Baby Heat Rash: Treatments & Causes

Baby Heat Rash: Treatments & Causes

Spotted a heat rash on baby? Here’s all you need to know about newborn heat rash, baby heat rash treatments, and how long heat bumps on baby last.
Heat rash on babies can look alarming, and the technical names for baby heat rash (miliaria and prickly heat) make it sound even scarier.

But in most cases, infant heat rash isn’t too serious.

That brand new baby skin is just so delicate that it’s all too easy for it to be irritated by the outside world.

And heat can be especially irritating to baby’s skin.

In this article 📝

  • What causes baby heat rash?
  • What does a heat rash look like on a baby?
  • What does heat rash on babies feel like?
  • How long does it take for baby heat rash to go away?
  • How do you treat baby heat rash?
  • When should I worry about baby heat rash?

What causes baby heat rash?

We worry so much about keeping babies warm, but it turns out it’s also pretty easy for them to get overheated and get baby heat rash.

Because babies are still working out how to use their built-in air-conditioning system, they haven’t got the whole regulating your own body temperature thing down yet.

In particular, they’re not very good at sweating.

With that tiny body comes tiny sweat glands.

This means that sweat cannot escape from under the skin as easily as it can for us full-grown humans.

Add to that those adorable little baby skin folds (aka sweat trappers), and the job of perspiring effectively becomes even tougher.

They are literally not sweating the small stuff—and as it turns out, this can be a bit of an issue.

That’s where baby heat rash comes in.

What does a heat rash look like on a baby?

Heat rash on babies usually occurs on the upper torso and neck.

In most cases, heat rash on baby skin looks something like a sprinkling of tiny pink dots on that perfect plumpness.

It can also look like little blisters.

But what your baby’s heat rash looks like depends on what type they have.

There are three types of heat rash that range in severity:

  • Miliaria crystallin: This one looks like tiny little flesh-colored blisters and is the least worrisome of the baby heat rash family.
  • Miliaria ruba: This is the most common baby heat rash, sometimes called “prickly heat”, these heat bumps on baby can be itchy and easily irritated.
  • Miliaria profunda: This one will cause the most discomfort for your baby and can produce a burning sensation. In this one, the sweat leaks into the skin and causes flesh-colored lesions. This version can get infected and leave your little one with heat exhaustion. If you see this one, it’s best to call your healthcare provider ASAP.

Can babies get heat rash in diaper area?

Yes, baby heat rash around the diaper area is pretty common ‒ it’s an area that can get pretty toasty and baby’s sensitive skin around the area can get easily irritated.

Can a heat rash spread?

Yes, infant heat rash can spread on baby’s body, but they’re not infectious, so if baby has a heat rash, that doesn’t mean that you will also get a heat rash.

What does heat rash on babies feel like?

You may have heard baby heat rash referred to as prickly heat.

The prickly heat babies experience is something like a tingling pins-and-needles feeling.

This can be accompanied by itching that may look as if it’s driving your baby mad.

The itching and discomfort can lead to other issues, like trouble sleeping to just being downright cranky.

How long does it take for baby heat rash to go away?

So how long does heat rash last on baby?

The good news is that, with treatment, baby heat rash goes away quite quickly—as in, about 3 days.

So hopefully your baby will be playing it cool in the not-so-distant future.

How do you treat baby heat rash?

Now for how to treat heat rash on baby.

Luckily, heat rash on babies can be treated quite easily and, in most cases, does not require medical attention.

Here are our Peanut mamas’ favorite baby heat rash treatments so you can have the coolest kid in town:

  • Get your baby out of the heat. Shade is your friend if you’re outdoors.
  • Keep it cool. Fans. Cloths. A nice cool bath. Anything to turn down the temperature.
  • A cold compress on those itchy bumps can do wonders.
  • Drink up! Make sure they get enough liquid to cool them down from the inside.
  • Let them wear their birthday suit for a bit. It really helps to air out their skin.

It’s unlikely that baby heat rash will get infected, but if you notice the condition worsening, it’s a good idea to check in with your doc.

What to put on baby’s heat rash

Is there anything topical you can put on baby’s heat rash to speed up the healing process?

Well, most of the time, it’s best to simply opt for cold compresses and leave their infant heat rash alone ‒ baby’s heat rash can be extra sensitive and can get infected if you put the wrong treatment on it.

But if you’re worried about baby’s heat rash, have a chat with your doctor ‒ they’ll be able to offer the best advice for you and baby.

What cream is good for heat rash?

If baby’s heat rash is particularly painful, your doctor may recommend a hydrocortisone cream, which can act as a sort of itch-killer and a baby-safe moisturizer to get their skin back to baby freshness.

But it’s important not to use hydrocortisone unless your doctor recommends it, as it can be harmful if baby doesn’t need it.

Is baby powder good for heat rash?

Not particularly ‒ baby powder doesn’t treat baby heat rash, but it can help prevent it.

Baby powder can stop baby sweat from hanging around, which can cause newborn heat rash.

But if baby already has infant heat rash, it’s best not to apply anything to it unless your doctor advises otherwise.

Is Vaseline good for heat rash?

No, Vaseline or other petroleum jellies are not baby heat rash treatments ‒ the skin needs to breathe to heal, so it’s best to leave it uncovered, unless your doctor advises a different treatment.

Is coconut oil good for heat rash?

No, coconut oil is not a good treatment for baby heat rash, as it blocks baby’s pores and can prevent healing.

What soap is good for heat rash?

It’s best not to use any soap when dealing with baby heat rash.

Instead, rinse the infant heat rash area with lukewarm water to wash any sweat away.

Is Aloe Vera good for baby heat rash?

While a small study in 2012 suggested that using topical aloe could help with diaper rash, there haven’t been any conclusive studies on whether aloe vera is suitable for baby heat rash.

So we’d recommend avoiding it for now, until more scientific studies have been carried out.

Should you moisturize heat rash?

No ‒ it’s generally best to moisturize baby heat rash from the inside out.

That is, avoiding applying topical treatments (unless advised by a doctor) and instead opting for more fluids to keep baby hydrated.

When should I worry about baby heat rash?

More often than not, baby heat rash is nothing to worry about and will go away on its own.

However, if you notice any of the following, visit your doctor as soon as possible:

  • The baby heat rash blisters or bumps look infected.
  • The heat rash area is swollen.
  • The infant heat rash is more painful than itchy.
  • Baby’s temperature isn’t going down, even with fluids and being put in a cooler area.
  • Baby has a cough or other cold-related symptoms.
  • Baby is particularly lethargic.

We know, seeing any blemish on baby’s skin, like baby heat rash, can be scary ‒ if you’re ever concerned, speak to your doctor.

Stay cool, mama!

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