9 Home Remedies for Chilblains

Chilblains are often annoying and painful. In this article, we'll explain some home remedies for chilblains to speed up recovery.
9 Home Remedies for Chilblains
Maria del Carmen Hernandez

Reviewed and approved by the dermatologist Maria del Carmen Hernandez.

Last update: 22 December, 2021

Chilblains are one of the most annoying and uncomfortable dermatological manifestations that appear during cold seasons. Have you ever experienced them? Here are some home remedies for chilblains that you can implement today to speed up their resolution.

What are chilblains?

According to the articleChilblains: A mysterious disease”, chilblains are a very rare inflammatory skin condition. Although in most cases, they’re acute and have an unclear cause, some chronic forms of the disease can also be observed.

The most common locations are the extremities, as they’re the areas most exposed to cold and humidity.

Finally, it has been observed that chilblains tend to affect women more than men, so it’s assumed that there would be some hormonal predisposing factor.

Among the most frequent manifestations of chilblains, the following stand out:

  • Erythrocyanotic lesions on the hands or feet
  • Sensitivity
  • Burning in the toes
  • Pruritus
  • Swelling of the toes

Home remedies for chilblains

The goal of therapeutic management of chilblains focuses on prevention, although there are oral medications that serve to relieve symptoms during acute episodes.

While it’s best to let them evolve on their own, there are some very useful home remedies to speed up this natural process.

1. Warm the affected area

A woman warming her feet by a fireplace.

Although heat offers relief, it’s best not to place heat directly on the injury as this can worsen symptoms. For example, a bag of hot water or the air from the hairdryer.

The use of warm clothing is sufficient enough to protect the extremities from the aggression of the cold. Therefore, it’s a good idea to wear warm shoes (socks and shoes), gloves, a scarf, and a hat.

2. Over-the-counter creams

Chilblains can be treated with corticosteroid creams to improve symptoms like itching and inflammation.

These products can be purchased without a prescription, and as with any steroid drug, it’s important to avoid excessive and prolonged use.

In case of having cracked or fissured skin, it’s best not to apply these creams and consult a medical professional.

You may be interested: Creams for skin infections

3. Avoid massaging or rubbing

In general, massages can increase inflammation and irritation of the skin, so its best to avoid them.

4. Moisturize the skin

As the chilblains disappear, it’s a good idea to apply an emulsion without fragrances or chemicals, in order to keep the skin hydrated and functional.

Also, clean, moisturized skin reduces the chances of developing a secondary infection.

The moisturizing emulsion should contain vitamin A, vitamin E, allantoin, urea, or hyaluronic acid.

5. Use antiseptics for hygiene

Cleaning the skin with antiseptics is useful in reducing the superinfection of these lesions. These products even help keep the skin’s surface clean and nourished.

After the application of the antiseptic, you should place a soft bandage on the lesion in order to protect it from friction.

6. Don’t scratch the chilblains

Dermatological manifestations, even if they’re only erythema or edema, sensitize the skin’s surface and make it vulnerable to any external aggression.

In turn, scratching the skin releases chemicals that further stimulate itching. Therefore, a vicious cycle begins that can lead to developing abrasions or more important lesions on the skin.

7. Exercise

Avoiding tobacco and staying active can help improve circulation and increase blood flow to the skin. Therefore, being physically active at least four times a week is ideal.

In addition, to maintain healthy skin and avoid chilblains, you must control your diet and increase your intake of foods high in vitamin C and A.

8. Calendula oil

Calendula oil has significant anti-inflammatory, antifungal, and antibacterial properties that can be helpful in healing wounds and alleviating eczema or dermatitis.

In addition, it’s an alternative remedy that can improve the appearance and quality of the skin.

9. Products with chamomile

Chamomile is one of the herbs with the most uses and functions that exists in alternative and cosmetic medicine. In fact, it can be useful in treating various skin conditions, such as dermatitis or rosacea.

It can be used through creams that contain it, an infusion, or some essential oils. The latter stimulate hydration and deep nutrition of the skin.

Chamomile flowers and chamomile tea.

Chilblains and their resolution

Chilblains can be uncomfortable and painful, but most of the time they don’t cause any long-term health problems. In fact, they tend to resolve on their own over time.

However, if they’re not treated correctly, they can considerably affect the quality of life of those who suffer from them.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Tobón MX, Rodríguez G. Eritema pernio: una enfermedad misteriosa. CES Med.  [Internet]. 2013  Jan [cited  2021  Nov  03] ;  27( 1 ): 113-126. Disponible en: http://www.scielo.org.co/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0120-87052013000100013&lng=en.
  • Cappel JA, Wetter DA. Clinical characteristics, etiologic associations, laboratory findings, treatment, and proposal of diagnostic criteria of pernio (chilblains) in a series of 104 patients at Mayo Clinic, 2000 to 2011. Mayo Clin Proc. 2014 Feb;89(2):207-15. doi: 10.1016/j.mayocp.2013.09.020. PMID: 24485134.
  • Nyssen A, Benhadou F, Magnée M, André J, Koopmansch C, Wautrecht JC. Chilblains. Vasa. 2020 Mar;49(2):133-140. doi: 10.1024/0301-1526/a000838. Epub 2019 Dec 6. PMID: 31808732.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.