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Sweat Rash: What's the Science Behind It?

Man Running

by Neel Duggal

It's a hot, humid afternoon and you're zooming to a new personal record. Then you notice something a little off. You have these mysterious red bumps forming out of nowhere. It may be sweat rash. Here's what you need to know about this rash and how you can treat and prevent it.

What Is a Sweat Rash?

Sweat helps regulate body temperature and you'd be in a world of hurt if your body wasn't able to produce it. But when some of your all-important sweat ducts become blocked, sweat is trapped under the skin. This leads to inflammation and redness over time. Sweat rash then presents as a cluster of raised bumps clustered in patches of skin, according to the Mayo Clinic

According to the National Health Service, scientists believe that the following factors may contribute to this kind of rash:

  • Hot, humid weather
  • Intense physical activity that leads to profuse sweating
  • Overheating due to wearing heavy clothing or blankets
  • Fever
  • Lengthy bed rest
  • Excess use of heavy creams and lotions that clog sweat ducts
  • Tight clothing that doesn't allow sweat to evaporate

What Are Some Prevention Tips?

Wearing easy, breezy clothes at the height of summer is probably the easiest way to avoid this condition. So, put your leather pants in hibernation and go for cotton T-shirts and shorts instead. Consider carrying a handkerchief in your back pocket to keep your skin dry.

Next, if you're developing rashes under your arms, you may want to reach for a deodorant rather than an antiperspirant. Remember, blocked sweat glands are the culprit, and that is exactly what antiperspirants are designed to do. Deodorant controls the smell of sweat without clogging the sweat glands.

All in all, this skin condition is uncomfortable but treatable and preventable. Be smart when it's hot outside and follow this advice to keep your body pain-free and your confidence sky-high.

This article was brought to you by Colgate-Palmolive Company, the makers of Speed Stick products. The views and opinions expressed by the author do not reflect the position of the Colgate-Palmolive Company.