Sometimes summer isn’t all about beach vacations and swimming!
Heat rash is a nuisance that occurs in hot and humid weather. The condition is likely to leave your skin covered in small red bumps that feel itchy – and you may even notice some swelling.
It’s caused by excessive sweating, which you can’t very well avoid when the weather is hot and humid!
There are some things you can do to try and avoid heat rash. As outlined by the National Health Service, the most important thing to do is to try to keep your skin cool. You can do this by drinking a lot of fluids, wearing cotton clothing, and taking cool showers.
When you have heat rash, applying skin products to the affected area may be uncomfortable. However, it is imperative that you continue using sunscreen when you have heat rash because sun exposure will only make it worse!
There are certain broad spectrum sunscreens that will work better than others when it comes to continuing to protect skin affected by heat rash. Let me walk you through your search for the right product for you!
After a lot of research into what is the most comfortable for affected skin, SimplySunSafe recommends California Baby Super Sensitive Sunscreen SPF 30+ as the best sunscreen for heat rash. Keep reading for a detailed buyer’s guide, comparison table, and in-depth reviews of the top 5 sunscreens for heat rash.
Even considering applying a skin product on top of heat rash can feel uncomfortable. There are a few must-have features that you should search for in your sunscreen to ensure the most pleasant experience possible:
Broad spectrum protection
No matter why you’re searching for sunscreen, you need to be looking for products that provide broad spectrum protection. The reason for this is that broad spectrum sunscreens protect equally against both UVA and UVB rays, which work differently to cause skin damage.
UVB rays damage the outer layer of your skin and cause you to burn your way to a tan. UVA rays are more devious, penetrating the deepest layer of your skin (the dermis), causing premature aging.
Exposure to both types of rays will increase your risk of skin cancer, which is why it’s important to protect against both.
When you have heat rash, not only is your skin more physically vulnerable to the sun, but the UV rays will continue to work just as hard. Luckily, finding sunscreens which provide broad spectrum protection is not all that difficult.
You will learn that they are available virtually everywhere, and you will see that they are quite easy to recognize. Just take a moment to check out the sunscreen’s label and ingredients list.
The label often contains words like ‘broad spectrum’ or ‘UVA/B’ unmistakably indicating the protection you need. You can check out the ingredients list, as well, for zinc oxide, which protects against the full range of UVA/B rays. Any sunscreen with zinc oxide is a great option for protecting skin affected by heat rash!
Best SPF for Heat Rash
You’ve heard many different statements about the Sun Protection Factor (SPF) and which one you should choose. Have you ever taken the time to find out how it really works?
It will help you find the best sunscreen for your, so let me explain it to you:
SPF tells you what fraction of the sun’s rays will reach your skin if you properly apply the product. This means that if you are wearing a sunscreen with an SPF rating of 30, then only 1/30th of the sun’s rays will reach your skin.
That sounds great, right? Well, it is, but make sure you don’t get carried away.
Don’t go outside slathered in SPF 30 and expect to stay in the sun 30 times longer than if you weren’t wearing sunscreen. This is not how it works and that is a sure way to irritate your heat rash!
This is because there are many factors that influence the effectiveness of SPF including the time of day, amount of properly applied sunscreen, and reflections from surfaces like water or sand. (Hint: all of these things reduce its effectiveness.)
Basically you must always remember to reapply at least every two hours, no matter what SPF rating you choose!
But, we still need to decide on one – so… here’s a simple table that will help you understand how much protection you get from different SPF ratings:
|SPF Rating||UVB Protection|
Does this change the way you think about the SPF rating?
So which rating is right for protecting heat rash?
The AAD suggests that you choose sunscreens with SPF ratings no lower than 30 and no higher than 50.
SimplySunSafe agrees with this guideline and recommends products that fall within these brackets.
Physical is better than chemical
Educate yourself about the quality of the products you choose to use. Sunscreens can be grouped into two main categories – chemical and physical.
