Heat Rash (Prickly Heat)
Prickly heat, also known as miliaria rubra, is an itchy rash of small, raised red spots that causes a stinging or prickling sensation on the skin. Prickly heat can develop anywhere on the body, but it most commonly occurs on your face, neck, back, chest and thighs. It usually appears a few days after exposure to hot temperatures. The rash is made up of tiny spots or bumps that are surrounded by an area of red skin. The spots sometimes look like tiny blisters and can cause:
• mild swelling
• a stinging or intense prickling sensation
Prickly heat is not a serious condition and rarely requires any specific treatment. The rash usually disappears after a few days. However, there are several things you can do to ease your symptoms:
• Avoid excessive heat and humidity
• Wear loose cotton clothing
• Keep your skin cool
• Use calamine lotion
• Try hydrocortisone cream
Sun exposure triggers an allergic reaction to certain chemicals, like those founds in medications and ironically also sunlight reacting to sunscreens, in the body. An itching allergy to sunlight is called —polymorphous light eruption (PMLE) — this is caused by sensitivity to the sun’s UVA rays, and your genes are probably to blame.
If you have a sun allergy you still notice skin that is red, scaly, and extremely itchy, that’s sometimes accompanied by tiny water blisters.
Oral antihistamines and anti-itch creams will help relieve symptoms, but if you suspect you have a sun allergy, getting the right diagnosis from a dermatologist can help you avoid the allergy triggers in the future. PMLE may require stronger prescription medication.
Sunburn is skin damage caused by ultraviolet (UV) rays. Too much exposure to UV light can make your skin red and painful, which can later lead to peeling or blistering. The severity of sunburn can vary depending on your skin type and how long you are exposed to UV rays. However, the main symptoms of sunburn are red, sore and blistering skin. The symptoms may not occur immediately and can take up to five hours to appear.
Sunburn often occurs when the sun's rays are most intense (usually between 11am and 3pm). However, there is also a risk of getting burned by the sun in other weather conditions. For example, light reflecting off snow can also cause sunburn. A cloudy sky or breeze may make you feel cooler, but sunlight can still get through and damage your skin.
Treatment for sunburn aims to cool the skin and relieve any pain or symptoms. Applying a cold flannel over the area will help cool the skin, while moisturising lotions and creams will help keep it moist. Moisturisers that contain aloe vera will help to soothe your skin and calamine lotion can relieve any itching or soreness. In severe cases of sunburn, you should ask your pharmacist for advice as you may need special treatment from your dermatologist.