Summer is approaching – and that means hot days, picnics, days by the beach, sweating, cold drinks and A/Cs; it also brings with it a host of infections and diseases – and the irritating prickly heat. Prickly heat can make life pretty uncomfortable.
Miliaria rubra is the scientific name for prickly heat. It is most commonly seen in the face, neck, back, shoulders, and chest areas. It is characterized by reddish rashes that give a stinging or ‘prickly’ sensation. It is not dangerous and goes away on its own, but it can hamper your normal activities because of the discomfort it causes.
Here are a few home remedies you can try to alleviate the symptoms like stinging sensation and itching:
1. Aloe Vera Pulp/Gel
Take an aloe leaf, and cut it open; squeeze out the pulp into a bowl. Apply some of it on the affected area and gently massage it in. You can keep the rest in a refrigerator, and apply it once more in the day. If you have no access to an aloe plant, purchase a good quality aloe vera gel or moisturizer. Aloe contains antiseptic properties that help reduce the severity of skin rashes; it also helps soothe skin by alleviating inflamed skin, and helps keep skin soft and hydrated.
2. Oatmeal Bath
Soak one to two cups oatmeal in lukewarm water. You can use this in two ways:
- If you have a bathtub, add the oatmeal mix to the warm bathwater and soak in it for 15-20 minutes
- Mix the oatmeal and water thoroughly into a paste, and apply onto the skin. Leave it for about 10 minutes, scrub gently, and then wash it off.
This needs to be done every alternate day. Oatmeal helps in exfoliating – removing dead cells, and clearing blocked pores on the skin. This provides relief from itching and inflammation and soothes skin.
3. Fuller’s Earth For Prickly Heat
Mix 3-4 tablespoons of fuller’s Earth, or Multani Mitti with a few drops of rose water, and mix it into a paste. Apply the paste on your heat rashes, and leave for 15-20 minutes. You can then wash it off with cold water. Apply this once a day initially, and then on alternate days till the prickly heat is all gone. Fuller’s Earth helps to unclog pores, and so helps soothe skin and leaves it feeling fresh. Rose water helps to cool angry inflamed skin.
4. Chickpea Flour
Mix 3-4 tablespoons of chickpea flour with water; you can add a few drops of rose water for fragrance. Apply the paste on the rashes, and leave it for 10-15 minutes; afterwards, wash it off with cold water. Apply the flour every day till the rashes are gone. Chickpea flour helps to cleanse the skin, removing impurities that clog skin pores, and it also helps in exfoliation. This way it provides relief from itching and stinging.
5. Baking Soda
Mix a little baking soda in cool water to make a solution – preferably in a wide-mouthed bowl. Dip a clean and soft cloth in the solution and squeeze off excess water. Rub the cloth gently on the skin wherever you have the heat rash. Allow the solution to stay on the skin for a few minutes, and then wash it off with cool water. Repeat this 2-3 times a day. Baking soda contains antibacterial properties, and this helps to prohibit the growth of infection causing bacteria, and also helps soothe skin.
Depending on how many rashes you have, take the required quantity of watermelon. Remove the skin and seeds and mash the flesh into a pulp. Apply this pulp on your skin and leave it for 15-20 minutes, and then wash it off with cool water. You can also add some crushed ice to watermelon pulp and blend it lightly. Drink 2-3 glasses of this juice in a day – it will cool you and keep your skin hydrated as well. Watermelon is a cool fruit that helps soothe and refresh irritated skin. What’s more, watermelon also contains antioxidants that fight free radicals responsible for aging and damaging of the skin.
7. Raw Potato
Wash the potato to remove all traces of dirt, and cut it up into thin slices. Place the slices on the rashes and leave them for 10-15 minutes. Afterwards, you can rinse off with cool water and gently pat dry. You can also gently dab the rashes with the potato slices – do this once a day. Potato is an emollient, and helps soothe the skin, and reduce the itchy, stinging sensation.
Wash and peel some fresh ginger root, and grate it or chop it into thin slices. Boil the chopped or grated ginger in some water. Allow the water to cool, and use a clean and soft cloth to dip in the solution and dab on the affected areas. Wait for 10-12 minutes and then rinse off with cool water. Do this twice a day, as ginger has healing properties that can help alleviate the stinging and itching.
9. Camphor For Prickly Heat
Crush a couple of camphor tablets and mix a little Neem or margosa oil to make a sticky paste. Apply this paste on your skin and leave it on for 5-7 minutes. Wash off with water, and use paper napkins to wipe off oiliness. Do this once a day, till the rashes are gone. Neem or margosa has numerous health benefits, one of them being its antimicrobial nature. This will help prevent infection in the eat rashes. Camphor will help cool the skin and reduce the burning sensation as well as itching.
Mix a little sandalwood powder with cool water to make a paste; preferably, the water should be half the quantity of the sandalwood powder. Apply it on the skin where you have the heat rash. You can wash it off after 10-15 minutes. You can repeat this twice a day till the rashes are gone. Sandalwood has a cooling effect and has been used for centuries in India for burns and wounds, to help heal skin quicker and to cool it as well.