It may seem like summer is a long way away, but if you suffer from prickly heat, summer can be an uncomfortable season that you could do without. So, what causes this nasty reaction to heat and could the products you use, such as your deodorant be exacerbating it?
What is prickly heat?
Prickly heat, heat rash, or Miliaria, is a rash that develops in some people when they sweat more than usual. It is not usually serious, but it can be itchy and uncomfortable.
What causes prickly heat?
Prickly heat is due to a blockage of the sweat ducts. You have thousands of sweat glands that lie just under the skin surface. These glands make sweat, which travels down the sweat duct to the skin surface. If the sweat duct is blocked, the sweat seeps into the nearby skin. This causes tiny pockets of swelling, which cause the rash.
What blocks the sweat ducts?
Some people are more prone to prickly heat than others and one theory is it’s caused by a bacterium called Staphylococcus epidermidis. This bacterium lives harmlessly on the skin, however it makes a sticky substance, which combined with excess sweat and dead skin cells, may cause the blockage. However, anything that blocks the sweat ducts can cause prickly heat, so taking extra care over your choice of products could help.
What can you do to avoid prickly heat?
Obviously one of the best ways to avoid prickly heat is to avoid hot or humid conditions, but that’s not always possible, especially in the summer months. Frequent cool showers can help stop the rash developing, but you also might want to reconsider the products you’re using.
A strong antiperspirant may seem like a good idea to stop the sweating, but traditional antiperspirants work by blocking the skin’s pores, which is counterproductive if you’re prone to prickly heat.
Why not try a natural deodorant this summer? The Salt of the Earth range of natural deodorants feature natural antibacterial properties and won’t block your pores. Instead they leave a thin layer of mineral salts on the skin, which hinder the growth of odour causing bacteria. Not only will you feel and smell fresh, it could help with your prickly problem!