How to Treat Chilblains

Chilblains are patches of itchy, swollen red skin. The condition can affect the nose, fingers, and earlobes, but it is more likely to affect the toes, especially the little one. Although the exact cause of chilblains is unknown, it is triggered by extremely cold weather, especially damp coldness, and poor circulation. Follow these steps if you have chilblains.

Don't scratch your skin; you may damage the chilblains further if you do.

Soothe your itching feet with products like witch hazel or calamine lotion.

Rub lanolin into your feet, especially before going out in cold weather. We lose a lot of heat through our extremities, and lanolin will help the body to retain heat.

Walk or perform another gentle activity to improve circulation.

Think about purchasing lamb's-wool insoles for your shoes and special foot creams from websites like Dr. Foot.

Wear comfortable shoes that give your toes room to breathe.

See a podiatrist regularly to prevent and treat chilblains.


Socks made of natural fibers like wool or cotton allow your feet to breathe; they are a good choice for people who are susceptible to chilblains. If your feet get very cold, allow them to warm up slowly when you come inside. Putting cold feet in front of a direct source of heat like a heater can cause chilblains.


Smoking cigarettes or drinking alcohol decrease circulation; it is a good idea to avoid these activities if you have chilblains or have gotten it in the past.

Things You'll Need

  • Lanolin
  • Lamb's-wool insoles
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