According to Dr. Michael Shapiro, medical director and founder of Vanguard Dermatology, "Heat rash occurs when the sweat ducts in your skin become clogged, and the sweat can't get to the surface. When the sweat is trapped beneath the skin, it results in mild inflammation that causes the rash." Doesn't that sound delightful? As for how that sweat gets trapped, Dr. Shapiro says tight clothing definitely plays a role. He adds, "Sweat ducts can also be clogged by heavy creams or lotions," which is all the more reason to switch up your skin care in different seasons.
While Dr. Ava Shamban, Beverly Hills dermatologist and Allure insider, notes that the best way to prevent heat rash is just to "not get overheated," she says once you've got it, there are a few things you can do. Over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream should help clear it up, she says. And, regular, gentle exfoliation can help treat and prevent future rashes — whether you're using a mechanical exfoliator like a scrub or a lotion with alpha-hydroxy acid.
Dr. Shapiro says heat rashes usually go away once your skin has the opportunity to cool. "You only need medical treatment if the area becomes infected," he says. So, no need to rush to the doctor if symptoms appear — just keep an eye on it. And, use it as an excuse to wear loose clothing (because, did you really want to be wearing tight jeans right now, anyway?).
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