Is This Heat Rash or a Sunburn?

Is This Heat Rash or a Sunburn? | Spectrum Dermatology, Scottsdale

Is This Heat Rash or a Sunburn?

You spent all day in the sun, making the most of the summer weather, but when you look in the mirror and see patches of red, painful skin, you wonder if it’s heat rash or a sunburn. Spectrum Dermatology treats both, and our “Top Docs” know that it can be a challenge to differentiate between the two. However, knowing the difference is critical because treatments between the two can vary drastically.

Most people will assume that red skin after a day in the sun is a sunburn. However, besides featuring red skin, heat rashes and sunburns actually look very different. Sunburns are both pink and red in color and are usually a “flat” red that becomes white when you press on it. Of course, sunburns will usually not extend to areas where clothes covered the skin (unless the clothing material is somewhat transparent).

A heat rash can happen anywhere on the body, including areas that are covered by clothes. They most often occur in moist areas, such as places where tight bands might have caused sweating. Sweat is how we cool ourselves, and if parts of the body aren’t allowing sweat to evaporate, they’re a prime area for heat rash. Blocked sweat glands are the foundation for a heat rash. Some people even get heat rash when they’re inside all day, such as a patient bedridden with the flu and not allowing their sweat to evaporate.

When it comes to treating sunburns or heat rash, it’s always best to consult with a dermatologist. One of the most common treatments for a sunburn is to moisturize with a product to minimize blistering and peeling. However, moisturizing is dangerous for heat rash because the product can make the sweat glands even more clogged. Instead, the common treatment for heat rash is to avoid topical products and stay in a cool area where the skin is allowed to breathe.

Contact Spectrum Dermatology Today!

Cool packs and loose clothing can help both sunburns and heat rash. To get more tips on treating heat rash or sunburns, contact Spectrum Dermatology today, or schedule your appointment for a customized treatment plan.