How to Prevent Skin Rashes
Skin rashes are inflamed or red areas of the skin that can be accompanied with a variety of other symptoms (pain, itching, and swelling). Skin rashes can result from allergic reactions, infections, inflammatory conditions, contact with irritants or heat, and other medical issues.Although some skin rashes disappear on their own, others may need treatment. However, you can take steps to prevent many different types of skin rashes.
Preventing Heat Rash
Avoid situations that lead to sweating.Heat rash develops when the sweat ducts in your skin get clogged. When this happens, instead of evaporating, sweat gets trapped beneath the skin and leads to skin rash.
- Heat rash occurs most often in hot and humid conditions.
- Keep your body dry by avoiding outdoors during the hottest time of the day.
- Use an air conditioner.
- Take a shower to cool down or apply cool, wet towels over overheated areas.
Avoid strenuous exercise in hot and humid weather.The heat emitted from your body coupled with the warm weather is likely to cause rashes around certain parts of the body with the most sweat glands, such as around the armpits.
- Instead of exercising outside during hot weather, go to an air conditioned gym.
- Take a cool shower immediately after exercising.
Wear lightweight and loose-fitting clothing.Clothes that fit snugly are likely to irritate the skin and cause rashes by trapping heat emitting from the body.
- Allow your skin to breathe and wear light, loose clothing. This goes for babies, too. Don't over-dress or bundle up your baby in hot weather.
- The exception is during exercise. Wearing fitted exercise clothing that is designed to wick away sweat and excess moisture can help prevent heat rash, especially during very active exercise such as cycling and running.
Drink plenty of water.Your body requires water to function properly and what is lost during sweating needs to be replenished.
- Drink water throughout the day to prevent dehydration.
- Drink at least two to four glasses (16-32 ounces) of cool fluids each hour.
Keep skin folds clean and dry.Intertrigo is caused by skin-to-skin friction, which causes irritation and a rash. It is common in areas of the body that are warm and moist, especially areas where skin can rub against other skin such as in the groin, under the breasts, between thighs, under arms, or between toes. It may also lead to bacterial or fungal infections. Unlike heat rash, it can happen in any environment.
- Keep your skin clean and dry, especially where it may rub against other skin. Apply antiperspirant to your underarms. You may find that petroleum jelly helps form a protective barrier for areas such as your inner thighs. Applying baby powder or medicated powder can also help absorb excess moisture.
- Wear open-toed shoes or sandals.This will help reduce moisture in between your toes.
Apply a barrier cream.Medicated barrier creams can be bought at most drug stores and pharmacies. Diaper rash ointment (such as Desitin) can be helpful for areas that are often moist and prone to friction, such as the groin area. Zinc oxide ointment may also be effective.
- If you have frequent trouble with friction rashes, ask your doctor about Tetrix, a prescription barrier cream that contains dimethicone. It is more effective than over-the-counter treatments.
Wear loose-fitting, clean clothing.Clothing that rubs against your skin can cause friction rashes.Wear natural fibers such as cotton, silk, or bamboo when possible, as artificial fibers can irritate skin and often do not breathe well.
Lose weight.Intertrigo is common in people who are overweight or obese, as there are more areas of skin that can cause friction. Talk with your doctor about whether your rashes might benefit from you losing weight.
- Do not begin a weight loss regimen without consulting your doctor first.
Preventing Eczema Flare-Ups
Identify and avoid the triggers of eczema.Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a chronic skin disorder that presents itself as a red, scaly and itchy rash which is sensitive to the touch and can involve some swelling. People with eczema lack certain proteins in their skin and certain conditions can worsen their condition.Learn to recognize the triggers of eczema and avoid them, such as:
- Skin infections
- Allergens such as pollen, mold, dust mites, animals, or foods
- Cold and dry air in the winter, getting too hot or too cold, or sudden changes of temperature
- Chemical irritants or rough materials, such as wool
- Emotional stress
- Perfumes or dyes added to skin lotions or soaps
Ask your doctor about allergy medications or treatments.You may not be able to avoid all of your triggers, especially if you're allergic to things like pollen. Talk to your doctor about possible allergy treatments to help reduce your symptoms.
Take shorter baths or showers.Taking too many baths or showers can strip the skin of its natural oils, which can cause excess dryness.
- Limit your baths and showers to maximum of 10 to 15 minutes.
- When taking baths, use warm water instead of hot
- After the shower, use a soft towel to gently pat dry your skin.
- Use only mild and gentle shower cleansers or soaps. Mild, hypoallergenic soaps and shower oils are gentle and do not strip the skin out of its protective natural oils.
- Avoid using anti-bacterial or alcohol-based cleansers, which can easily dry your skin.
- Choose shower cleansers with added moisturizers.
Moisturize your skin at least twice a day.Moisturizers help seal in the skin’s natural moisture and thus keep it protected and hydrated.
- Moisturized skin is tougher against irritation, such as against harsh fabrics rubbing or scratching against the skin, and help prevent eczema flare ups.
- Also apply moisturizer right after you pat dry after a bath or shower.
Preventing Contact Dermatitis
Avoid skin irritants and allergens.Contact dermatitis is caused by irritants that come into contact with your skin. Contact dermatitis can be an allergic reaction or it can be caused by a common irritant (non-allergenic), but the good news is that it can be prevented by avoiding the trigger.
