OMG! As soon as the sun shines brightly and we decoratively put a wisp of nothing on display in our favourite street café, it starts to prickle. Unfortunately, it’s not the joyful anticipation of the upcoming date but the mean and itchy prickly heat. Is there an emergency plan?
„Milaria Cristallina“ – the name sounds too sweet! It seems to be a perfect recommendation for our friend who’s expecting a baby. But, don’t think any further, it’s the devil in disguise – the melodious word of Latin origin means nothing other than „prickly heat“! Thus, better re-consider – and all jokes aside, we’re in no laughing mood when suddenly our body is riddled by itchy little blisters.
Prickly heat is an unpleasant topic hitting us hard in summer, when at last we can show some skin. Beneath the armpits, on the front of our chest, in the neck… strange in some way, because UV radiation does not really get to these relatively hidden spots.
And here’s the crux of the matter! In reality, the sun is not to be blamed for the horrible, sometimes weepy, blisters on the upper skin, which burst eventually in case of contact. The very simple reason for these nasty skin irritations is heat accumulation caused either by clothes that fit too tightly or too much cosmetics. After all, the high temperatures get us into sweat, and the more our sweat glands are blocked, the more it gets uncomfortable, even without extensive workout.
Why prickly heat?
Heat accumulation! Thus, high temperatures, humid air bacteria included, combined with salt sweating to the surface plus tight, little breathable clothes. All this together results in a highly infectual mixture which – if it’s persistent – bears this sweet sounding name „Milaria Rubra“. If it gets there, the sweat glands are already blocked.
In simple cases of Milaria Cristallina it’s sufficient to save your skin from overheating by waving goodbye to the sun. Thus, stay in the shade, take off your clothes – if possible, of course – and clean your skin. Within a few hours only, the sweat glands are relieved and the blisters should be gone.
If not, you were hit by the more persistent „Rubra” version which often arises after a few holidays. In this case, the sweat that couldn’t reach the skin surface for quite a while, has already spread inside the skin and is now causing irritations.
Don’t panic – you don’t need the prescription cortisone cream as a lifesaver. All you need is either a simple Zinc ointment – which is available at the pharmacy – or perhaps absorbent powders. If intense itching is driving you nuts, please feel free to apply your cream against itchy insect bites, which is part of your travel pharmacy anyway.
Rather a sun allergy?
Prickly heat can be easily distinguished from blisters caused by a sun allergy. The latter is not triggered by heat accumulation but by UV radiation.
Let’s get this straight: Prickly heat mostly occurs in skin folds where many sweat glands can easily cause heat accumulation. Sun allergy shows obviously at body parts which are particularly exposed to the sun, usually on the décolleté. In this case, the sun lotion should possibly be replaced by a product from the pharmacy, containing few grease, preservatives and perfume. Shade and cooling are necessary as well, until the irritated skin is fully relieved. After that, sun worshippers are back on track.
English translation: Danielle De Bie