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Chilblains Chronicles: 7 Powerful Strategies for Soothing Cold-Weather Skin Woes


Chilblains also known as perniosis are basically an inflammation of skin. It normally affects skin of feet and hands due to cold exposure. Chilblains happen owing to hypersensitivity of skin vessels. However, as far as tissue damage is concerned than chilblains have less severe impact than frostbite. Chilblains are due to instant change from vasoconstriction to vasodilatation.

It is suggested to avoid instant warming of chilblains affected part of skin instead tries to warm slowly at room temperature.

Chilblains cause swelling, itching and lumps on skin which may be painful. It happens due to cold weather situations. It affects toes, hands, feet and fingers but it may affect ears, thighs and nose as well. It may take weeks to heal up.

Symptoms of Chilblains

It may be like purple or red patches or bumps on skin. It may appear very quickly after exposure to cold conditions.

The common symptoms may be:

  • Swelling
  • Redness of skin
  • Cause reduce flexibility of skin
  • Itching
  • Bleeding lesions
  • Burning
  • Numbness
  • Pain
  • May cause bluish skin due to skin swelling.

It may cause blisters which contain fluid and cause pain. It may disappear after 1-3 weeks. It is also worth mentioning it may leave cracks on skin which may cause other infections to penetrate.

Causes of Chilblains

This skin rash may happen due to multiple reasons. The common causes of it are as follows:

  • Smoking: It happens due to constriction of vessels and peripheral veins.
  • Cold Exposure: Exposure to cold weather and instantly moving to hot situations.
  • Gender orientation: It commonly affect women more than men.
  • Anemia:  Anemia is another reason. The people are anemic may be encounter it more frequently than others.
  • Age:  Older age people and immune compromised people are more prone to it.
  • Nutrition: Lack of balanced diet and nutrition is another cause of chilblains.
  • Hormonal Changes: Variations in hormones may also cause it.
  • Auto immune issues:  The people having autoimmune problems are more likely to become victim of it like people with lupus.
  • Blood Circulation:  Obstructions of proper blood circulation is another cause of it.
  • Sensitivity:  Hyper sensitivity of skin to cold weather situations is also a cause of it.
  • Diabetes:  Diabetic patients are more on risk.
  • Body Weight: People with low body weight encounter it more.
  • Bone Marrow Patients:  People with bone marrow disorders are also in danger.
  • Reynaud’s Disease: People encounter with this disease experience less blood circulation due to narrow down blood circulating arteries.
  • Genetic: It may transfer through gene transfer as well.
  • Humidity:  It happens in humid and cold weather conditions.
  • Tight Costumes: Tight clothing is also another cause of chilblains.

Are chilblains and Covid 19 are same?

 Most of the people with Covid 19 reported a Covid toe similar to chilblains. The red skin, swelling, irritation and itching are the same signs. Covid toe may appear before or after exposure to Covid 19. Therefore, it is important to pay a visit to doctor to clarify reason of it.

Chilblains Treatment

Chilblains normally disappear after 1-3 weeks but if they prolong than this time and show ulcers, pain, blisters or any type of infection than one must seek suggestion from medical practitioner. Healthcare providers and dermatologist frequently suggest following treatments to chilblains:

  • If patient exhibit eczema signs than Steroid Creams are suggested.
  • In case secondary infections doctors may suggest Oral or Topical Antibiotics.
  • In order to enhance peripheral blood circulation Topical Nitroglycerine may be used.
  • Oral Nifedipine is a bit controversial yet effective because it may cause headache and dizziness.
  • Pentoxyphyline is an effective treatment of chilblains.

Note: However, self medication is strictly prohibited in using above mentioned options to treat chilblains. Therefore, it is highly recommended to visit healthcare provider or dermatologist for treatment purposes.

Furthermore, it is suggested to avoid scratching skin instead massage with mustard oil or moisturize skin.

Nutritional Remedial Strategies against Chilblains

Balanced diet and nutritional food options containing both micronutrients and macronutrients are highly recommended as prevention tactics against chilblains. Poor nutrition and unhealthy diet may increase the threat of exposure to it manifold.

