ZocdocAnswersHow do dry skin and heat rash differ?

Question

How do dry skin and heat rash differ?

I'm a mother of a young toddler who I recently took a checkup with the pediatrician. She said my daughter had a heat rash, but I could hardly see anything. Is there really a difference between 'heat rash' and just having irritated, dry skin? What is a heat rash?

Answer

Skin rashes on toddlers can be difficult to diagnose sometimes and may require the occasional consultation with a dermatologist. In this case, a heat rash should be something that you can either see, feel or both. Dry skin should still be smooth and the same color as skin. A heat rash is also known as Miliaria. It has many different forms, but he gist is that sometimes sweat glands get clogged up resulting in a rash whenever the skin heats up to where it normally would be sweating. The body activates the closed sweat glands, they produce sweat that can't come to the surface, the non-secreted sweat irritates the skin and causes red rough itchy papules (bumps) to form. It is treated by keeping the skin cool but medicines can be used in severe cases. If your toddler looks like he or she is itching an area of skin, or if there is a distinct rash, then I would schedule an appointment with the pediatrician the same day. The reason for this is that heat rashes, if severe enough end up getting treated with steroid creams. You want to make sure what the rash is if you are going to treat it with medicines. If there is any question in your mind as to what the rash is, then I suggest you find a dermatologist that can look at the rash and give you a definitive diagnosis. Good luck.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.