Heat rash on the groin: causes, symptoms, treatment



Rash is a skin condition that can affect anyone from infants to the elderly. It is also called miliaria, rash and prickly heat.

A rash develops when the pores or sweat glands in your skin become blocked. When the pores are clogged, your sweat is trapped under your skin, forming bumps and irritation. The rash is more common in hot, humid weather.

Most cases of rash will heal on their own, but severe blockages may require medical attention to clean the pores.

Keep reading to learn more about the symptoms and treatment of rashes and other conditions that can cause groin irritation.

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Symptoms of rash

Rashes in adults or children usually develop in areas where clothing causes friction or rubbing on the skin, such as skin folds, armpits, elbow folds, groin, thighs, or behind the knees. In infants, the rash usually develops on the neck, shoulders, and chest.

The rash can vary from mild to severe, and what it is called depends on a person’s symptoms and the appearance of the rash.

Heat rash can take three forms, including:

  • Crystalline Miliaria is the mildest form of rash, affecting only the top layer of the skin. It appears as small, clear or white fluid-filled bumps on the skin. The fluid in the bumps is sweat that is stuck under the skin from a blocked pore. The bumps burst easily. This type of rash is usually not painful.
  • Miliaria rubra is the most common form of rash. It affects the deeper layers of the skin and causes an inflammatory response. The rash causes red bumps, which may fill with pus. Other symptoms include itching, tingling sensation, pain, inflammation, and lack of sweat in the area.
  • deep miliary is the rarest form of rash and affects the deepest layer of the skin. It is more likely to develop in people who have experienced multiple rashes. The inflammation progresses to larger, firmer, flesh-colored bumps. The bumps are not centered around a pore because they form from the sweat that drains from a sweat gland in the surrounding skin.

Other causes of rashes in the groin

There are several conditions that can cause irritation in the groin area. These conditions can be mistaken for a rash.


Psoriasis is an inflammatory disease that causes skin cells to build up and plaque on the skin. The spots are usually red and develop white or silvery scales. The skin is dry, itchy, and may bleed.

The plaques can appear anywhere on the body, but psoriasis typically affects the scalp, elbows, knees, and lower back.


Irritation develops when the skin rubs against the skin or clothing. The outer layer of the skin becomes irritated and breaks down. Symptoms of irritation include redness, bumps, stinging, blistering, bleeding, and hot, peeling skin.

Although irritations can be mistaken for a rash, they do not occur for the same reasons. Irritation occurs when the skin is damaged. Heat rash is caused by blocked pores.

Atopic dermatitis

Eczema (atopic dermatitis) is a chronic skin condition caused by an overactive immune response. It causes itchy, red, dry, cracked skin. It can also cause blisters.

People with eczema tend to have sensitive skin. Their symptoms can be triggered by the food, soap, pollen, and scents in the products.

Jock itch

Jock itch is a skin condition caused by a fungal infection that produces a red, itchy rash. Fungal infections are more likely to develop in warm, moist areas like skin folds, armpits, and groin.

Pink pityriasis

Tinea rosea is a small, scaly rash. It first appears on the torso and extends to the upper arms, thighs or neck. The rash may be itchy, especially when a person is exercising or hot.


Your primary care provider will likely be able to diagnose a rash by examining the affected area. If doctors suspect another condition, they may order a blood test or take a sample from the affected area to test it.

They may also refer you to a dermatologist, a doctor who specializes in skin conditions, to help you diagnose or treat the rash.


Mild rashes can be easily treated at home by keeping the skin cool and dry. Try to avoid heating the area until it is healed.

If the area is itchy, itchy, or painful, ointments and creams are available that can help soothe your symptoms, including:

  • Calamine lotion
  • Lanolin anhydrous
  • Topical steroids

Other steps you can take to help relieve the symptoms of the rash and give your skin a chance to heal include:

  • Wear loose, moisture-wicking clothing.
  • Avoid lotions and creams that clog pores (like petroleum jelly).
  • Change wet or sweaty clothes as soon as possible.
  • Take cool showers soon after you sweat.

In severe cases, heat rash can become infected. If this happens, the pus-filled bumps may need to be drained by your healthcare professional.

If your rash is caused by another condition, you will need different treatment, although some things may be similar, including:

  • Irritations can be treated by putting on dry clothes quickly after sweating or getting wet, wearing loose clothing, reducing friction and keeping the area cool.
  • Jock itch can be treated with antifungal creams.
  • Psoriasis can be managed by exfoliating the skin lightly and using ointments and creams.
  • Symptoms of eczema can be treated with anti-itch creams and lotions.

When to consult a doctor

Most cases of rash go away with good hygiene and keeping the area cool. However, if you have any signs of infection, you will need to talk to your doctor.

Signs that the rash has become infected include:

  • Pain, swelling, and warmth around the affected skin
  • Weeping or draining pus
  • Fever or chills

Clogged sweat glands can affect your body’s ability to regulate your body temperature, which can lead to overheating and heat exhaustion.

Signs of heat exhaustion include:

  • Dizziness
  • Discomfort or fainting
  • Weak and rapid pulse
  • Sweat
  • Low blood pressure
  • Muscle cramps
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Confusion

If you are exhausted from the heat, move to a cooler area and rest. If your symptoms do not improve, see a doctor.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the causes of a rash in the groin area?

There are several conditions that can cause a rash in the groin area, including a rash, irritation, atopic dermatitis, itching, psoriasis, and pityriasis pink.

How do you treat a rash in the groin area?

Treatment for a rash depends on its cause. However, many skin conditions in the groin area can be relieved by keeping the skin dry, wearing breathable clothing, avoiding irritants, and using anti-itch creams.

What does a rash look like?

A mild rash looks like small white or transparent fluid-filled bumps on the surface of the skin. More severe forms of rash may appear as red, inflamed, firm lumps filled with pus.


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