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‘Heat rash is driving me crazy!’

Our experts advise Lucinda Lane, 40, from London, on how to help beat the heat. Plus, podiatrist Dina Gohil answers your foot queries in time for sandal season

Q. Lucinda says:

‘Heat rash has been a part of my summers for the past 10 years. When it’s hot and humid, I feel as though I’m being bitten by lots of insects and I get really hot and itchy. A rash appears on my upper chest and forearms; it’s quite prominent and will still be there after I’ve cooled down – sometimes even a few days later. People often mistake it for sunburn, but I always wear sunscreen. How can I make the warm weather more comfortable?’

A. THE SKIN DOCTOR

Independent dermatologist Dr Anjali Mahto says:
‘An antibacterial shower gel can help reduce the number of bacteria on your skin, as they can block the sweat glands and cause a flare-up. Avoid oil-based products, which can also clog glands. Use an antiperspirant spray containing aluminium salts to reduce sweating – the cause of heat rash – and wear lightweight, natural fibres, such as cotton, since they don’t trap heat like synthetic fibres. Water sprays are handy when you’re out, as they can fit in a handbag.’

A. THE PHARMACIST

Meera Joshi, Boots pharmacist, says:

‘Heat rash can happen when you perspire more than usual (as lots of us do in summer): sweat glands become blocked, and skin cells and bacteria trap sweat below the surface of the skin, leading to those little bumps. Try to minimise sweating by seeking shade, avoiding strenuous activity, using a hand fan, taking a cool shower or going into an air-conditioned room. Prickly heat isn’t usually a serious condition and rarely requires any specific treatment. The rash generally disappears after a few days, but if you find it’s very itchy and becoming a problem, pop in store and speak to your local Boots pharmacist, as they will be able to advise on suitable products to help.’

A. THE SUN-SAFE GURU

Clare O’Connor, Boots suncare expert, says:

‘You might worry that sunscreen will aggravate a heat rash, but there are lots of formulas developed for sensitive skin – sprays, mists and light lotions can be less irritating. Whatever you do, don’t skip it! It’s a myth that high SPFs are heavier and greasier, so whichever product you choose, you don’t need to compromise on protection.’

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Q. ‘I keep getting verrucas – is there a way to prevent them?’

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A. THE FOOT SPECIALIST

Dina Gohil, founder of DG Podiatrist, says:

‘The verruca virus thrives in moist, damp conditions, such as gym changing rooms, showers and swimming pools. It’s highly contagious – the infection can get in through your pores – but you’re more likely to catch it if skin is wet or damaged. Preventive measures include wearing flip-flops in communal areas and covering any cuts with a plaster. Into yoga? Wear socks and bring your own mat. Also, never wear other people’s footwear, or use their towels – the virus can spread this way, too.’

Q. ‘After getting into exercise again, I’ve recently developed athlete’s foot – what can I do to clear it up, or will it get better on its own?’

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A. ‘I’m afraid the infection is unlikely to go away without treatment. Plus, it can spread to your toes and nails, and to other people! But you don’t have to give up the gym. Topical antifungal creams and sprays can treat the infection and soothe the itch. And to avoid it in future? Keep your feet clean and dry, take flip-flops to the gym, and wear properly ventilated trainers with cotton socks. Plus, make sure you dry between your toes after a shower – fungi love damp, dark spots like this.’

Q ‘My husband has a fungal nail infection; could he pass it on to me?’

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A. ‘Yes, he could – just as the fungus can spread from toe to toe, it can also spread from person to person. Hygiene is important when it comes to infection, so never use the same towel as your partner, and keep your feet clean and dry. Also, limit the time spent barefoot in damp places, such as the shower.’

*Removes the infected parts of the nail in 2-3 weeks. Follow-up treatment with an antifungal cream is required.

Compiled by Charlotte Grant-West Photography Helen Marsden, Getty images, Pixeleyes Styling Angela Barnard Hair and make-up Liz Kitchiner

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