Hot summer weather and beach holidays are adored by many but for around 10% of the population they can mean days of itchy misery thanks to a common condition called prickly heat. This tends to affect people year after year but could something as simple as switching to a non-waterproof, chemical-free sunscreen reduce the irritating effects of prickly heat?
What is prickly heat?
Also known as miliaria, it causes bumps or blisters to appear in a rash across areas of skin during a spate of hot weather. The rash can take several days to disappear, even if conditions are much cooler.
Prickly heat can appear almost anywhere on the body, especially confined areas such as the armpits, but tends not to affect the face. It often affects areas of the body covered by clothing as there tends to be more sweat produced where the clothing rubs against the skin. This rash is caused by sweat glands in the skin becoming blocked. This stops the sweat from escaping the body and instead leads it to leak into nearby skin, causing redness and rashes. Whilst this does not generally have any serious health consequences, the prickly heat rash can be very irritating and can really put a dampener on holidays to hot countries.
Some people are more prone to prickly heat than others. Babies and children quite commonly suffer from it as their sweat glands are not properly developed yet and can produce sweat too quickly for their skin to cope with. Being overweight can also increase the likelihood of developing a prickly heat rash as this can lead to increased sweating.
5 quick tips for reducing prickly heat
The first way to reduce your prickly heat is to reduce the amount you sweat. This can be achieved by simple measures such as:
• Staying in the shade
• Wearing only loose-fitting, cool clothes
• Showering in cool water regularly
• Avoiding exercise in hot weather
• Drinking more water than usual
It may seem counterproductive to hydrate your body more when you are trying to reduce sweating but in hot climates our bodies need far more water than usual. Drinking more will also help to prevent other consequences of dehydration, such as headaches and fatigue.
Chemical-free sunscreens and prickly heat
As well as reducing the amount you sweat, you should try to prevent your sweat glands from becoming blocked. These may become blocked through dead skin cells or bacteria.
Some people find that exfoliation can help as it removes the dead skin cells blocking their pores, allowing the sweat to escape normally. However, it is advisable to exfoliate before you go on holiday as waiting until the prickly heat has started could irritate the skin further.
One further cause of blocked sweat glands is waterproof sunscreen, which can contain pore-clogging ingredients and is like wrapping your skin in cling film! It is possible that these may aggravate your prickly heat, as they reduce the amount of sweat that can escape your skin. The resulting build up of sweat inside the skin can then create prickly heat rash symptoms.
Green People has a range of natural sunscreens which do not contain the pore-clogging ingredients which can aggravate prickly heat and they are especially suitable for people with the condition. Green People sunscreens are also free from PABA, parabens and artificial colours and fragrances.
Soothing prickly heat
If you are prone to prickly heat and you are going on holiday to a hot place then it is best to take a soothing body lotion with you. If you develop prickly heat, it will help to reduce the itching which prickly heat can cause, as well as calming and hydrating sun-exposed skin.
An organic After Sun lotion which contains soothing Aloe Vera, Calendula and/or cooling Mint would be a good addition to your suitcase. Refreshing and calming, it is ideal for using after a day in the sun.
Content kindly provided by Green People