heat rash

Photo by summitcheese

In treating prickly-feeling heat rash, the focus needs to be on cooling the skin. Here are some tips and suggestions for treating heat rash naturally.

1. Ice

Simple but effective, an icy compress can soothe and cool skin very effectively. Rather than rubbing the skin directly with ice, put ice cubes or an ice pack (such as you use in your cooler) in a zip-top plastic bag and wrap it with a cloth before applying it to the skin.

2. Baking Soda (sodium bicarbonate)

A lukewarm bath (the cooler the better) in which 1/4 cup of baking soda has been dissolved, helps relieve heat rash. For children, use 2-3 teaspoons of baking soda since the bath will have less water. For babies, add only about a teaspoon to their bath. Remember to pat dry with a soft towel; don’t rub your skin vigorously or that will worsen the rash.

Another option is to apply baking soda to the rash in the form of a compress. On a wet cotton cloth, sprinkle baking soda liberally. Fold the cloth over so that the baking soda is on the inside, and lay the cool compress on the affected areas. You may need several compresses, and the applications will need to be repeated. Cool the compress in a cooler or refrigerator between applications, and/or re-dampen the cloth with cool water.

3. Peppermint Powder

You can make this cooling powder yourself. Mix 1 part baking soda with 3 parts cornstarch. Add 2-3 drops of peppermint essential oil per cup of the soda/cornstarch mixture. Shake vigorously to mix the oil in well. Pat this on to cool and soothe heat rash. It is especially effective as a heat rash preventative, and/or applied after a lukewarm shower or bath.

4. Peppermint Tea

All of the mints – wintergreen, spearmint, peppermint, etc. – have cooling properties. Add a cup or two of mint tea to a lukewarm-to-cool bath. You can also apply mint tea to your heat rash directly, like a lotion. Soaking a cloth in mint tea and applying it to the rash as a compress is also effective.

5. Witch Hazel

A cotton ball soaked in extract of witch hazel (available at drugstores, usually sold near the hydrogen peroxide and rubbing alcohol) can be patted on the skin to soothe heat rash.

6. Aloe

This ancient skin remedy is very effective at treating burns, and although heat rash is not a burn, it is a hot, prickly skin irritation that responds well to aloe vera gel. You can use the gel directly from the plant; just slit an aloe leaf lengthwise and press the split leaf onto the skin. Do not rub it in, as you don’t want to irritate the skin further.

7. Oatmeal

The anti-inflammatory properties of oatmeal are very soothing to skin irritations. It can be applied as a poultice using the method described in number 2 above; just replace the baking soda with finely ground oats or oatmeal. You can also add a cupful of oatmeal or oat flour to a lukewarm bath, but you will want to tie it into a muslin or cheesecloth bag so that it does not clog up your bath drain after you’re through.