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Best way to prevent prickly heat syndrome ?

Leicester, United...
Level Contributor
864 posts
9 reviews
17 helpful votes
Best way to prevent prickly heat syndrome ?

I've never suffered from prickly before anywhere, until we went to the maldives. We were only there a week and I had it really bad on my arms. Even though being asian and always using a really high factor sun cream 40 + I was very surprised to get this highly annoying itch/rash ! I was told by the lovely first choice rep Zita that its common here and was called prickly heat - something i didn't really much about.

Other than staying covered up in long sleeves (not very comfortable in the sea !) are there any other preventitive measures? Or creams I should take with me?

I was the only with this - even my little kids were fine and I used their suncream !

Level Contributor
61 posts
13 reviews
20 helpful votes
1. Re: Best way to prevent prickly heat syndrome ?

Prickly heat is caused by sweat+friction. Sun factor/long sleeves will not prevent prickly heat in any way. Keep areas susceptible to prickly heat (i.e. armpits) well ventilated, have regular showers and if necessary apply talcum powder to sensitive areas every now and then.

Whiteley, United...
Level Contributor
4,511 posts
44 reviews
433 helpful votes
2. Re: Best way to prevent prickly heat syndrome ?

Although English I have lived in South Africa and Australia and never had prickly heat before (except when we travelled out to SA when I was a child on a ship). I have come to the conclusion I am more prone to a heat rash when travelling from a cold climate to a hot one. I use allergy sun creams, take antihistamine and also try and stay cool by taking regular showers or just frequently dipping in the sea or pool. This does seem to help but not entirely cure. I have found that high factor creams seem to exacerbate problem as I noticed getting a rash on the backs of my hands after rubbing high factor on my husbands back.

Regards Turquoise

Liverpool GB.
Level Contributor
7,430 posts
5 reviews
29 helpful votes
3. Re: Best way to prevent prickly heat syndrome ?

Take calcium tablets 10 days before and then during your hols

Level Contributor
43 posts
20 reviews
22 helpful votes
4. Re: Best way to prevent prickly heat syndrome ?

I have a similar reaction to the sun - and it gets worse day by day. However, I now find that if I start taking an over-the-counter antihistamine tablet every day for about a week before I go, and continue taking it while on holiday, I have no sign of prickly heat. (The one I use is a once-a-day variety).

Cannock, United...
Level Contributor
1,309 posts
20 reviews
85 helpful votes
5. Re: Best way to prevent prickly heat syndrome ?

Hi DeeDee,

I sympathise with you getting prickly heat. My wife suffers quite badly from it and before we went on our last holiday she did quite a lot of research into it.

There's a good chance that it's the suncream or aftersun that you are using that is causing the problem. A large percentage of waterproof suncreams have a certain ingredient (the name of which escapes me, I will find out and post that later) which blocks the skins pours and causes the problem. Piz Buin Allergy used to be fine for my wife until they changed the ingredients without mentioning it about 12-18 months ago and caught us out good and proper on one holiday.

We found that Clarins do a range of suncreams which do not contain the particular ingredient and are guaranteed natural ingredients so we took this with us to the Maldives last October where the average temp was around 35C and she thankfully had no problems whatsoever.

The down side is the Clarins cream isn't cheap and due to it's sightly thicker consistency not as easy to apply as the sprays for example. It's worth it however as prickly heat can ruin a holiday.

Also it's usually advised to exfoliate fairly regularly to get rid of dead skin cells etc.

Hope this helps.



Channel Islands
Level Contributor
53 posts
2 reviews
3 helpful votes
6. Re: Best way to prevent prickly heat syndrome ?

I get this on my hands and feet, but funnily enough not in the Maldives but anywhere we go thats not humid. I always use a sunscreen for sensitive skin and aloe vera gel is very soothing when they really itch.

Wirral, United...
Level Contributor
6,160 posts
19 reviews
136 helpful votes
7. Re: Best way to prevent prickly heat syndrome ?

I go with speedy's advice. I could have written that post myself. It never fails for me wherever I go.


Cannock, United...
Level Contributor
1,309 posts
20 reviews
85 helpful votes
8. Re: Best way to prevent prickly heat syndrome ?

Antihistamines are definitely worth a go also. As speedy says.

I think the ingredient I couldn't think of is called Helioplex.

Washington, United...
Level Contributor
455 posts
116 reviews
305 helpful votes
9. Re: Best way to prevent prickly heat syndrome ?

Also add a yes to the anti hystamine tablets.

Also the reaction you are getting is against the UVB not the UVA.

Boots Soltan and many others...provide a 5star UVA as well as the corresponding sunfacter from Nil up to 50 that we mostly talk about.

Thing to think about is that this is an allergy to the UVA not because you're hot, once the allergy is reacted it takes 3 days to calm down.

I have total allergy to UVA and have to have steroids to just even go into the sun, plus have de senstise treatments at hopsital every year.


5 Star UVA, read the back not just the sunfactor. many are only 3 star or no level at all specified....

Leicester, United...
Level Contributor
864 posts
9 reviews
17 helpful votes
10. Re: Best way to prevent prickly heat syndrome ?

Wow thanks for all the responses !

The thing is we've been to thailand/Malaysia about 4 times now and have never had this problem. i just put it down to the fact that the Maldives are on the equator so therefore closer to the sun.

I'll definately take some anti-histamine tablets - can anyone recommend any good brands ? I do take piriton for children which I took with me last time we went and out of desperation ended drinking that !

when I came back home I saw the doctor and he gave me a tiny tube of cream (Hydrocortisone I think) which I'll also take with me!

thankfully I didn't get this problem last year in thailand.

i do always use Boots Soltan but I'm going to do more research into their range and the UVA thingy.

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