Mirror.co.uk – How to Deal with Chilblains
Itchy, Painful Skin in Cold Weather
Mirror.co.uk investigate the seasonal issue of chilblains, which cause around 1 in 10 Brits to suffer in the cold weather.
Dr Ross Perry, founder and Medical Director of Cosmedics Skin Clinics, was invited to give his expert advice on the issue.
He started by explaining what chilblains actually are:
“Chilblains are small, itchy or painful red swellings on the skin that occur as a reaction to cold temperatures.
“They normally affect the body’s extremities: fingers, toes, heels, the ears and nose, and can last for several months.”
They occur due to the body’s response to external temperatures. When the skin is cold, blood vessels constrict, but when it is warm, blood vessels widen. When the skin goes from very cold to very warm temperatures in a short space of time, the skin can’t handle the sudden increase in blood flow and becomes swollen and itchy.
- Chilblains tend to develop several hours after exposure to the cold
- Patients have a burning and itching sensation on the skin
- Symptoms become more intense in a warm environment
- In severe cases, the surface of the skin might crack and sores or blisters can develop
Chilblains usually heal by themselves within a few weeks, but can be very irritating and uncomfortable while they last.
Tips to avoid chilblains relate to avoiding extreme temperatures and protecting the skin. Avoid cold temperatures outside, dress appropriately with socks, fleecy footwear, gloves and a hat. When coming indoors, don’t be tempted to put your hands/feet on a radiator. Allow the skin to warm gradually. Whether you are indoors or outdoors, try to keep active to boost circulation.
Chilblains tend to get better eventually, but while they last, soothing lotions can help to ease the discomfort. Dr Perry told Mirror.co.uk:
“Some people swear by using natural remedies, such as Calendula Cream, or eating pepper or chilli peppers.
“Calendula is thought to have anti-inflammatory properties that could help reduce pain, while capsaicin, which gives chilli its fiery edge, stimulates receptors in the gut, which can then boost circulation in the hands, feet and head.”
For severe pain or recurring chilblains, patients are advised to see the GP, who may prescribe a medication to improve circulation (nifedipine).
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Dr Ross Perry
Dr Ross Perry regularly provides expert comment and advises the media on a range of skincare and health-related issues.
He has particular expertise in skin surgery mole removal, sun damage and melanoma; having removed thousands of moles in his career, both within the NHS and privately through Cosmedics Skin Clinics.
Cosmedics Skin Clinics
Cosmedics Skin Clinics was established in 2003 and has built up an excellent reputation for cosmetic and medical treatments, carried out by GMC Registered Doctors. The company offer a full range of cosmetic treatments, including popular lip enhancement and wrinkle relaxing injections, dermal fillers; plus medical treatments including mole removal, thread vein treatment and excessive sweating injections.
Cosmedics Skin Clinics has a team of skin treatment doctors and surgeons in their 5 skin clinics across London and Bristol led by Dr Ross Perry.
Call 020 7386 0464 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to book an appointment.
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