Author: Dr Amanda Oakley, Dermatologist, Hamilton, New Zealand, 1997. Updated by Dr Anita Eshraghi, Dermatologist, Sweden. February 2018.
Miliaria is a common skin disease caused by blockage and/or inflammation of eccrine sweat ducts. Miliaria is frequently seen in hot, humid or tropical climates, in patients in hospital, and in the neonatal period. Miliaria is also known as sweat rash.
Based on the level of the sweat duct obstruction, miliaria is divided into three subtypes:
Miliaria results from sweating. The main contributing causes are:
Other diseases and treatments that have been associated with miliaria are:
The complications of miliaria include:
Miliaria is diagnosed by its typical clinical presentation. In severe cases or repeated episodes, punch biopsy can be useful.
Skin disorders that present with papules, vesicles or pustules that look similar to miliaria, include:
Management of miliaria requires heat and humidity to be controlled to reduce sweating and the avoidance of irritation to the skin. Strategies to avoid sweating and reduce irritation follow.
Treatment of miliaria may include:
Most cases of miliaria resolve within a day or two after changing to a cooler environment without any treatment or complications.
See the DermNet NZ bookstore.
© 2018 DermNet New Zealand Trust.
DermNet NZ does not provide an online consultation service. If you have any concerns with your skin or its treatment, see a dermatologist for advice.