Baby Heat Rash: What Is It, Causes, And How To Prevent It

Calm your child's irritated skin naturally with these hydrating ingredients.

Medically Reviewed by Dr. Jennifer Mercier, ND, PhD
By Shaheen Naser

Heat rashes in infants are common and usually appear after the onset of summers. Getting rid of heat rash in the baby is a query and concern of many new parents.

The rashes usually lighten and disappear within a few days. However, they can be discomforting for the newborn. Topical applications may relieve the sensation to some extent. Additionally, you can always try out some safe remedies to ease the discomfort and promote healing. In this article, you will know more about heat rashes and natural remedies to treat them. Read on.

What Is A Heat Rash?

Heat rash is one of the most common types of rashes. This skin condition is also referred to as miliaria, and it is often found to affect both children and adults alike when the climate turns hot and humid.

The clogging of pores is one of the main causes of heat rash. Friction on the skin’s surface can also trigger heat rashes. Babies often develop such rashes on their neck. However, heat rash can also develop in other skin folds, such as the thighs, armpits, and elbows.

There are different types of heat rash that not only look different but also range in their severity and symptoms.

[ Read: How To Get Rid Of A Skin Rash ]

Types And Symptoms Of Heat Rash In Babies

There are three types of heat rash. They include:

  • Miliaria crystallina: This is the most common and mildest kind of heat rash. This type is characterized by clear or white bumps on the skin that are filled with fluid. Such bumps often burst but do not pain or itch. This type of heat rash is much more common in babies than in adults.
  • Miliaria rubra: This type of heat rash is also often referred to as prickly heat. It is more common in adults although children may also develop it. Miliaria rubra causes more discomfort as compared to miliaria crystallina as it often occurs deeper in the outer layer of the skin. The symptoms exhibited by this type of heat rash include:
    • An itchy or prickly sensation in the affected area
    • Red bumps on the skin
    • Lack of sweating in the areas of the rash
    • Inflamed and sore skin

In some instances, these bumps may also progress and become filled with pus. The doctors then refer to this rash as miliaria pustulosa.

  • Miliaria profunda: This is the least common type of heat rash. It has high chances of recurrence and may take several weeks to heal. Miliaria profunda usually occurs in the dermis, which lies deeper in the skin. It typically occurs in adults and surfaces after a period of physical activity. This type of heat rash is characterized by large and tough, skin-colored boils. Since it prevents sweat from leaving the skin, it can also trigger symptoms of nausea and dizziness in the affected individuals.

Are you wondered what contributes to the development of such rashes in babies? Let’s find out.

What Causes Heat Rash In Babies?

As already mentioned, heat rash is a result of clogged skin pores that cannot expel sweat. Many factors can contribute to this. They include:

  • A hot and humid climate
  • Wearing clothing that traps heat
  • Use of thick lotions and creams
  • Overheating of the body due to multiple layers of clothing

Since babies have underdeveloped skin pores, they are more likely to develop a heat rash.

While heat rash usually eases away on its own, a few natural remedies can help speed up its healing without any side effects.

How To Treat Heat Rash In Babies Naturally

1. Cold Compress

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You Will Need

A cold compress or ice pack

What You Have To Do
  1. Apply a cold compress or clean cloth dipped in cold water to the affected area.
  2. Leave it on for a minute and remove.
  3. Repeat a few times.
How Often You Should Do This

You can do this 2-3 times a day.

Why This Works

A cold compress can help in cooling and soothing the affected area. It relieves the symptoms of inflammation while also healing the rash faster.

2. Essential Oils

a. Tea Tree Oil

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You Will Need
  • 1 drop of tea tree oil
  • 2-3 teaspoons of coconut oil
What You Have To Do
  1. Add a drop of tea tree oil to two to three teaspoons of coconut oil.
  2. Mix well and apply the blend to the affected area.
  3. Leave it on for 20-30 minutes.
  4. Rinse it off.
How Often You Should Do This

You can do this once daily until you notice an improvement in the symptoms.

Why This Works

Tea tree oil exhibits antiseptic and anti-inflammatory activities (1). It can help in soothing the redness and discomfort associated with heat rash.

Caution

Do not use tea tree oil on babies younger than 6 months. Also, never use this oil undiluted.

b. Chamomile Oil

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You Will Need
  • 1 drop of chamomile oil
  • 2-3 teaspoons of coconut oil
What You Have To Do
  1. Add a drop of chamomile oil to two to three teaspoons of coconut oil.
  2. Mix well and apply it topically to the affected area.
  3. Leave it on for 20-30 minutes before rinsing it off.
How Often You Should Do This

You can do this once daily for best results.

Why This Works

Like tea tree oil, chamomile oil also possesses anti-inflammatory properties (2). These properties can help to provide relief by soothing the symptoms associated with heat rash.

Caution

Do not use this oil undiluted and on children below 6 months of age.

3. Cucumber

Shutterstock

You Will Need

Sliced cucumber

What You Have To Do
  1. Take a cucumber and slice it.
  2. Grind the slices to form a thick paste.
  3. Apply the cucumber paste to the affected area.
  4. Leave it on for 5-10 minutes and then wash it off.
How Often You Should Do This

You can do this 2-3 times daily.

