ZocdocAnswersHow do Prickly Heat and whiteheads differ?

Question

How do Prickly Heat and whiteheads differ?

What is the difference between a prickly heat rash and a rash of whiteheads? I'm a woman, 38 yrs old, and my doc just said that what I thought was a whitehead problem is actually prickly heat. I feel like it's 6 of one half dozen of the other. Is the treatment any different than for whiteheads?

Answer

Concerns about skin rashes is one of the most common reasons that people talk to their doctors. The doctors who will be well qualified to discuss this issue in detail with you include your primary care doctor or your dermatologist. "Prickly heat" or "heat rash" is an irritation of the skin produced by exposure to heat and sweating. It usually looks like very small red bumps on the skin that do not develop white tips. The treatment generally involves keeping the skin clean and dry and wearing cooling clothing to avoid further irritation. Whiteheads, on the other hand, are a type of acne that develops when a skin pore becomes clogged and oil, bacteria, and white blood cells build up. Whiteheads tend to be different than prickly heat in appearance because they are larger and usually less numerous than the bumps of prickly heat. Also the treatment is different, involving cleansers to remove skin debris, which could actually make prickly heat worse. As always the diagnosis and the management of your particular skin concern will require a physical examination by your personal physician. Scheduling an office visit with your primary care doctor or dermatologist might be recommended if symptoms persist.

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

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