Prickly heat

The reasons

Development mechanism


Prickly heat symptoms

Diagnostic methods

Prickly heat treatment

Prognosis and prevention

Prickly heat is a specific form of dermatitis, manifested as a result of skin irritation due to excessive sweating.

Prickly heat occurs as a result of an increase in temperature (both the environment and the body itself), as well as due to violations of hygiene rules, which interfere with the functioning of the skin glands – sweat and sebaceous, which causes the skin to respond.

Most often, infants and young children suffer from prickly heat, as their skin is very thin, delicate and sensitive, but adults who suffer from problems with metabolism, overweight and violating hygienic norms, preferring thick and non-breathing clothes may suffer.

The reasons

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In general, prickly heat affects areas of skin with insufficient ventilation:

  • areas of natural body folds (armpits, groin area, knee and elbow bends),
  • the area under the mammary glands in women and very full men,
  • the area behind the ears in children and adults with thick hair,
  • the area between the thighs, if the legs are very full,
  • an area that is constantly under clothing (an area under a bra, swimming trunks, diapers), bandages, headbands.

Contribute to the development of prickly heat:

synthetic clothing, thick non-breathing fabric,

feverish conditions

elevated air temperatures combined with high humidity

injuries and rubbed skin,

the use of creams, oils, fatty bases of cosmetics, clogging the pores,

diabetes, metabolic diseases, overweight.

Development mechanism

An increase in body temperature leads to the inclusion of the protective mechanisms of its cooling – pores open, and perspiration appears, which cools the body.

If the sweat glands are clogged with sebum and cosmetics, if the air is humid and hot, then the sweating processes suffer. Sweat slowly evaporates, causing skin irritation.

The composition of sweat includes salts and biologically active substances that can irritate the skin. With the untimely removal of excess sweat, the microbes that are always there actively begin to multiply on the skin – the process of inflammation of the sweat glands occurs – perspiration, small rash, accompanied by various subjective unpleasant symptoms.


Three different clinical subspecies of chilli are distinguished:

papular prickly heat,

red prickly heat

crystalline prickly heat.

Prickly heat symptoms

Papular prickly heat

This form is more common in adults in hot summer conditions and high humidity.

In the papular form of prickly heat, rashes appear on the skin in the form of small, flesh-colored vesicles, which average 1-2 mm.

Usually pour bubbles in the side surfaces of the chest and abdomen, on the hands or feet.

In addition to the manifestations of prickly heat, peeling and severe dryness of the skin are characteristic, causing itching and discomfort.

Red prickly heat

In the case of the red form of prickly heat, there are nodules and bubbles up to 2 mm in diameter, filled with muddy contents, surrounded by a rim of red.

Bubbles do not merge into a single field, it is very itchy, especially when sweating increases and skin and air temperature increases.

This prickly heat is especially pronounced in the places of friction – between the buttocks, under the diaper, under the breasts of women, between the thighs. This type of prickly heat also occurs more often in adults.

Crystalline prickly heat

A crystalline form of prickly heat usually occurs in children.

These are white or translucent bubbles of no more than 1 mm in size, bubbles tend to merge and form larger zones, they can burst and dry, forming crusts and peeling, easily become infected, and give rise to pyoderma (pustules on the skin). Occur in the area of ​​the forehead and face, on the neck and torso, can be on the shoulders and back.

Itching and swelling can cause severe itching and swelling of the skin, especially in children, imitating many other diseases.

Pimples rash is easy to confuse with the skin manifestations of infectious or allergic diseases (measles, chickenpox, urticaria)

Due to the tenderness of the skin and weak immunity, prickly heat in children is often complicated by the addition of a secondary infection, it progresses rapidly and leads to soak and chafing.

Diagnostic methods

Typically, the diagnosis in typical cases is not difficult and is determined by the results of the examination and complaints.

The skin is wet, sweaty, patches of red and pimples. The diagnosis is established by a pediatrician or therapist. In complicated cases, consult a dermatologist.

Prickly heat treatment

The basis of the treatment of prickly heat in both children and adults is air access to the skin and hygiene.

Do not wrap the child, wear too warm and wear things that increase perspiration.

It is necessary to avoid wearing synthetic or cramped clothes in a hot humid climate, excessive use of soap.

In the presence of rashes, drying measures are necessary – bathing in herbs (a series, chamomile, oak bark ), skin treatment with cotton swabs with herbs.

When sweating in the zone of natural folds help powder – baneotsin , talc, potato starch.

When infected with prickly heat, the skin is treated with a weak pink manganese solution. Dermavaite products help , emulsion with zinc oxide – they relieve itching and redness.

Treatment of the affected skin with an antiseptic solution (for example, an alcohol solution of salicylic acid).

To reduce itching in adults – topically ointment with betamethasone 2 times a day for 3 days, as well as preparations containing menthol, camphor.

With bacterial infection receiving antimicrobial drugs.

For prickly heat creams, oils and fat lotions are prohibited, they will only aggravate the situation.

In case of severe sweating in adults, it is necessary to consult a doctor and treat manifestations of hyperhidrosis (hyperhidrosis).

Avoid physical exertion in hot rooms, in warm clothing.

Slow acclimatization to hot climates is recommended.

Prognosis and prevention

The prognosis for chick fever is favorable, and if the cause is eliminated, it passes in 1-2 days.

The basis of prevention – wearing loose clothing and breathable underwear, body hygiene with regular shower.

For children, the basis of prevention is daily hygienic and air baths, wearing light clothing, in the heat of the day – refusing to change diapers and diapers.

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