The difference lies in the active ingredients (and therefore in how work to protect your skin).
Chemical sunscreens soak into your skin and absorb UV rays as they reach your skin. Physical sunscreens reflect UV rays before they reach your skin.
There are abundant reasons to choose physical sunscreens over chemical ones. A few of them are that physical sunscreens:
- Work immediately upon application
- Last longer
- Are less likely to cause irritation
- Have a longer shelf life
If you’re still not convinced, then listen to this:
Chemical sunscreens often contain ingredients that mess with your hormones. This is not something you want to risk, especially if you are using an antihistamine or cortisone cream for your heat rash.
The worst of these ingredients is called oxybenzone and is surprisingly still legal despite concerns from the EWG. Avoid this ingredient at all costs and…
Stick with a physical sunscreen to protect your heat rash affected skin!
Sensitive skin formula
Heat rash causes discomfort. Whether you find the rash itchy or even painful, you will not want a product to exacerbate the irritation.
Sunscreens designed specifically for sensitive skin are great options. They will be formulated so that they are as gentle as possible, while still providing sufficient protection.
Many sensitive skin formulas also contain skin nourishing and calming ingredients.
The best sunscreen for heat rash prone skin will be designed for sensitive skin.
While water resistance may not be the first thing that comes to your mind when thinking about how to protect your heat rash affected skin, consider this:
Heat rash is largely caused by excessive sweating. So in order to prevent a larger outbreak of heat rash, it will help to use sun protection that is not likely to mix in with your sweat and cause rubbing or irritation.
Sunscreens are made with water resistance for either 40 or 80 minutes. It is up to you to decide which option best suits your needs. Using a sunscreen with 80 minutes of water resistance may lead to less stress in wondering if your sunscreen is still protecting you.
Water resistance is a big help in sunscreen for prickly heat sufferers.
Best Sunscreen for Heat Rash Comparison
|California Baby Super Sensitive||Aveeno Baby Continuous Protection||Vanicream Sensitive Sunscreen||BurnOut Eco Sensitive||Blue Lizard Sensitive|
|Active ingredients||Titanium Dioxide (12%)||Zinc Oxide (21.6%)||Zinc Oxide (6%) & Titanium Dioxide (3.4%)||Zinc Oxide (18.9%)||Zinc Oxide (10%) & Titanium Dioxide (5%)|
|Water resistance||80 minutes||80 minutes||80 minutes||40 minutes||None|
5 Best Sunscreens for Heat Rash
After extensive research into how to protect skin affected by heat rash which included discussing issues with customers, reviewing customer feedback, examining manufacturer specifications, and participating in skincare forums, SimplySunSafe has compiled a comprehensive list of the 5 best sunscreens for heat rash.
Each product provides physical, broad spectrum protection with an SPF rating of 30 or greater. Best of all – each one is designed specifically for sensitive skin!
The first sunscreen SimplySunSafe recommends for protecting your skin with heat rash is California Baby Super Sensitive Sunscreen. This formula provides broad spectrum protection with its active ingredient titanium dioxide (12%).
Look at its name and you see that California Baby Super Sensitive is targeted at the most sensitive of skin, that of babies. That is why it is such a great choice for protecting skin that has heat rash.
There is nothing in this formula that will further irritate your skin. It doesn’t even contain any fragrance! You will find that it is a great sunscreen to use on both your face and body.
California Baby Super Sensitive provides 80 minutes of water resistance so you don’t need to worry about losing protection if you find yourself sweating heavily.
Just keep in mind that California Baby Super Sensitive is a thick formula, and you will need to rub it in really well. You may end up with a bit of a white cast on your skin, but your heat rash will definitely be comfortably protected!
- 80 minutes of water resistance
- Designed for sensitive skin
- Great for use on face and body
- Thick formula
- May leave white cast
Another excellent choice for protecting skin affected by heat rash is Aveeno Baby Continuous Protection. You will receive broad spectrum protection with its active ingredient zinc oxide (21.6%).
