How do I Choose the Best Chilblains Treatment?

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  • Written By: Jami Yontz
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 27 September 2019
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Chilblains is a condition that occurs when cold temperatures cause the blood vessels in the skin to narrow and when the skin is warmed the blood vessels do not return to their normal size quickly enough, resulting in red and purple blistering of the skin. When choosing the best chilblains treatment a person should consult their physician, and there are also many home remedies that can be performed to easily relieve the symptoms while the chilblains heal. Keeping the feet warm, reducing the swelling, and applying anti-itch creams can be soothing treatments for the condition.

Extremities including the feet, hands, and face are most commonly affected by chilblains, also known as pernio. Keeping these parts of the body warm by wearing wools socks, warm gloves and covering the face with a scarf will help to prevent the blood vessels from constricting. A person with chilblains should also try to avoid extreme temperature changes, but if these conditions is unavoidable, a person should make sure to wear many layers to keep the extremities warm. When warming up, never place the feet or hands directly in front of a hot surface to induce warming. Instead, let the body naturally increase the temperature of the hands or feet.


Chilblains more commonly affect people with poor circulation, which can lead to painful swelling. Reducing the swelling is a chilblains treatment that can help with the pain in affected area. Elevating the feet is especially important. Quitting smoking, exercising and proper nutrition can help to prevent the condition. Massaging the affected areas will promote circulation and warm the feet, hands or face.

Burning and itching of the red or purple blisters is a common symptom. Applying an anti-itch or corticosteroids cream can help to relieve the pain, inflammation, and itching. A person should try to avoid scratching the swellings or blisters, so as to not create open sores. Sores and ulcers can appear as a result of chilblains, so a person should make sure to bandage and medicate the areas to prevent infection.

There are also homeopathic treatments for the condition. Some people recommend rubbing the cut edge of an onion or potato on the feet to reduce the itching and swelling. There are recipes for soaking the feet or hands in mixtures of egg whites and honey, and some people suggest using fennel root and wine to soothe the chilblains.

Chilblains usually heal within 14 days with proper care of the condition, but prevention is the best chilblains treatment. Keeping the feet, hands and face warm and maintaining good circulation is the only way to prevent chilblains. Avoid wearing tight or restrictive shoes that prevent proper circulation. If a person has reoccurring chilblains, a physician may prescribe medication as a chilblains treatment.


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