Chilblains are red or blue inflammations or blisters that appear on the skin surface due to painful swelling of tiny blood vessels, which occur as a reaction to swift warming after exposure to very cold temperatures. They are particularly common among toes, but can also occur in fingers or any areas that are often exposed to the cold for prolonged periods of time. They can be caused by poor circulation in areas that get protracted exposure to the cold resulting in a painful swelling of the skin that can also be very itchy. It is thought they can be hereditary and are caused by poor blood circulation. People with a tendency to get chilblains should take extra care in the cold conditions. The best way to prevent them from occurring is to keep vulnerable areas warm at all times.
The signs that you have chilblains: the affected area is usually reasonably small but will become itchy and red or even blue, often on your feet or hands. Swelling, blistering and a burning sensation are prominent sign of chilblains. Your first steps to treating should be to keep the affected areas dry and warm. Chilblains can be successfully treated by you but if the pain is severe or there is no apparent sign of healing after two weeks a doctor can help provide effective treatments.
Treatments: To those who prefer the holistic approach aromatherapy can be used as a method of treatment for chilblains. Massaging the affected areas will warm up them up and increase proper circulation to all the blood vessels. If the skin is cold then the process of heating it back up should be done gradually. Try not to heat the areas up too quickly. Using a good quality aromatherapy massage oil can stimulate good circulation reducing the cold and helping to remove impurities. To achieve this lemon, neroli and cypress should be the foundation of any massage oil used to help stimulate and encourage the blood vessels. Massage helps to stimulate the tissue delivering fresh blood to the cells that are suffering. The massage will also help provide the skin with the nourishing essential oils that can repair the skin and boost circulation. The massage oils will moisturise the damaged skin and help prevent the skin from cracking and becoming more damaged.
Tea tree oil should be considered as the best essential oil for treating chilblains. Rub it neat onto the affected areas or mix with grape seed oil if feet are cold after a walk will gently increase the temperature and help reduce the swelling.
Remember to keep hands and feet warm and dry in the cold weather, being damp will reduce the outer skin temperature and could lead to the worsening of chilblains. Diet can also play a factor to encourage good healthy circulation. Foods rich in vitamin C and E are of particular value here. Other foods to be considered valuable are onions, garlic chestnuts, and citrus fruits. Any foods rich in bioflavonoids should be consumed as well as wheat-germ which contains vitamin e to encourage circulation. Drinking herbal teas such as rosehip can aid capillaries and encourage healthy circulation to damages areas.
If you suffer from poor circulation and diabetes a doctor’s advice should be sought immediately upon discovering chilblains to avoid any further problems.