Chilblains, more common in women than men, are a relatively common concern almost exclusively confined to colder climates and countries. They are a painful reaction to cold weather that commonly occur in the toes though they can also affect the rest of the foot, fingers, the nose and ears.
What are chilblains?
Chilblains, also known as perniosis, are unusual reactions of the small blood vessels, called capillaries, within one’s skin. Chilblains look like small red bumps on the toes and fingers and are often very itchy and painful. The cold weather causes the capillaries to constrict and when the area warms up again, the capillaries are not able to open up quickly resulting in the stagnation of blood and all the waste products within it. It is these waste products that accumulate in skin and set off an inflammatory reaction that can be painful.
Initially, the inflammatory reaction causes redness of the skin but with constant exposure, these can turn into a bluish-black appearance and often the skin may break open. The healing of skin can take several weeks and often, due to the cold weather, chilblains can keep recurring.
Poor circulation increases the chances of getting chilblains but this concern is not the only causal factor as young people with good circulation can also get chilblains. It is a combination of poor circulation, fragile capillaries, genetics and other causes that we do not fully understand yet. However enhancing circulation often helps to prevent chilblains and also encourages quicker healing of the inflamed tissues.
Treatment for chilblains
There is not a direct link between chilblains and a vitamin deficiency. We know that certain vitamins may help circulation notably vitamin B3.
It therefore follows that the treatment for chilblains should include circulatory herbs and perhaps a warming topical cream. I tend to recommend the use of Diosmin Plus, a potent but safe supplement for circulation. Diosmin Plus is used to treat varicose veins, spider veins, haemorrhoids and other circulatory problems with great effect. Diosmin Plus is a blend of synergistic botanicals that help to maintain adequate blood flow constantly and also helps to strengthen the capillaries as well as the valves within arteries and veins to ensure that no matter what the weather, the capillaries do not constrict and that the flow of blood is constant. In this way, chilblains are often prevented.
Topically, I recommend Capsicum and Ginger Warming Cream by Napiers to be used morning and evening. Capsicum, also known as red pepper or chilli pepper, has a history of usage as a medicinal plant. Capsicum has been scientifically studied and when applied topically has been found to alleviate the pain of arthritis, shingles, neuropathy and fibromyalgia. The combination of capsicum and ginger in Napiers Capsicum and Ginger Warming Cream will help to alleviate pain, encourage quicker healing and ensure that the area is kept warm over a few hours minimizing the appearance of chilblains. Use this cream to both prevent and treat chilblains. Napiers Capsicum and Ginger Warming Cream has been used for the soldiers in Afghanistan to help prevent chilblains.
For those with extreme discomfort, preventing chilblains on the toes is possible by wearing Silversocks. These socks for chilblains contain fibres that are universally coated in silver which helps to keep the heat in the foot and keep the cold out.
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