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Effective Ways to Prevent and Soothe Heat Rash

3 min read

By Emily Lockhart

Medically Reviewed by Dr. Jenny Liu, MD

Heat rash (or miliaria) occurs when the temperature rises and skin overheats. It typically appears during hot, summer temperatures causing hives (urticaria) or painful chafing when skin sweat and rubs together in a humid climate.

Anyone can develop heat rash in a hot, humid environment, but athletes, babies, bedridden patients, and overweight individuals are most prone to heat rash due to higher body temperatures and greater risk of skin friction. If you’re susceptible to heat rash (in addition to wearing light and breathable clothes and turning up your air conditioning), try any of these tips to help prevent and heal any hives or painful skin chafing…

Baking Powder

Baking powder can help soothe a painful heat rash and itchy skin when a ½ to a ¼-cup is sprinkled into tepid bath water. You can also apply the baking power directly to the skin in paste form by mixing it with a little bit of water. This will soothe those painful, pink bumps or blisters on the surface of your skin due to friction from clothing.

Ice Pack

One of the quickest and most basic heat rash alleviators is an ice pack or frozen cloth applied directly to the affected area. This will bring your body temperature down, soothe pain by numbing the area, and lessen swelling and irritation.

Calamine Lotion

When you get an itchy mosquito bite you apply Calamine lotion, right? Well this natural, soothing topical cream has the same benefits and moisturizing effects on heat rash. Not only will it calm painfully, inflamed skin; it will calm itchiness and moisturize dry, chafed skin as well. Plus, it’s fairly inexpensive to purchase over-the-counter at your local pharmacy.

Keep the Area Cool and Dry

It makes sense that if skin is further chafing due to humidity, the best plan of action would be to wipe the area clean and keep it cool and dry until it heals. This might look different for each individual. However, if heat rash is being caused by tight clothing, one should remove the clothing, wipe the area clean, make sure it’s dry, and wear dry, loose fitting clothing so the skin irritation will heal faster.

Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera is a life-saver when it comes to heat rash. A bit of this moisturizing, therapeutic plant can be snipped off and squeezed to reveal a natural, cooling aloe gel that can be applied directly to chaffed or irritated skin.

Pine Tar Soap

Pine tar soap is both soothing and antiseptic, making it an excellent cure for heat rash and other skin ailments. Safe and natural to use basically anywhere on the body, you can apply it in a lather directly to the area of heat rash. Pine tar wood contains natural oils that moisturize and soothe irritated skin.

St. John’s Wort

Before you say, “St. John’s Wort is a mood enhancer not a skin soother” just wait a second. Sure; the natural herb is often recommended to treat depression, but the natural oils within will actually “boost” dry, irritated, chafed skin.

Chamomile Oil

The chamomile plant is popularly dried and used as tea to calm the nerves. However, it would seem the plant’s essential oils are ripe with anti-inflammatory ingredients that calm and relieve itchy rashes and problematic skin.

Oatmeal Bath

When your skin is feeling dry and dull an oatmeal bath always does the trick. Don’t be afraid to sprinkle a quarter cup into your lukewarm bathwater to relieve an itchy heat rash as well.

MD, Board-Certified Dermatologist and Assistant Professor of Dermatology

Dr. Jenny Liu is a board-certified dermatologist and an assistant professor in the Twin Cities. Her academic interests are complex medical dermatology, ethnic dermatology and medical education. She uses her blog and Instagram ( to educate others on all things dermatology and share her own tips and tricks regarding skin care.

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