Prickly Heat

I picked up a bad dose of prickly heat whilst paddling in the Florida sunshine last month. (temps were 80+ which warm even by Florida standards)

As I plan to return in June when the temperature will be even hotter, any advice on what creams, supplements & lotions would help.


– Last Updated: Feb-19-07 11:16 AM EST –

Or Johnson's brand Baby powder with cornstarch. Apply liberally after showering and drying off. That should help, especially if you use it BEFORE it starts. If it has already started, Nystatin powder works best to clear it up. Try to keep the "Problem" spots clean and dry. Take care. WW

baby powder
The baby powder adevice is good. Also, try to rinse salt build up from perspiration and from salt water with a samll amount of fresh water. And you might stay away from cotton clothing if it is a real problem for you, as cotton seems to hold the salt and moisture.

Gold Bond powder NM

I can help you
as a Brit you probably aren’t accustomed to bathing daily and that’s where you need to start. (just kidding buddy)

A fresh water shower after time in the sun and salt water is essential. Then baby powder if necessary. If it is especially raw, then I’d go the other direction: vaseline.

I was in Paris a few years ago during their heat wave. As you probably know the primitives on the continent don’t have air conditioning. So spending 15 hours in a suit in 95 degree temperatures had my nether regions screaming for relief. My French was insufficient to explain the problem to a helpful female pharmacist … until I said, ‘diaper rash’! Ahhhhh… yes, petroleum jelly. Fixes it right up.

Prickly Heat
I lived in Fl for 20 years, was in the Army also, and I can MOST ASSUREDLY endorse the need to keep the affected areas dry AND clean BEFORE it starts! Cotton is notorious to keep moisture and salts from your OWN sweat to conspire against you. Avoid wearing heavy backpacks, or gear, or when doing so, frequent removal/shifting of straps so that the skin can breathe. If there’s constant pressure on hot, sweaty and salty skin/cotton T-shirt, trouble is not far away. Keep clothing and skin clean on multi-day outings. Hand washing your clothes in clean freshwater will help avoid prickly heat, since dirt will exacerbate the condition. Some people seem more prone to it than others, but as other folks have posted, Corn Starch is great for getting ANY affected area of the “corpus” dry in a flash. I hear that regular baby powder has perfumes that can irritate skin even more. In FL, the conditions are such, that it is not inconvenient to stop somewhere and conduct a “foot and body sprinkling” when you feel like you’re soaked. Remember, an ounce of prevention… Happy Paddling, and don’t forget to post your photos!!!

The mention above of the evils of cotton is well stated, if not understated. I like Patagonia silkweight but there are lots of wicking materials you could use. I wear wicking shorts, t-shirts, skivvies, the whole bit…a good idea for hiking also. I’m also a big fan of Gold Bond powder. It, well, makes a statement the first time you use it but you get used to it soon enough.

Best Regards,


petroleum jelly
I forgot this one in my first post, but can vouch for its effectiveness. In areas where chafe is a problem, this works great.

another benefit
to gold bond is that it has an anti-perspirant, which is to say it reduces sweat production somewhat, in addition to soaking it up. Good for us really sweaty types with delicate complexions…

Many thanks for your suggestions.
Another recommendation I received was Beta Carotene supplements, any experiences with this idea?

As I understand it this condition is caused by your pores getting clogged as a result of the salt in your sweat.

Given this fact, the advice above about keeping clean etc. is good advice. Don’t think any supplements will help.

Petroleum jelley sounds like it could make it worse…although it is good for chafing.

I think the powders probably will help as they will help to absorb some of the sweat. Wicking shirts will hilp too as it will continue moving the moisture (and the salt it contains) away from your skin.

Google it and I bet you find a lot more info


Beta carotine
Don’t know about the supplements but carrot shavings in your shorts could work.

20 years in the Tropics
Everyone who works outdoors here in North Queensland during the monsoonal summer months has been plagued by prickly heat either a couple of times or on numerous occasions. I suffered from it 3 or 4 times a year for about 10 years then it just disappeared and never came back. Most people here have their own special brew for dealing with it and after trying a number of concoctions I reckon the quickest way to get rid of it is with metho; it will dry it out and kill any germs real fast.

This is not for the faint hearted and I am not suggesting anyone should try but I have used it many times.

Have a stinking hot shower, towel yourself dry then with a soft cloth gently apply methylated spirits to the effected area.

Next best option

Elle Bach’e Problem Skin Lotion

I have seen amazing results with this stuff

This is the advertising blurb

An anti-bacterial lotion that helps cleanse and purify skin without stripping the sensitive acid mantle. Contains a botanical blend of witch hazel, aloe vera, chamomile, yarrow and marshmallow extracts to purify oily skin conditions while helping to heal, soothe and calm inflamed skin. Instantly cools with balm mint and menthol. Ideal for oily skins and irritated, reactive skins.

A few blokes I worked with who used different powders complained that it became very abrasive after a while.



I may as well use a whole carrot
And indulge in an ego trip!