- Avoid exposing your skin to common irritants, such as dust mites, pollen, chemicals, cosmetics, plant oils (poison ivy) and other substances, which may trigger your individual contact dermatitis reaction. Irritant contact dermatitis usually causes a dry, scaly rash that does not itch. However, some types of contact dermatitis may cause itching and blistering.
- Some people can have a reaction to irritants just after a single exposure, while others may have symptoms only after repeated exposures. Sometimes you can develop a tolerance to the irritant over time.
Get an allergy test.If you are unsure whether you have allergies, your doctor can perform an allergy test to identify substances that might trigger your contact dermatitis.
- Common allergens include nickel, medications (including topical antibiotics and antihistamines), formaldehyde and skin tattooing and black henna products.
- Another common allergen is Balsam of Peru, used in cosmetics, perfumes, mouth rinses and flavorings. If a new product gives you a reaction, stop using it.
- Check labels to ensure you are not accidentally purchasing products that contain an allergen.
Wash your skin immediately after contact.If you get exposed to an irritant or allergen, rinse the affected area immediately. This can help reduce the reaction or even prevent it.
- Use warm water and mild soaps or take a shower if the exposure was large.
- Also, wash all clothing and anything else that has come to contact with the substance.
Wear protective clothing or gloves when dealing with irritants.If you need to work with the substance, protect your skin from coming into direct contact with the irritant or allergen by wearing coveralls, goggles and gloves.
- Remember to follow proper techniques and guidelines for handling harmful substances.
Use moisturizer to protect your skin.Moisturizers coat the skin with a protective barrier and help restore its outer layer.
- Apply moisturizer before possible contact with the irritant and use regularly to keep your skin healthy.
Talk to your doctor if you experience a rash after taking medications.Several medications can cause a "drug rash" as either a side effect or an allergic reaction. This commonly begins within a week after starting a new drug, and begins as red spots that spread to cover large areas of the body. Common medications that cause drug rashes include:
- Anti-seizure medications
- Diuretics (water pills)
Preventing Psoriasis Flare-Ups
Take all medications as prescribed.Psoriasis medications can often help prevent flare-ups if taken as your doctor recommends. This is especially true for medications that work through your immune system, such as biologics.
- It is also important not to stop taking medication without consulting your doctor first. Stopping a medication for psoriasis without working with your doctor can cause one type of psoriasis to become a more severe type.
Avoid stress.Psoriasis is an autoimmune skin disorder characterized by itchy, scaly skin rash. The cause of psoriasis is often unknown, but there are known triggers that can aggravate the condition and cause an outbreak, including stress.
- Take steps to reduce stress in your life. Try relaxation techniques, such as yoga and meditation.
- Exercise regularly. Exercise helps release endorphins and can alleviate stress.
Avoid injury to skin.Damage of the skin (vaccination, bites, scrapes and sunburn) can trigger the formation of new psoriasis lesions. This is called the Koebner phenomenon.
- Use protective clothing and care for all scrapes and injuries immediately using hygienic techniques.
- Prevent sunburns by using sunscreens, protective clothing (hats and long loose clothing), or shades. Also, limit the amount of time you spend in the direct sun.
Avoid medications that trigger psoriasis.Some medications are known triggers of psoriasis outbreak, including anti-malarial drugs, lithium, inderal, indomethacin and quinidine.
- If you suspect that your medication might be triggering psoriasis, ask your doctor for an alternative medication.
- Do not stop taking a prescription medication suddenly without asking your doctor first.
Avoid and treat infections.Anything that can affect your immune system may trigger psoriasis flare ups, such as strep throat (Streptococcal pharyngitis), thrush (Candida albicans) and respiratory infections.
- Seek immediate medical attention if you suspect an infection.
Do not drink full-calorie beer.One clinical study found that regular beer (but not light beer, wine or other types of alcohol) may be associated with an increased risk of psoriasis outbreak.
- The risk was 2.3 times higher for women who consumed five or more beers per week compared with women who did not drink beer.
Stop smoking.Smoking makes psoriasis worse. It's bad for your health in general, too. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about options to help you stop smoking.
- Women who are smokers are at particular risk of making psoriasis worse.
Avoid cold and dry weather.Cold and dry weather removes natural moisture from the surface of the skin and might trigger a psoriasis outbreak.
- Stay warm and consider getting a humidifier to your home.
QuestionI have rashes on my ear and beside it. How can I get rid of it?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou may find essential oils geranium, rose and lavender helpful if you have sensitive skin. Apply three drops with 1/2 tsp.coconut oil.Thanks!
What does a spotted red penis and an allover body rash indicate?
No matter what medicines the doctor recommended there are no improvement. So, what medicines should I use?
How do I prevent heat rashes?
- Avoid irritants and allergens that trigger skin rash.
- Consult your doctor if you suffer from skin rashes that do not clear.
- If you have an epipen and believe you are experiencing an allergic reaction, administer the medication while you wait for emergency services to arrive.
- Make sure to use medications like Cortisone that stop itching, so the rash may stop.
- If you are unsure whether your medication is causing your rash, talk to your doctor. Never simply stop taking medication that has been prescribed to you.
- Some allergic reactions can lead to anaphylactic shock that can be life threatening. Seek immediate medical attention or call emergency services if you are worried that you are having a severe reaction. Signs of a severe reaction include swelling of the lips or tongue, widespread hives, coughing, wheezing, or trouble breathing.
- Some skin rashes can be serious, seek medical attention immediately if you are unsure about the severity of your rash.
Sources and Citations
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