what is chilblains, causes, symptoms, and treatment?

chilblains images

when you have been in cold, small but itchy patches are seen on your skin. This is what is called chilblains also referred to as pernio or perniosis. The patches should clear on themselves and if they do not clear up on themselves you should see a doctor they can also resemble other diseases.

Causes of chilblains

when in cold, your blood vessels contract in the body organs such as fingers. The contraction makes blood movement a bit harder. When you warm yourself too fast, the blood vessels expand retaining their normal size and blood rushes to fingers and other organs which causes pain.

Risk factors

  • Smokers have a risk of having chilblains
  • Female gender and individual with low body mass index
  • poor circulation
  • Exposion or living in a cold climate
  • Having diabetes

Symptoms of chilblains

Chilblains are itchy and swollen patches that appear mostly on feet and hands although they can affect other parts after a day of exposure to cold.

The patches appear red or blue mostly and they cause a burning sensation on the skin.



Normally chilblains clear up on their own after warming. When you have very poor circulation the chilblains may not heal well. Same case for diabetic people.

when they do not clear on their own within one to three weeks you should see a doctor for blood pressure medication so that blood vessels may expand reducing the pain sensation on the skin.

Corticosteroids cream may be prescribed by the doctor to reduce pain on ongoing chilblains.


  • Immersion of affected skin in hot water for a short period
  • Avoiding wearing clothes that are too tight such as gloves
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