Monday, July 1, 2013

My Tips to Avoid Heat Rash

Ever since I can remember, I have suffered from heat rash on most of my beach vacations.  It doesn't really matter the location of the beach, by about day 2 I would get it on my chest/back and upper arms and I would spend the rest of the trip wearing a shirt sitting in the shade.  It sucked as a kid and it sucked in Hawaii as an adult after I had it so bad I ended up in urgent care.

In the past I have tried a few different remedies, the most effective which was a cortisone shot from my general doctor before going on vacation.  But several years ago I got one, and it ate away at the fat around the injection site, which happened to be my side fat on my lower back.  Golf ball sized divot in side fat = not a good look.  Luckily it filled in over the course of about 6 months and it is no longer there.  But I wasn't willing to take that risk again.

I started researching online before our trip to Hilton Head, and I was determined not to get it and be banished to the shade, unable to play with H at the beach.  Based on lots of message board reading and a trip to the dermatologist, this is the plan I came up with:

Take an allergy pill for the 2 weeks before the trip and during
I actually bought Claritin, but forgot to start taking it.  Ugh.  So I didn't quite get to this step

Sunscreen with Zinc and/or Titanium as the only active ingredient
Have you ever looked at the ingredients on sunscreen?  A bunch of crap you can't pronounce.  I try to eat natural, but I had never thought about what those chemicals could be doing to my skin.  The dermatologist recommended one with only Zinc and or Titanium as the active ingredient.  After going to 4 stores, I realized this was not an easy find.  Some of the baby sunscreens fit the bill (and I did buy that type for H) but they were all SPF 50 or higher and I'll be honest, I wanted to get a tan.  I ended up buying the Episencial brand at Buy Buy Baby for $12.  I looked at the California Baby brand, but it was $18 for 1 less oz and I am cheap.

more info on the sunscreen here

The verdict: It does leave a white film that is a little hard to rub in, but a little goes a long way and I barely used 1/5 the tube on the whole trip.  I only used it on the areas I usually break out and I am happy to report I spend almost 4 straight days in the sun with NO HEAT RASH!  Yippee!!

Wear a breathable, light shirt when I am in the sun for a period of time longer than 2 hours
I bought a Magellan fishing shirt in the little boy's section of Academy.  They have breathable vents in the back, short sleeves that cover from my elbow on up, and they dry quickly.  If I was getting too red or feeling to hot, I just put this on.  In the past any severe sunburn would break into a heat rash after a day or so, so I wanted to make sure and not get too burned.

Get a prescription to have in case I broke out while there
I got a prescription cream and a steroid to take just in case.  I brought it with me so I didn't have to hassle with urgent care while on vacation.  Luckily I didn't end up needing it!

I am not the only one in my family that gets heat rash, my Mom and brother do too, so they are going to test out the sunscreen the next time they are in the sun.  I have also noticed that H has my tendencies, and will get a little rash if she gets too hot and sweaty in her car seat.  So I am going to stick to the same type of sunscreen for her, and use a medicated powder on her before bed when needed.  My mom swears by Gold Bond to treat heat rash after the fact.

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