Sunshine can be uplifting and beneficial to your health and wellbeing; however, warmer weather can also wreak havoc with your skin.
Heat bumps or pimples form in hot and humid environments when blocked sweat ducts trap sweat under your skin. This build-up of sweat and bacteria can cause irritation and inflammation, with resulting bumps that can be both unsightly and itchy. They predominantly develop where sweat is more highly produced, such as the hairline; on covered parts of the skin, such as the back; and in areas of skin-to-skin contact, such as the groin. Heat spots can also affect the face. While they are common among infants, they can also affect the adult population.
There are ways to prevent and treat heat pimples by targeting the cause of the problem, reducing bacteria, and by ensuring your skin is cleansed and can breathe optimally.
It is advisable to cleanse your skin to prevent bacteria build-up, so ensure that you wash once to twice a day; in addition, exfoliating two or three times a week will help to remove dead skin cells and allow the pores to breathe.
If you can, avoid humid environments and stay cool. A cold shower or an ice pack held on the affected area for 15 minutes every four hours can soothe the skin. It is equally important to stay hydrated and drink plenty of water. Protect your skin when outdoors by choosing an SPF lotion of at least 30. Opting for light and loose clothing in an absorbent fabric is ideal.
Over-the-counter creams and lotions can attack bacteria and help to clear up pimples – look for salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide in the ingredients, as these will be the most effective. To soothe the skin, calamine lotion can be beneficial.
There are also more natural ingredients you can try at home, such as witch hazel and tea tree oil, which can be applied directly to the affected areas to reduce pimples. Extra virgin olive oil and aloe vera have a calming effect on areas that are more irritated and itchy. If pimples are on the face, a simple face mask can be made by mixing honey and oats. Simply leave the mixture on the skin for a few minutes before washing it off. If pimples are on the body – especially where there are skin folds and skin contact areas, such as the groin and between the legs – an oatmeal bath can be effective. Mix one cup of oatmeal with your bathwater until it dissolves.
If heat pimples or heat rashes do not clear up and there is a noticeable swelling or redness around the affected areas, or if you develop a fever, seek advice from your general practitioner or pharmacist immediately.
The important thing to remember is that heat pimples are caused by excessive heat and blocked pores and sweat glands; therefore, keeping cool, cleansed and hydrated will detoxify and soothe the skin.