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Essential guide to prickly heat

01/05/2018 by Alexandra

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This guide provides information and advice on prickly heat. Prickly heat is a common issue which can be extremely uncomfortable. We look at what prickly heat is, what causes it and how to choose a sunscreen for skin prone to prickly heat.

For around 10% of the population, prickly heat can make hot summer days and beach holidays almost unbearable. However for many people, simply switching to a non-waterproof, chemical-free sunscreen could significantly reduce the irritating effects of prickly heat.

Organic Children Scent Free Sun Lotion - SPF30 150ml

Organic Children Scent Free Sun Lotion - SPF30 150ml

High factor scent free SPF30 suitable for children with sensitive skin

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Scent Free Sun Lotion - SPF30 200ml

Scent Free Sun Lotion - SPF30 200ml

High factor fragrance-free SPF30 sun lotion suitable for sensitive skin

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Edelweiss Sun Lotion with Tan Accelerator - SPF15 200ml

Edelweiss Sun Lotion with Tan Accelerator - SPF15 200ml

Organic SPF15 sun lotion with tan accelerator

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Sun Care Sample Pack

Sun Care Sample Pack

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What is prickly heat?

Also known as miliaria, prickly heat causes bumps or blisters to appear in a rash across areas of skin during hot weather. The rash can take several days to disappear even if the weather cools down.

Prickly heat can appear almost anywhere on the body, especially confined areas such as the armpits, but tends not to affect the face. It often affects areas of the body covered by clothing as there tends to be more sweat produced where the clothing rubs against the skin.

"Prickly heat is caused by sweat glands in the skin becoming blocked and affects around 10% of the population"

This rash is caused by sweat glands in the skin becoming blocked. This stops the sweat from escaping the body and instead leads it to leak into nearby skin, causing redness and rashes. Whilst this does not generally have any serious health consequences, the prickly heat rash can be very irritating and can really put a dampener on holidays to hot countries.

Some people are more prone to prickly heat than others. Babies and children quite commonly suffer from it as their sweat glands are not properly developed yet and can produce sweat too quickly for their skin to cope with. Being overweight can also increase the likelihood of developing a prickly heat rash as this can lead to increased sweating.

5 quick tips for reducing prickly heat

The first way to reduce your prickly heat is to reduce the amount you sweat. This can be achieved by simple measures such as:

  • Staying in the shade
  • Wearing only loose-fitting, cool clothes
  • Showering in cool water regularly
  • Avoiding exercise in hot weather
  • Drinking more water than usual

Can waterproof sunscreens cause prickly heat?

As well as reducing the amount you sweat, you should try to prevent your sweat glands from becoming blocked. These may become blocked through dead skin cells or bacteria.

Some people find that exfoliation can help as it removes the dead skin cells blocking their pores, allowing the sweat to escape normally. However, it is advisable to exfoliate before going on holiday as waiting until the prickly heat has started could irritate the skin further.

"Waterproof sunscreen contains pore-clogging ingredients such as mineral oils and silicone."

One further cause of blocked sweat glands is waterproof sunscreen, which contain pore-clogging ingredients such as mineral oils and silicone. These ingredients are like wrapping your skin in cling film and can aggravate your prickly heat, as they reduce the amount of sweat that can escape your skin. The resulting build up of sweat inside the skin can then create prickly heat rash symptoms.

Green People has a range of natural water-repellent sunscreens using natural waxes, which do not contain the pore-clogging ingredients which can aggravate prickly heat and they are the best sunscreens for prickly heat. Our sunscreens are also free from PABA, parabens and artificial colours and fragrances.

Soothing prickly heat

If you are prone to prickly heat and you are going on holiday to a hot place then it is best to take a soothing after sun lotion with you. If you develop prickly heat, it will help to reduce the itching which prickly heat can cause, as well as calming and hydrating sun-exposed skin.

Green People offers an organic after sun lotion which contains soothing Aloe Vera and Calendula, as well as cooling Mint. Refreshing and calming, it is ideal for using after a day in the sun and will help prolong your tan.

Aloe Vera

Antiperspirants and prickly heat

Another skin care product which you may want to consider changing is antiperspirant. This is actually designed to stop sweat escaping so if you get prickly heat in your underarms, this could be the reason. Aluminium chloride and aluminium chlorohydrate are the two most common pore-clogging ingredients found in antiperspirants.

You may wish to try switching to a natural deodorant which does not contain pore-clogging aluminium, as this will allow sweat to escape but prevent it from smelling.


Have you got a question about prickly heat or our organic sun lotion? Our customer care team is happy to help if you have any questions about prickly heat or our organic sun lotion. Please call us on 01403 740350 or leave your comment or question below.


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