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I have developed a bumpy rash and sunburn, what could it be?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Check with your doctor to find out for sure, but a bumpy rash and "sunburn" are symptoms of prickly heat, also known as miliaria. Prickly heat occurs when the skin's sweat ducts become clogged, leading to inflammation, itching, and a rash of tiny blisters. In some cases, large areas of skin may appear red. Prickly heat is most common in hot, humid climates. Using powder and antiperspirant to keep the skin cool and dry, and taking steps to avoid getting overheated, can help prevent prickly heat.

The bumpy rash with a sunburn could be one of several things:

  • Excess heat and perspiration can lead to clogged sweat glands that become inflamed. This is heat rash also called prickly heat -- because it can feel "prickly." Cooling off usually resolves this. 
  • Sometimes people use topical antibiotics or numbing sprays to treat their sunburn. This can lead to itchy bumps from a contact allergy. Oftentimes a topical steroid is needed to calm down this rash. 
  • Rarely, people can have an allergy to the sun. This can lead to hives or even pink bumps on their hands and other sun-exposed areas. It can be more common in people with Native American ancestry. Sun avoidance and sunscreens with zinc or titanium are best to minimize this rash. 
If you have any concerns or the problem persists, then see your physician for help. 

 

 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.