Chilblains are itchy red or blue swellings on your toes, fingers or face that crop up in the winter when your extremities are exposed to extreme cold. Some people, several hours after being out in winter weather, or after trying to heat up cold toes quickly, experience tingling in their toes, then itching and burning as blue or red lesions form. Chilblains often are hereditary, poor circulation largely is to blame. Those who are prone to them can help prevent outbreaks by taking extra care to keep warm in cold conditions. However, when chilblains do form, there are ways you can manage them and speed healing.
Consult your physician. While the development of chilblains is largely hereditary, anaemia, hormonal changes, environmental factors or poor nutrition can exacerbate the problem. Your physician may be able to identify and treat any possible underlying causes contributing to your chilblains.
When chilblains appear, elevate the part of your body with chilblains to reduce the swelling. To return your body temperature to normal, move to a warm room and allow your body to adjust to the temperature. Do not expose yourself to a heater, as this can aggravate chilblains.
When your body's temperature has readjusted, slowly and gently massage the area around the chilblains to increase the blood flow to the area.
Stop the itching by cutting a raw onion and rubbing the cut edge over the chilblains. Allow the onion juice to soak into your skin. This juice will soothe the itch.
Moisturise your chilblains to prevent cracking. Grind approximately one tablespoon of peppercorns and fry them in coconut oil for approximately five minutes. Filter the peppercorns out of the coconut oil with a strainer. While the coconut oil is still warm, massage the chilblains with it. Then cover your feet with thick socks. The coconut oil will not only keep the chilblains from cracking, but will help to guard against infection. Continue to apply the oil until the chilblains have disappeared.
If your chilblains have already cracked, do not apply the coconut oil to broken skin.
Tips and warnings
- If your chilblains have already cracked, do not apply the coconut oil to broken skin.