Summer heat brings along health problems as well, especially heat rashes. Dr DM Mahajan, senior consultant, dermatologist, Indraprastha Apollo hospitals, says heat rashes, also known as prickly heat or miliaria, occur when sweat ducts become clogged and trap sweat beneath the skin. This can lead to redness, itching and the formation of small bumps or blister. To combat heat rashes and alleviate the discomfort associated with them, you can try the following measures:

Stay cool: Avoid hot and humid environments as much as possible. Seek air-conditioned or well-ventilated spaces.

Wear lightweight and breathable clothing: Opt for loose-fitting garments made of natural fabrics like cotton or linen. These materials allow air to circulate and help evaporate sweat.

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Keep the affected area clean and dry: Gently cleanse the rash-prone areas with mild soap and lukewarm water to remove sweat, dirt and oil. Pat the skin dry instead of rubbing it.

Use talcum powder or cornstarch: Apply a thin layer of talcum powder or cornstarch to areas prone to sweating. These powders can help absorb moisture and reduce friction.

Avoid heavy creams and lotions: thick creams and oily lotions can further clog the sweat ducts. Instead, choose lightweight and water-based moisturizers.

Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water throughout the day to maintain hydration. This can help regulate body temperature and reduce excessive sweating.

Take cool showers or baths: Cooling your skin with a refreshing shower or bath can provide relief from heat and reduce the symptoms of heat rashes.

Avoid excessive physical activity: Minimize strenuous exercises or activities that cause excessive sweating, especially during the hottest parts of the day.

Use calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream: If the heat rash is causing significant discomfort, you can apply calamine lotion or over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream to soothe itching and reduce inflammation.

Seek medical advice if necessary: ​​If the heat rash persists, worsens or becomes infected, it is advisable to consult a healthcare professional.

Remember, prevention is the key in avoiding heat rashes. Taking measures to stay cool, dry and comfortable during hot weather can significantly reduce the likelihood of developing heat rashes.

Do prickly heat powders work and are they recommended, considering most powders are considered carcinogenic?

Prickly heat powders, also known as heat rash powders, are typically used to relieve the discomfort associated with prickly heat or heat rash. These powders usually contain ingredients such as talc, cornstarch or zinc oxide, which can help absorb excess moisture and soothe the skin. The effectiveness of prickly heat powders may vary from person to person. Some individuals find relief from using these powders, as they can help keep the affected area dry and reduce itching. However, it’s important to note that prickly heat powders primarily provide symptomatic relief and do not treat the underlying cause of heat rash.

Regarding the concern about powders being considered carcinogenic, it’s true that certain powders, particularly talcum powder, have been associated with an increased risk of certain cancers. Talcum powder, when used in the genital area, has been linked to ovarian cancer in some studies. However, the evidence is not conclusive, and further research is still needed to establish a definitive link.

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Here are some recommendations:

Use gentle cleansers: Use mild, fragrance-free soaps or cleansers to wash the affected area.

Apply soothing creams or ointments: Calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream may help relieve itching and soothe the skin.

Are there any natural remedies that are more effective than medicines?

While there are several medications available to relieve symptoms, there are also natural remedies that can help relieve heat rash discomfort:

Calendula: Calendula is a soothing herb with anti-inflammatory properties. Apply calendula ointment or cream to the affected area a few times a day.

Aloe vera: Aloe vera has cooling and soothing properties that can provide relief from heat rash symptoms. Extract fresh gel from an aloe vera leaf and apply it to the affected area.

Oatmeal: Oatmeal can help soothe irritated skin and reduce itching. Add colloidal oatmeal (finely ground oats) to a cool bath and soak for 15-20 minutes.

Chamomile: Chamomile has anti-inflammatory and calming properties. Brew chamomile tea, let it cool and use a soft cloth to apply it to the affected area.

Coconut oil: Coconut oil has moisturizing and antibacterial properties. Gently massage a small amount of extra virgin coconut oil onto the affected area a few times a day.

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