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Heat Rash

Heat Rash Overview

Heat rash is the generic group name for a number of skin problems that arise or worsen because of heat exposure or overheating. Although most commonly found in babies, it can still occur in all age groups. Common names for heat rash include prickly heat or miliaria. Other heat rashes include heat urticaria (hives) and sweat retention. Heat rash is prevalent in the summer months and particularly in humid climates. The condition usually is self-limited and resolves in hours to a few days without treatment. Rarely, it may be more severe requiring professional medical care.

Heat Rash Types (Miliaria)

Miliaria is the medical term for the heat related skin condition where tiny, pinpoint, pink to clear bumps form over a body area like the face or neck. It is caused when small sweat particles are trapped in the skin due to blocked pores. This trapping of sweat may cause inflammation and itching around the sweat pores. Miliaria is very common in infants but may also occur in adults. This condition occurs especially after repeated episodes of sweating in a hot, humid environment. Miliaria may look like small clear blisters or like gooseflesh.

There are three types of miliaria:

  1. Clear (miliaria crystalline): mildest form, usually the blisters aren't itchy or painful
  2. Red (miliaria rubra): occurring deeper in the outer skin layer, itchy with red bumps, prickly heat found in infants and adults;
  3. Deep (miliaria profunda): least common form, usually adults after repeated events of heat rash, flesh colored lesions.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/23/2014
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