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Prickly heat, also commonly known as heat rash or by it's medical name miliaria, is a mild to painful skin rash that often appears during warm and humid weather, although it can also appear year round for some sufferers, most noticeably people who work in hot conditions or who take part in strenuous exercise.

Why does it appear?

Heat rash develops when blocked pores (sweat ducts) trap perspiration under the skin. It typically happens when the skin surface is warmer than normal and sweat stays in contact with skin for an extended period of time. It can appear on any part of the body (including the face); most commonly the neck, shoulders and chest, also in skin folds where clothing causes friction, armpits, groin, elbow creases and under breasts.

What does it look like?

A redness of the skin, often accompanied by clusters of small pimples which may resemble goosebumps. For a more details, see the three types of heat rash categories below.

What does it feel like?

Symptoms can range from mild to severe and painful. Skin may feel hot to the touch. The sufferer may feel an itchy, burning or prickly sensation in the affected area. This is the origin for the common term "prickly heat rash". In some cases, the rash may form pus-filled blisters.

What are the different types of prickly heat rash?

Heat rash can be divided into three categories, generally classified according to how deep the blocked sweat ducts are. Signs and symptoms for each type vary.

Miliaria crystallina is the mildest form of heat rash and affects the sweat ducts in the top layer of skin. This form is marked by fluid-filled blisters and bumps (papules) that break easily. It’s more common in children and babies than adults. It may not itch or burn, and the small clustered bumps on the skin will appear clear or flesh-toned. The bumps are filled with sweat and you may notice them bursting. Heat rash in children can sometimes look like baby acne.

Miliaria rubra occurs deeper in the skin and is often referred to as prickly heat. It’s more common in adults than in children and it causes red, itchy or prickly feeling bumps on the skin. The affected area may also look inflamed, because sweat pools underneath. Miliaria rubra is known to cause more discomfort than miliaria crystallina because it occurs deeper in the outer layer of the skin, or the epidermis. Occasionally, fluid-containing sacs (vesicles) of miliaria rubra become inflamed and pus-filled (pustular). This condition is called miliaria pustulosa.

Miliaria profunda is a less common and more severe form of heat rash which affects the dermis, a deeper layer of skin. Retained sweat leaks out of the sweat gland into the skin, causing firm, flesh-coloured bumps. The bumps may feel tough or hard.

What should I do if I have symptoms?

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms described above, especially during warm weather, there's a good chance you have prickly heat rash. Unless the symptoms are severe, you will not need to see a doctor and the symptoms can be relieved quickly. For the prevention and treatment of heat rash, follow our link to the next page here:
Heat Rash Prevention & Treatment

Alternatively, go directly to our product page to see buying options for Snake Brand prickly heat cooling powder, which works by cooling the skin and providing rapid relief from heat rash pain and itching. See here for details: