Ever think you’ve had a chilblain? That might be a tricky question to answer if you aren’t sure what they are, but winter is when you are most likely to get them.

Chilblains are skin sore, patches of discoloured and damaged skin that are swollen and itchy. They occur following exposure to cold temperatures. You are most likely to get them on your toes but may also form them on other extremities, including your earlobes, fingers, and nose.

With this post prepared by some Ballarat herbalists, let us know how can we take care ourselves from having this itchy chilblains.

Common Symptoms of Chilblains

Chilblains often have a combination of the following symptoms:

  • Skin that has pain, stinging, or burning feeling.
  • Patches of skin that are swollen and coloured red, blue, purple, or white.
  • An itchy feeling.
  • Dry skin, potentially with splits or cracks.
  • Severe cases may develop ulcers; there is also the chance of secondary infections.

What Causes Chilblains?

While the precise factors that cause Chilblains are unknown, it is linked to how the body responds to cold, and how it warms up again. The cardiovascular system is sensitive to changes in temperature. When it is warm it expands, but when it is cold it constricts. This constriction reduces circulation to the extremities.

When you enter a warm room after being in the cold, your blood vessels go from being constricted to trying to expand. The rewarming of the skin causes small blood vessels to expand faster than the larger blood vessels can handle – leading to Chilblains.

Risk Factors of Having Chilblains

Some of the risk factors that increase your risk of developing Chilblains include:

  • Poor circulation, or an abnormal blood vessel response.
  • If you are a woman.
  • If you are underweight or have a low BMI.
  • Wearing tight clothes that compromise circulation.
  • Exposing skin to the cold.
  • If you live somewhere that is cold and wet.

How To Manage Chilblains Properly

If you get Chilblains during winter, try:

  • Warming yourself up slowly when you come in from the cold.
  • Dressing in loose layers rather than tight clothing.
  • Reduce the itchiness with chickweed.
  • Support healing with sage, calendula, or aloe vera.
  • Support circulation and cardiovascular health with ginger and garlic.

Have a chat with your Naturopath for additional support specific to your health picture by pressing the button below. You may also check out these health care articles our herbalists prepared for you.

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Katherine Knott

Katherine is a certified naturopath and the founding director of Acorn and Oak.   She began studying Naturopathy when she was 18 years old and has practiced in both Melbourne and rural Victoria.  She has also studied 2 1/2 years of nursing and midwifery, but decided that she was happier to work with women as […]

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Nicki Stewart

Nicki has always been drawn to Holistic Health and she follows in her mother’s footsteps who is a Reflexologist and Natural Therapist. Nicki was inspired to study Herbal Medicine after attending one of Dr. Sandi Rogers’ (Naturopath, Director of National College of Traditional Medicine and former President of Australian Traditional Medicine Society) seminars on ‘Fruits […]

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Alyce Beaton

Alyce is qualified naturopath in Ballarat who loves supporting people on their health journey. Alyce believes optimising and restoring health first and foremost begins with food as medicine and creating healthy lifestyle habits. She is passionate about providing a safe, non judgement environment and endeavours to support her clients with strategies they can implement into […]

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