Most people look forward to summer for good reason. We can finally enjoy warm weather, outdoor activities and so much more. The summer season brings with it a variety of skin issues including sunburn, dry skin, poison ivy and heat rash. 

Heat rash, also known as miliaria, is caused when you are sweating profusely but the sweat cannot get out due to blocked sweat glands. This causes a rash and itchy bumps. 

Babies often get heat rash because they cannot control their temperature as well as adults and children can. Symptoms range from superficial blisters to deep, red lumps. Some forms of heat rash feel prickly or intensely itchy.

Heat rash usually clears on its own. Severe forms of the condition may need medical care, but the best way to relieve symptoms is to cool your skin and prevent sweating. Tap or pat the rash instead of scratching it, or it could become infected. Wear loose cotton clothes that aren’t tight and avoid perfumed shower gels or creams. 

The types of miliaria are classified according to how deep the blocked sweat ducts are. Signs and symptoms for each type vary.

  • The mildest form of heat rash (miliaria crystallina) affects the sweat ducts in the top layer of skin. This form is marked by clear, fluid-filled blisters and bumps (papules) that break easily.
  • A type that occurs deeper in the skin (miliaria rubra) is sometimes called prickly heat. Signs and symptoms include red bumps and itching or prickling in the affected area.
  • Occasionally, the fluid-containing sacs (vesicles) of miliaria rubra become inflamed and pus-filled (pustular). This form is called miliaria pustulosa.
  • A less common form of heat rash (miliaria profunda) affects the dermis, a deeper layer of skin. Retained sweat leaks out of the sweat gland into the skin, causing firm, flesh-colored lesions that resemble goose bumps.

Heat rash usually heals on its own once the skin cools, but on occasion, the sweat glands can become infected. Contact Dr. Monique S. Cohn, DO FAOCD at Advanced Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery Center by calling 330-425-7600 if you or your child has symptoms that last longer than a few days or the rash seems to be getting worse.