Heat rash

Heat pimples are an inflammatory disease of the sweat glands, in the jargon they call themselves Miliaria. Other synonyms for heat pimples in common usage or also colloquial are: welding frizzle, heat blisters, dermatitis Hidrotica and Hidroa for the transparent pimples and lichen tropicus or red dog for the red already inflamed form of heat pimples. Heat pimples occur when the ducts of sweat glands clog. This is especially common when warm ambient temperature and high humidity prevail, as in the tropics.

Heat pimples in children, babies and toddlers

Unusually often the itchy heat pimples occur in toddlers and babies. The reason is usually too warm and airtight clothing. Many parents mean it too well with their children and pack them not only in cold weather thick. Especially the small children can only badly inform that they are too warm. Sometimes they whine or scream, but that is a nonspecific signal.

So their overheating is often not noticed. Therefore, heat and heat can easily accumulate on the infant's and baby's body, causing the sweat glands to clog and become poorly ventilated. In addition, bacteria can settle on the skin in this moist, warm environment. Heat pimples can be the result.

Heat pimple in adults

Heat pimples can also occur in adults. They are equally common in both sexes. Although most of the cause is a stay in tropical areas, but not only a holiday in hot areas can be the trigger for the heatpick.

Tight-fitting clothing that prevents the sweat from evaporating on the skin leads to a build-up of heat in our temperate areas, which can cause heat pimples.

What do heatpicks look like?

There are two different types of heatpickles. Depending on the exact location of the sweat glands, heat patches may look different. The typical Miliaria cristallina are water-clear and bulging. The individual bubbles are rarely larger than a pinhead and usually grouped close together.

These groups of heat pimples are again usually distributed over a larger area. They are on the fuselage, especially on the welds, like

  • under the armpits
  • between the shoulders on the back
  • at the cleavage

This crystalline form of heat pimples usually occurs without inflammation, which is why the blisters show no redness. Wipe firmly over the bubbles, they burst open, the blocked sweat gland has contact again to the body surface and clear liquid emerges - similar to a drop of sweat.

The inflammatory form of the heatpick, Miliaria rubra, is more noticeable due to the red color and the skin, which is often reddened by scratching. Where they occur, the skin is swollen and itches or hurts. This form of heat pickle can not be treated by pressing or scratching and remove.

Causes and origin of heat pimples

In contrast to the sun allergy, the heat pimples are not based on an inflammatory reaction against UV rays, but on a blockage of the sweat glands, caused by a heat accumulation. Therefore, heatpick in winter are not impossible. The crystalline form of the heatpick occurs very spontaneously when overheated. It usually passes after only a few hours and does not itch. Because once the heat has stopped, the sweat glands are free again.

It is different, however, with the red heatpickles. They usually arise after several days in tropical areas. Here the obstruction of the glands is already more serious and deeper in the skin. The sweat produced in the glands can therefore no longer contact the body surface and instead spreads out within the skin. This congestion can either lead directly to an inflammation or tear the gland of the sweat gland by overpressure, which eventually leads to inflammation.

The occlusion of the glands is mainly due to the tropical, moist, warm air that swells the skin. Together with the salt in the sweat and the bacteria, which proliferate splendidly between skin and clothing, so an inflammation in the sweat glands is provoked. Heat pimples can arise.

What to do against heat pimples?

There are different forms of treatment for heat pimples, which are applied according to the type of heat pimple. In the case of crystalline heatpickers, no drug treatment is usually necessary, even in children or babies. On the other hand, it is important to have symptomatic treatment by eliminating heat build-up and a general rethinking of the type and quantity of clothing. Onion look and wide, airy clothes are the best prevention.

In rare cases, if the crystalline heat pimples do not go away by themselves, a zinc shake mixture (Lotio zinci spirituosa) can be used.

Also in the case of the red heatpickers a drug therapy is usually not necessary. Soothing powders or the already mentioned zinc mixture can work as they keep the skin dry. If bacterial attack and itching become too strong, local antibiotics can also help against heat pimples, which are applied in the form of creams.

Source: Braun-Falco, Otto & Wolff, Helmut H. (2005). Dermatology and venereology. Landthaler, M. & Plewig, Gerd (ed.), 5th edition. Berlin: Springer Verlag.

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