Aveeno Baby Continuous Protection is a product that was designed with supreme comfort for the sensitive skin of babies in mind. It contains natural oatmeal in the formula and is another product that is fragrance-free. Your skin will thank you for treating it so gently while it is uncomfortable due to heat rash.
Aveeno Baby Continuous Protection is extremely mild, but provides 80 minutes of water resistance and a high SPF rating for those with extra sensitive or paler skin!
The non-greasy formula does require some rubbing in and will leave a white cast due to its high concentration of zinc oxide, but this is a small price to pay for soothing protection!
- 80 minutes of water resistance
- High SPF
- Sensitive skin formula
- Leaves white cast
Vanicream Sensitive Sunscreen is a SimplySunSafe favorite that will do a great job if you have heat rash. This sunscreen provides broad spectrum protection with its active ingredients zinc oxide (6%) and titanium dioxide (3.4%).
Vanicream is a formula designed for sensitive skin that not only provides gentle protection, but also moisturizes the skin very well. Its formula is thick and is not the best option under makeup, but it will not leave a white cast on your skin.
Vanicream is a simple, reliable sunscreen that also provides 80 minutes of water resistance.
Give it a try to see if it may be the formula for you!
- 80 minutes of water resistance
- Moisturizing formula
- Will not leave white cast
- Lower concentration of active ingredients
BurnOut Eco Sensitive Sunscreen SPF 35 is a wonderful option from a durable and trusted brand name. Broad spectrum protection is achieved through its active ingredient zinc oxide (18.9%).
BurnOut Eco Sensitive Sunscreen provides 40 minutes of water resistance, which is less than other recommended products, but may still provide you with what you need.
It is a product that will not cause any added irritation to heat rash affected.
You will need to rub it in well, as its formula is moisturizing and thick, and you may experience a white cast on your skin.
However, BurnOut Eco Sensitive is oil-free and non-greasy, and works very well under makeup!
- 40 minutes of water resistance
- Works well under makeup
- Designed for sensitive skin
- Likely to leave slight white cast
The last product that SimplySunSafe recommends for protecting your heat rash affected skin is Blue Lizard Sensitive. This hearty product provides broad spectrum protection through its active ingredients zinc oxide (10%) and titanium dioxide (5%).
Blue Lizard Sensitive does not provide any water resistance so this is a product that will work best for you if you don’t plan on swimming, and if you will be able to reapply anytime you find yourself sweating.
It is, however, an excellent product. It is recommended by dermatologists and is free of many potential irritants. Blue Lizard Sensitive is gentle enough to use on your face and body and can be used under makeup.
Despite these awesome faetures it comes in last on this list because of the lower concentration of active ingredients and lack of water resistance (although this might make it more suitable for some users).
Give this sunscreen a try and you will see that just a bit will spread over large areas of your skin!
- Designed for sensitive skin
- Pleasant finish
- No water resistance
This guide was written for those searching for the best sunscreen for heat rash. I hope that by reading this guide you gained more insight into its workings and found a product that suits your needs.
SimplySunSafe recommends California Baby Super Sensitive Sunscreen SPF 30+ but all 5 recommended products will certainly provide gentle and sufficient protection for any heat rash affected areas.
Before committing to one sunscreen, be sure to do some test patches on your skin. You want to make sure that the heat rash does not react badly to any specific sunscreen. Testing different products will also help you see what products and ingredients you prefer.
I love learning new things and hearing about new products from the people around me! If you use or know of another product that works really well with heat rash, mention it in the comments. I’ll check it out and maybe it will even make it to the list!
If you’d like sunscreen recommendations for other skin conditions, SimplySunSafe has a range of guides including sunscreen for keratosis pilaris, perioral dermatitis sunscreen, and rosacea sunscreen. Just go to the top of this page and search for a condition to find the recommendations you’re looking for.