Sweat rash is a superficial inflammation of the skin normally caused by fungal yeast due to humidity and lack of ventilation. It occurs as a red rash between folds of skin where they rub together and there is less air circulation in areas such as under your arms and on the backs of your knees. It may occur under your breasts, in the groin area, between abdominal skin and in the spaces found between the fingers and toes.
Sweat rash is highly common in overweight individuals, people with diabetes and those confined to bed such as trauma, stroke or coma patients. It may be seen in the elderly people who cannot take proper care of themselves and athletes. Also, it is common in people living in hot and humid climates and in people who are working in hot, confined spaces where sweat and dirt is prevalent during high temperature weather.
There are four types of sweat rash and they are named by their visual characteristics. The four are;
Clear (miliaria crystalline)
This is usually characterizes by small, clear beads of sweat on the top layer of skin. It is normally very mild and doesn’t produce many uncomfortable symptoms.
Red (miliaria rubra)
This is the most common kind of sweat rash and it is also known as prickly heat, because it has intense itching and burning symptoms. When the sweat glands get blocked the inflammation causes a red color to the rash and it is known as ‘rubra’.
White/Yellow (miliaria pustulosa)
White/yellow pustulosa usually occur when boils or ulcers form on a case of red heat rash. This is usually an indication that you should see a doctor and get medical aid as soon as possible for it might be the first signs of a skin infection.
Deep (miliaria profunda)
When your sweat rash occurs concurrently or continuously, sweat glands in larger areas of the skin may be chronically inflamed and cause damage to deeper layers of the skin. When this happens, this time around, the bumps are more firm and large. They appear most often after vigorous physical activity or exposure to heat. This is why they are called deep sweat rash.
Diagnosing heat rash
Diagnosis is done after examination from a doctor on characteristic of the rash in certain skin locations. A doctor can make a visual diagnosis of the rash especially if they are sure is due to heat exposure. However, complicated cases might result in skin scraping, skin culture, or biopsy.
Causes of sweat rash
This rash occurs when perspiration is trapped under the skin and cannot come to the surface through the sweat ducts to evaporate. A mild inflammation characterized by small bumps occurs on the blocked ducts and evenly spreads in form of small patches across the skin. The rash usually goes on its own and can last up to a few hours or days.
The following are symptoms associated with sweat rash.
- Red rash with scaling on the periphery
- Stinging skin
- Burning skin
- Broken skin especially in the space found between toes or fingers)
- And, foul-smelling odor
The following are a list of treatment method for sweat rash.
An individual can use antiseptic and antibiotics to get rid of the fungal overgrowth.
For a person prone to sweat rash, an air conditioned environment would bring relief as it helps reduce the heat and thus sweating. Also, one can move to a place where the weather condition is friendlier to avoid severe cases of heat rash.
Use of calamine lotion
Calamine helps in relieving of discomfort, hence it can be used especially in itchy and burning cases.
Cold water is able to compress and provide better ventilation, which in turn soothes the inflamed areas.
Avoid irritating the skin
One should avoid excessive clothing or friction from clothing. Also, reducing excessive soap and contact of the skin with irritants will minimize the effects of sweat rash. During the humid seasons, you should use clothing made of breathable synthetic fabrics or those capable of absorbing sweat.
Avoid tight clothing around areas where folds of skin are more likely to rub against each other such as the waist, abdomen, chest, or groin as this inhibits evaporation of sweat. If you are battling with sweat rash due to obesity, it is advisable to come up with a weight management plan as excess growth of skin around the neck area, armpits, or groin that rubs or touches the adjacent skin can prevent sweat evaporation. People with weight related issues are prone to battle with sweat rash for longer periods.
Avoid some medication such as isotretinoin or clonidine as they are more likely to cause sweat rash. Make sure you visit a dermatologist and you are perfectly aware of what products to use on your skin because heavy creams and some lotions can clog up sweat ducts.
Refrain from bundling yourself in tight clothing because it inhibits ventilation and may result to blockage. More often than not, sweat rash can get infected especially if it has been scratched. When bacteria invade the open wounds, they may cause symptoms such as redness, swelling, increased pain, fever, or boils. Therefore antibiotic treatment taken orally with topical creams or other medications may be necessary to treat infections that are associated with sweat rash.
In conclusion. avoid getting your ducts blocked by constantly taking great care of your skin. This is perhaps the best assuring solution when it comes to prevention of sweat rash.
Sweat Rash – Pictures
Filed in: Skin Problems