camphor into powdered form using a mallet. Applying camphor induces both cold and warm sensations in the skin and it also enhances blood circulation (15). Add some margosa oil in it to make a sticky paste. Apply it on your rashes. It gives cooling and refreshing feel. You can also apply margosa leaf directly to the skin to calm burning sensation (16).
14. Gram flour
Gram flour soaks up all the extra moisture from your body, thus, helps treat the prickly heat. Additionally, it also eliminates dead skin cells and provides relief from irritation. Take 2 to 3 tablespoons of gram flour and add some water to prepare a smooth paste. Apply this paste onto the infected area. Let it dry for 10 to 15 minutes, and subsequently clean it with cold water. Repeat the same process once in a day for a week.
Cornstarch has absorbent properties that help to absorb sweat and prevent new heat rashes (17). Mix together cornstarch or corn flour with some water and prepare a smooth paste. Apply this paste on the prickly heat and leave it on for about half an hour. After it gets dry, wash it with cold water.
Mash a few leaves of plum and add baking soda to it. For immediate relief, apply this on the affected area.
17. Bark of a Banyan Tree
The bark of a banyan tree is also an efficient remedy in treating prickly heat. Take some dry barks and crush them into a fine powdered form. Apply this powder on the rashes to fasten the healing process.
18. Sugarcane Juice
Yet another way for curing summer rash or prickly heat is consuming adequate amount of sugarcane juice as it has cooling properties that assist in cooling human body (18). During scorching, moist weather conditions, drink at least 1 glass of sugarcane juice.
Herbal Remedies to Cure Prickly Heat
19. Mint Tea
Mint tea not only brings down the body temperature, but it also speeds up the healing process (19). Add some mint leaves in 2 cups of water and allow it to boil. Stir it with a spoon for about 3 to 4 minutes. Now, strain it and throw the leaves away. Add the sweetener as per your need.
20. Garcinia indica
Ayurveda describes the use of Garcinia indica to cure many skin ailments including prickly heat rash (20). Soak 4 to 5 pieces of Garcinia indica in 2 glasses of water overnight. Next morning, filter the water and boil it down to half. Leave until it cools down. Later, add 3 teaspoons of sugar to it. Drink this solution.
21. Lavender Essential Oil
As lavender oil has antibiotic properties, it helps in healing and soothing skin lesions (21). This essential oil also decreases skin temperature and cures prickly heat rash (22). Add 5 drops of lavender oil to tepid water. Take a bath using this water. Besides, you may also dip a clean cloth in the prepared solution and wipe the influenced area.
- Alternatively, you can also apply lavender oil directly onto the rashes.
22. Margosa Leaves
Margosa is popularly known for its antibacterial, astringent, and sterilized properties (23). Mash some margosa leaves to prepare a coarse paste and smudge it onto the devastated area. Or else, you may use its oil together with powdered camphor.
23. Sandalwood Powder and Coriander Leaves
Sandalwood is an excellent remedy for skin problems. It has a cooling effect which cures prickly heat rash (24). Coriander leaves possess anti-inflammatory properties that reduce skin inflammation (25).
Grind a few coriander leaves and add sandalwood powder. Combine the mixture properly. Make use of rose water to prepare a thick paste. Now, spread it on the affected part. Allow it to dry and subsequently clean it off using cool water.
24. Lawsonia inermis Powder
Lawsonia inermis is widely used for treating skin ailments. It has cooling effect which gives relief from prickly heat problems (26, 27). Take some powder of Lawsonia inermis and add water to make a thick paste. Apply it on the affected region and leave it on for 15 to 20 minutes. Now, rinse it off with water.
Note: Do not use this remedy if you don’t want a reddish tinge on your skin.
25. Indian Gooseberries
Get a few Indian gooseberries and cut them in two parts and keep them in an earthen vessel. Add some water on the pieces and cover it up. Allow it to stand for the whole night. Next morning, utilise the same water to squash the gooseberries. Strain the solution and add honey to it. Drink this concoction on a daily basis for a week.
26. Aloe Vera Gel
Pluck an aloe leaf from its plant and cut it. Now, squeeze out the natural gel from the aloe leaf and apply it onto the infected portion of your body. It eases irritation and redness. Alternatively, you may also make use of an aloe-rich moisturizing lotion.
27. Fuller’s Earth
Fuller’s earth has been widely used for curing prickly heat. Make a paste by mixing 4 tablespoons of Fuller’s earth and a few drops of rose water. Apply it on the affected areas. After 3 hours, rinse it off with cold water.
28. Nettle Leaves
Nettle leaves produce an antihistamine effect in the body’s masthead receptor cells, which in turn helps to reduce reactivity towards allergens (32).
Herbal tea prepared from nettle leaves serves as a wonderful remedy for heat rash. To make this tea, mix two to three teaspoons of dried nettle leaf in a cup of hot water. Allow it to steep for 10 to 15 minutes. Drink at least 1 cup of tea 3 times a day. You may also take 1 to 2 ounces of nettle leaf juice thrice a day. Alternatively, you may also prefer taking capsules that provide 5 ml tincture.
- Keep your bedroom well ventilated.
- Wear light and comfy cotton clothes in summers (33, 34).
- Prefer loose clothes while sleeping (35).
- If you work out, then take a shower afterward to avoid perspiration. Bath with cold water and keep your skin clean. Let your skin air-dry, don’t use towels (36, 37).
- Drink plenty of water, fresh fruit and vegetable juices particularly of carrots, celery, cucumber, lettuce, beetroot, apples, in order to remain healthy and hydrated. You may also have buttermilk during the summer season (38).
- Drink coconut water on an empty stomach.
- Keep off from direct sunlight.
- Change the diapers of the infants frequently.
- When it’s too hot outside, stay indoors under an air-conditioner or a fan (40, 41, 42).
- Try to keep the affected skin dry (43, 44).
- Use mild skin lotions (45).
- Dress your baby in loose fitting clothes and remove excess clothing (46).
- Don’t use any heavy skin oil or cream as they can block pores (47). You may employ natural oatmeal based creams and calamine based lotions.
- Avoid using harsh soaps during hot summer season.
- Don’t use oil based cosmetics.
- Don’t overwork yourself (48).
- Limit consumption of spicy foods, red wine and coffee as they worsen the condition.
- Avoid scratching the affected skin area as it may cause an infection later on.