Springtime and Rashes. How to Enjoy the Sun Without the Rash
From heat rash to sunburn, there are many types of rashes that show up in spring. But don’t let the risk of developing a rash keep you cooped up indoors. Here’s how to recognize, prevent, and treat rashes that might crop up in the springtime.
Of all the rashes on the body, there is one particular type that is quite common in warmer months: heat rash. This type of rash appears in pink or red, bumpy patches of skin, or even crimson-colored welts in severe cases. These bumps are actually clogged pores, which is the root cause of heat rash. When excess sweat is produced, the pores are often blocked, resulting in heat rash.
Heat rash is known medically as miliaria, but it’s often deemed “prickly heat” because it can be accompanied by a burning, itching, or tingling sensation. It’s especially common during periods of physical exertion in warm environments, such as exercising outside on a hot spring day.
Sun-related skin rashes include everything from sunburn to sun allergy. Sunburn, which manifests in red, tender, and stinging skin, is definitely something to avoid at all costs — and not only because it’s painful and will peel for weeks afterward. Sunburn is actually caused by damage to the skin cells. This damage, which comes from the sun’s UV rays, can cause skin cancer.
Even one blistering sunburn in childhood or adulthood can result in melanoma, basal cell carcinoma (BCC), or squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) later down the line. But even if sunburn doesn’t produce skin cancer, it will cause sun damage and premature aging. When exercising outdoors, reduce long-term damage from the sun by always wearing SPF 30 or higher.
Unfortunately, there is such a thing as an allergy to the sun. Polymorphic light eruption, or PMLE, shows up as a red rash with blotches or bumps. It may appear every time the allergic person is exposed to sunlight, or may show up only early on in the season when sun exposure is just beginning. Occasionally, in severe cases, medication may be required. Patients can be allergy tested for a sun allergy through patch testing or phototesting.
Preventing and Treating Skin Rashes
Skin care for sun damage includes treating the affected skin as well as the underlying cause. For sun allergy or PMLE, the use of an OTC steroid cream like hydrocortisone can stop the itching, and an OTC antihistamine can help stop the allergic reaction. Cold compresses on the skin can help with both PMLE and sunburn. Always avoid scratching or peeling affected skin, as infections can occur if skin breaks. And if you’re frequently reacting to the sun, be sure to see a dermatologist who can put you on a specific preventative medication.
Preventing heat rash, on the other hand, might be as easy as choosing an air-conditioned gym for workouts rather than exercising outside. Wearing loose-fitting clothing rather than tight activewear can help reduce the chance of developing heat rash. Hydrating adequately and cooling down in front of a fan or taking a cold shower after exposure to heat can help prevent heat rash as well.
Contact The Dermatology Group
If you’re in the Cincinnati, Ohio area and need help managing springtime rashes, contact The Dermatology Group today for an appointment.