Chilblains are the painful inflammation of small blood vessels in the skin that occur in response to sudden warming from cold temperatures and can cause an cause itching, red patches, swelling and blistering on extremities, such as toes, fingers, ears and nose. The best approach to chilblains is to avoid developing them in the first place by limiting your exposure to cold, dressing warmly and covering exposed skin.

According to the signs and symptoms of chilblains include:

  • Small, itchy red areas on your skin, often on your feet or hands
  • Possible blistering
  • Swelling of your skin
  • Burning sensation on your skin
  • Changes in skin color from red to dark blue, accompanied by pain
  • Possible ulceration
Chilblains| West Coast Institute of Aromatherapy

Traditional treatment for chilblains includes, topical application of corticosteroid creams to help relieve itching and swelling. Blood pressure medication. A blood pressure lowering drug called nifedipine (Adalat, Procardia) is sometimes used to treat the cause of chilblains, since it can help open up blood vessels. Infection prevention. If your skin has broken, treatment also includes cleaning and protecting your wounds to prevent infection.

The right essential oils and synergies could offer a really good alternative. You’d want a blend that would address circulation, skin soothing and prevention of any infections. The methods of application would include topical application to the affected areas and/or a soothing soak made with essential oils and warm to hot water. Remember that essential oils do not dissolve in water so add an equal number of drops of emulsifier, or if you don’t have an emulsifier add an equal number of drops of liquid soap to disperse the essential oil droplets through the water.  Don’t use the essential oils directly over broken skin.

Many essential oils are used to help improve circulation, two of my favourites for this are black pepper and geranium, others include marjoram, rosemary, basil, ginger, lavender, lemon and cedarwood.

My favourite essential oil for soothing red, itchy skin would probably be German chamomile while others include: Roman chamomile, lavender, peppermint and sandalwood.

As always, keep in mind any contraindications to any of the oils there might exist for the person the blend is being created for.

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