Chilblains or perniosis is a common condition afflicting the hands or toes after prolonged exposure to cold. Many people feel cold but not everyone develops chilblains. The condition is characterized by itchy, red, swollen and painful skin lesions that crack, ulcerate and dry out over time. Chilblains can be extremely uncomfortable and painful and they can increase one’s risks to secondary, harder-to-treat infections. Today we will discuss best treatment for chilblains to give you quick relief.
1. Aloe Vera
Chilblains do not cause any permanent injury but while the lesions persist, they can be extremely painful and uncomfortable. Aloe Vera for chilblains is a popular home remedy that prevents the skin from drying out an ulcerating. Also, Aloe’s anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial actions help prevent the risk of infections.
2. Propolis liquid extract
Propolis liquid extract is the best treatment for chilblains. At the first sign of redness on the skin, apply the extract and repeat application several times a day.
3. Coconut oil for chilblains
Coconut oil for chilblains helps keep the skin moisturized to prevent winter dryness. Continue applying the oil even if the lesions fade away. You can leave the oil overnight on your skin and protect the bed sheets by covering them up with old towels. Also cover up your hands and toes with gloves and socks. This is particularly a beneficial remedy for the elderly patients who are more prone to painful blisters.
4. Manuka honey
Manuka honey comes from special shrubs growing in parts of New Zealand. Compared to regular honey, it has many anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds. Manuka honey is a bit expensive but it is one of the best remedies for healing chilblain lesions quickly.
5. Essential oils for chilblains
Several essential oils are beneficial for treating chilblains. One of the best ones is the oil of Black Pepper. Black pepper essential oil is warming, analgesic and anti-inflammatory. Regular application of it (after mixing it with suitable carrier oil like coconut oil) helps get the blood flowing to frost-bitten areas of the skin. In case of chilblains on the toes, soak your feet in hot water for a few minutes first. Next, dry the skin completely and massage black pepper oil on them. Wear socks to enable the skin to absorb the oil well. Other essential oils for chilblains include Lavender, Chamomile, Neem, Peppermint and Tea Tree oils. These oils moisturize the skin and soothe inflammation.
For chilblain lesions around the toes, the best natural treatment is exercise. Exercise improves blood circulation and people living sedentary lifestyle are more prone to them than those who are fit and active.
7. Elevate the feet while sleeping
This remedy is recommended to elderly people who may be unable to sleep on account of the pain and discomfort caused by chilblains.
8. Wear socks meant for diabetics
Diabetic socks worn while sleeping can give much needed relief from painful feet by regulating blood circulation.
9. Friar’s Balsam and Iodine
Ask your pharmacist to mix up a weak solution of Friar’s Balsam and iodine. Paint the lesions at night with it. Cover up with socks and wear old clothes to prevent stains.
10. Lanolin ointment
Applying lanolin ointment helps retain heat in the skin. Rub the ointment well into the feet before bed.
11. Vicks Vaporub
The menthol in Vicks Vaporub gets the blood flowing to affected areas and reduces swelling. It also warms the skin and prevents the lesions from cracking.
12. Calamine lotion
For extreme itchiness, use Calamine lotion-make sure to massage it well into the skin for at least 5 minutes. The compounds in Calamine soothe the skin and massage helps boost circulation. For extreme redness and swelling, use 1% Hydrocortisone but do not use it for more than 3 days.
13. Alternate hot cold compress/baths
Soaking the affected skin in hot water and cool/cold water basins or using hot and warm compresses can do wonders for blood circulation. Keep hot water temperature between 110 and 115 F while cold water can be ice water or tap water. You can even take alternate cold and hot showers-but always end with a hot shower.
14. Epsom Salt
Soaking in a tub bath with a cup of Epsom salts added is an effective remedy for chilblains. Epsom salts increase blood circulation, reduce pain and inflammation and can give you much needed relief from the discomfort caused by blisters. In absence of Epsom salts, you can use sea salt too.
15. Dietary tips for chilblains
Eliminating sugar and gluten is known to benefit patients who suffer from chilblains year after year. It is very important to eat a healthy and balanced diet.
16. Witch hazel
Avoid cutting the blisters or hardened skin with sharp objects. Instead, apply witch hazel to soften them. If the lesions have ulcerated you can use an antibiotic ointment on them.
17. Onion juice
Onion juice warms up the skin so you can either grate some onion, applying its juice on the chilblains, or you can cut an onion in half and rub it over the skin for instant relief. Place the used onion in a plastic bag and refrigerate it. Use it as needed throughout the day.
18. Rubbing alcohol
Rubbing alcohol is a fantastic remedy that helps in bringing back circulation to frost bitten feet and toes.
19. Silica gel packets inside socks
This might sound like a weird remedy but it helps! One of the main causes of chilblains is moisture and cold humidity. By placing silica gel inside your Merino wool socks, you can prevent cold moisture from hurting your skin.
20. Chilblains treatment with Urine
As weird as it sounds, soaking your feet in your own warm urine can regulate the skin’s temperature and get the circulation flowing. It can also soothe inflammation and dryness.
21. Vitamin K
A deficiency in Vitamin K is often responsible for this condition. Talk to your doctor about supplementing with pills.
22. Keep your body warm at all times
People prone to chilblains must dress in layers in winters and keep warm always. Wear socks, several layers of shirts and sweaters and scarves along with long johns, tights and high boots. Avoid nipping outdoors even if for a few minutes when not dressed warmly.
Whatever you do, avoid scratching the blisters. If the above natural treatment remedies for chilblains do not show results, you might need UV light therapy or medicines like calcium channel blockers, Nicotinamide etc.