The ultimate guide to calming and cooling your skin after a sudden heat rash flare up, without stripping your skin, drastically changing your skin routine or causing more damage.
We've all been there... the sun is finally out and you're keen to tan, swim, play sports and just soak in some much needed Vitamin D. But unfortunately, your skin can end up dealing with the full detrimental effect of a spontaneous day out in the sunshine, if you're not careful.
We've recently had some incredible weather here in the UK and I, like so many, rushed out to enjoy it while it lasted. I had a lovely day playing tennis but what was waiting for me on my skin when I got home, wasn't so lovely at all. Heat rash. And a lot of it.
The combination of makeup, SPF and excess sweating throughout the day had left me with blotchy, prickly, itchy rashes all over my face. At first, I had no clue what it was and I assumed it was just another weird reaction from my ever-so-sensitive skin but once the spots started to arrive in their dozens, I knew I had to do some googling. Heat rash is essentially blocked pores that end up trapping perspiration under your skin which causes an unsightly reaction. The first thing I did was frantically search how to get of it, fast. But, like everything, it takes time and patience to treat these things properly.
To save you the stressful search for a"quick fix", (there isn't one by the way), I've put together some top tips that helped me to cool my skin back to normality in just a few days.
The number on thing you can do when heat rash flares up is to cool your skin down, fast. Heat rash tends to ease up pretty quickly once the skin is cooled again; this is especially important if you haven't yet started to get the small white-headed spots in the effected area. Once these bad boys start to appear, willing your skin back to normal will take a little longer as the reaction has settled.
The best thing to do is take cold showers and baths that will lower your core temperature significantly. Using cold face cloths on the effected area will also be a great help, especially if you're experiencing prickly heat or itching. Make sure to tap or dab the area - avoid rubbing with harsh cloths or towels as this will only agitate the area further.
Allergy tablets are great at reducing swelling and reactions, therefore they're absolutely perfect to use for heat rashes too. Oral antihistamines are available over the counter at many pharmacies, I used Piriton which I found helped to dramatically reduce the appearance of the rash in just a few days.
Simply take one a day with a glass of water until the rash subsides
As much as you want to drown your skin in moisturisers, serums and treatments when a problem appears the best thing to do is keep it simple and let your skin do it's own thing for a while.
Avoid any "active" ingredients like exfoliators, Retinol or Vitamin C but opt for hydrating serums and gel based moisturisers to add back in any hydration that would have been lost.
Don't forget to use an SPF though, keeping the skin protected during this time is vital
Just like active skincare, heavy makeup is a no go of you want the rash to clear up quickly. A lot of makeup contain oils that can clog your pores further causing a never ending cycle, of irritated skin.
If going makeup free isn't your thing then swap to a light, tinted moisturiser that has hydrating skin ingredients in to give some sheer coverage that won't irritate the skin.
Getting hot at night is arguably one of the worst things about British Summertime, with a lack of aircon it can be challenging to keep yourself cool at bed time which is, of course, the exact opposite of what you need when dealing with heat rash.
Switch out your thicker duvet for a more lightweight/linen option and make sure you are changing your sheets often to ensure there's no lingering bacteria that can lead to further breakouts on your skin.
In summary, the key when dealing with a bad case of heat rash is to keep your skin cool and as clean as possible staying away from active ingredients, heavily fragranced products and thick makeup. Treat your skin as you would if it was permanently sensitive by using very gentle, hydrating ingredients and it will eventually clear up.