What is Prickly Heat?

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Posted: 22/07/2015 Print

What is Prickly Heat?

Guest blog by Sam Hadadi

The Low-down on Prickly Heat

For many of us, the soaring temperatures and clear blue skies are a reason to celebrate. BBQs, cool drinks in the garden, soaking up the sun, playing with our kids in the paddling pool…

The summer just brings so much joy, doesn’t it?

Yet, for some, it can bring misery with it too. Along with the summer sun can also come prickly heat, also known as 'milaria rubra' or 'heat rash'.

What Is Prickly Heat?

Prickly Heat is an uncomfortable, itchy rash made up of raised spots. As well as looking a little unsightly, it can also cause swelling, as well as a stinging or prickling feeling when touched. Itchy, sore and not exactly pretty, it can make the summer sun hell for anyone with sensitive skin. 

Fred Beach

What Causes It?

Prickly heat will usually rear its nasty little head when you sweat more than normal. This is most often in hot and humid weather, although it can also occur in the winter too.


The condition is triggered by blocked sweat glands, which then leads to irritated skin and that all-too-common rash.

Who Gets It?

Quite simply, anyone! In fact, it’s pretty darn common – around a third of people may suffer with it at any given time.

Of course, your risk of developing it is higher if you’re in a hot climate, and you’re also more likely to get it if you’re overweight, or wear too many clothes.  It’s also more common in babies and children.

How Can I Treat It?

Oh, the million dollar question!

Happily, prickly heat isn’t a serious condition and will usually disappear on its own. Of course, that’s not much use to those of you who suffer with those uncomfortable and often painful rashes.


If you find yourself suffering with it, you can try:

  • Avoiding the heat and humidity by spending time in the shade.
  • Wear loose, cotton clothing, avoiding man-made fabrics wherever possible.
  • Keep your skin cool with a cold bath, shower, compress or air con.
  • Use calamine lotion or aloe vera to soothe that itch.
  • Take an anti-histamine if you’re able to.

Still suffering? There are also plenty of natural remedies you can try, including our favourites:

  • Try bathing in a tub filled with cool water and oats. Oats are a wonderful anti-inflammatory treatment for skin conditions.
  • Soak a flannel or muslin cloth in cold water with one teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda (a gentle exfoliating agent). Place the cloth over the affected area for 5 minutes and repeat whenever needed.
  • Mix gram flour (or chickpea flour) with water to make a paste, then apply to the body. This absorbs excess water.
  • You can even try mixing gram flour or bicarbonate of soda with our very own Lucy Bee coconut oil - a wonderful anti-inflammatory, antibacterial oil in its own right!

See more of Lucy's Guides here, for tips on healthy living.

Sam Hadadi


About Lucy Bee Limited 

Lucy Bee is concerned with Fair Trade, ethical and sustainable living, recycling and eating close to nature with additive free products for health.

The views and opinions expressed in videos and articles on the Lucy Bee website/s or social networking sites are those of the author/s and do not necessarily reflect those of Lucy Bee Limited. 

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About Sam

Portrait of Sam

Sam Hadadi is an ex-BBC journalist and now a freelance writer specialising in fitness and food.

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