Therefore following friendly foods options should be used to prevent chilblains:

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is essential food option to fight against chilblains. It is basically derived in high proportion from animal sources like:

  • Egg yolk
  • Butter
  • Fish
  • Liver

But keeping in view the people who prefer vegetables than it is also present as provitamin A (beta-carotene) or carotenoid in plant based sources as well. The plant based food options which carry it are as follows:

  • Dark green vegetables
  • Oranges
  • Carrots
  • Spinach
  • Watercress
  • Squash
  • Basil
  • Tomato
  • Borage
  • Asparagus
  • Coriander
  • Melon
  • Peppers
  • Watermelon
  • Brussels
  • Banana
  • Plums
  • Apples
  • Dandelion
  • Bean
  • Mango
  • Watermelon

Vitamin C

Lot of food options contain vitamin C which including citrus fruits and other vegetables as well. Vitamin C helps in shortening the span of chilblains. The food options which contain vitamin C are as follows:

  • Lemon
  • Orange
  • Limes
  • Mandarins
  • Grapefruits
  • Cabbage
  • Peppers
  • Broccoli
  • Cayenne
  • Radish
  • Spinach
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Apples
  • Banana
  • Pears
  • Pineapples
  • Watermelon
  • Barley
  • Garlic
  • Papayas
  • Peas
  • Berries
  • Celery
  • Strawberries
  • Avocado
  • Chicory
  • Blueberries
  • Grapes
  • Figs
  • Coconuts
  • Cherimoyas
  • Soybeans
  • Potatoes
  • Pomegranates

Apart from these entire food options one must take onion, ginger, rice bran, flax seed and peppers to enrich diet with multiple friendly foods against chilblains. All above mentioned food choices help in increasing blood circulation and control bad cholesterol (LDL).

However, there are certain food options which are required to be limit like cakes, dairy products, chocolates, fatty puddings and animal fats. These food items should be discouraged against fighting chilblains. Vitamin B3 also has capability to improve blood circulation.

Who are at risk?

Chilblains may affect anyone irrespective of gender or age. However, it affects certain segments more which are as follows:

  • Old people
  • Women
  • People working in cold weather conditions
  • Undernourished people
  • Under weight people
  • Smokers immune compromised people
  • People already having lupus.
  • People having minimal blood circulation
  • People having family history genetically.

Remedies for Chilblains

The remedies of chilblains are the most awaiting topic. The remedies entails the home based and food based options which help in avoiding chilblains effectively. The remedies are as follows:

  • Avoid Cold Exposures

It is a prime way to avoid cold exposure as it happens due to exposure to instant cold and hot weather conditions. One could use warm cloths, socks and caps.

  • Warm Compressors

It is also recommended to apply warm compressors on the affected areas to enhance blood circulation.  Soaking of clean cloth in warm water and gently applying it on to the affected area may help in soothing the pain and irritation.

  • Lavender and mustard oil application

As it is proven that mustard oil and lavender oil have warm properties which can increase blood flow. If they are mixed with few drops of coconut oil and massage on affected areas then it could relieve pain, irritation and discomfort.

  • Protective clothing

Warm and protective clothing while facing acute cold weather conditions may help in prevention against chilblains.

  • Keep skin dry

The moist and wet cloths and skin can lead towards the impact of chilblains therefore, it is highly recommended to keep the skin dry. Most of the people have a habit to wear socks throughout the day during winter season; such people are at high risk to confront chilblains due to moisture in fingers and feet.

  • Exercise

Exercise helps in maintaining a balanced and warm body temperature and most importantly it helps in maintaining proper blood circulation as well. Therefore, it is suggested to make a healthy routine of daily exercise to not only facilitate blood circulation but also to make body strong and to increase immunity.

  • Aloe vera Gels

Such gels can be applied on to the affected areas as these gels have not only soothing effect but also they are anti inflammatory in nature.

When to visit doctor?

Chilblains are rarely need emergency treatment. In most of the cases, it disappears after 2-3 weeks. However, if one is having acute symptoms then one must pay a visit to concerned medical practitioner or dermatologist as soon as possible because delay may cause severe infection which ultimately leads towards swelling, pain and irritation.


Chilblains are inflammatory conditions which cause pain, swelling, irritation and even ulcers. It may disappear from the skin in couple of weeks without any emergency conditions. But in some cases, it ay tender serious complications as well.

It is more lethal for the people who are under weight, malnourished, old and immune compromised. In such cases in which the complications occur one must reach the doctor and seek attention and suggestion. Proper and timely treatment has multiple advantages.

Chilblains can b prevented through home remedies like wearing protective cloths, massaging and exercise. Certain food options could also help in prevention against it and also help in increasing immunity.


What is chilblains?

Chilblains cause swelling, itching and lumps on skin which may be painful

What are symptoms of chilblains?

The common symptoms may be:
·         Swelling
·         Redness of skin
·         Cause reduce flexibility of skin
·         Itching
·         Bleeding lesions
·         Burning
·         Numbness
·         Pain
·         May cause bluish skin due to skin swelling.

What are causes of chilblains?

Smoking, lack of diet, anemia, cold exposure, hormonal changes, diabetes, cold sensitivity, auto immune issues.

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