Why This Works

Cucumber contains flavonoids and tannins that exhibit analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties (3). These properties may help in calming heat rash in babies.

4. Oatmeal

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You Will Need
  • 1 cup of powdered oatmeal
  • Water
What You Have To Do
  1. Fill a basin or your baby’s bathtub with water.
  2. Add a cup of powdered oatmeal to it and mix well.
  3. Soak your baby in the oatmeal bath for 10-15 minutes.
  4. Pat dry their skin.
How Often You Should Do This

You can do this once daily.

Why This Works

The anti-inflammatory nature of oatmeal plays a significant role in treating many skin disorders (4). It can also help soothe the heat rash and speed up its healing.

5. Fuller’s Earth

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You Will Need
  • ½ tablespoon of Fuller’s earth
  • Water (as required)
What You Have To Do
  1. Mix half a tablespoon of Fuller’s earth with water to form a paste.
  2. Apply it all over the affected area.
  3. Leave it on for 10 minutes.
  4. Rinse off with water.
How Often You Should Do This

You may do this once every 2 or 3 days.

Why This Works

While there are no studies to back this claim, anecdotal evidence suggests that Fuller’s earth can help soothe heat rash in babies as well as adults.

6. Aloe Vera

Shutterstock

You Will Need

Freshly extracted aloe vera gel

What You Have To Do
  1. Take some freshly extracted aloe gel and apply it to the affected area.
  2. Leave it on for 10-15 minutes.
  3. Rinse it off with water.
How Often You Should Do This

You may do this once daily for best results.

Why This Works

Aloe vera gel extracts exhibit anti-inflammatory activities that can help soothe the heat rash and improve its symptoms (5).

Stylecraze Says
Rinse your and your baby’s clothes twice after washing them. This is to get rid of all the detergent residue that may cause irritation or heat rashes.

In addition to these remedies, here are some useful tips that can help prevent the recurrence of heat rashes in your baby.

How To Prevent Heat Rash In Babies

  • Protect your baby and keep them away from the scorching sun.
  • Keep your baby indoors and in air-conditioned rooms, especially during summers.
  • Dress your little one in breathable and loose clothing, especially in summers.
  • Wash areas like your baby’s neck, armpits, and groin with cool water. Pat these areas dry after washing.
  • Check the temperature of your child’s skin every now and then. Apply a cold compress or give them a quick bath if you notice an increase in the temperature.
  • Avoid using thick lotions and creams on your little one.
  • Use a mild soap that doesn’t leave your child’s skin too dry.
Stylecraze Says
Always keep your child’s bedroom and napping area well-ventilated, clean, and cool to prevent heat rashes.

Heat rash in babies occurs mainly due to higher body temperatures. Tight clothes, excess body heat, and friction are the other causes of a heat rash in babies. However, you can get rid of heat rash in babies with some effective remedies. Using cold compress, essential oils like tea tree and chamomile oils, cucumber, oatmeal, and Fuller’s earth may improve these conditions. These natural ingredients exhibit anti-inflammatory properties and help soothe the rashes. In addition, protecting your baby from the sun, avoiding thick lotions, and using a mild soap may prevent heat rashes.

Frequently Asked Questions

When should I worry about baby heat rash?

If your baby’s rash lasts for more than three days or is paired with an infection, fever, or swelling, you should consult a doctor immediately.

What can be mistaken for heat rash?

In children, eczema is commonly mistaken for heat rash due to their similar signs and symptoms.

Does breast milk help heat rash?

Breast milk may help soothe skin irritation associated with heat rashes.

Is baby powder good for heat rash?

It is not recommended to use baby powder if your child has heat rash as it can dry out the skin.

Is Vaseline good for heat rash?

Yes. Vaseline can moisturize the skin and soothe the irritation caused by heat rashes.

Key Takeaways

  • Heat rashes, also called miliaria, are experienced by both children and adults during hot and humid seasons.
  • Miliaria crystallina, miliaria rubra, miliaria profunda are the various types of heat rash.
  • Cold compress, essential oils, chamomile oil, cucumber, and oatmeal are natural remedies for heat rash.

References

  1. Melaleuca alternifolia (Tea Tree) Oil: a Review of Antimicrobial and Other Medicinal Properties” Clinical Microbiology Reviews, US National Library of Medicine.
  2. Chamomile, an anti-inflammatory agent inhibits inducible nitric oxide synthase expression by blocking RelA/p65 activity” International Journal Of Molecular Medicine, US National Library of Medicine.
  3. Free Radical Scavenging and Analgesic Activities of Cucumis sativus L. Fruit Extract” Journal Of Young Pharmacists, US National Library of Medicine.
  4. Oatmeal in dermatology: a brief review.” Indian Journal of Dermatology, Venereology and Leprology, US National Library of Medicine.
  5. Antiinflammatory activity of extracts from Aloe vera gel.” Journal of Ethnopharmacology, US National Library of Medicine.
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author
Shaheen holds a postgraduate degree in Human Genetics and Molecular Biology from Bharathiar University. She is a Geneticist with proficiency... more

Dr. Jennifer Mercier

(ND, PhD)
Jennifer Mercier has been in the practice of women's health since 1999. Her practice started with Massage Therapy and Midwifery... more

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