Chilblains — also known as pernio and chill burns — is a medical condition that occurs when a predisposed individual is exposed to cold and humidity, causing tissue damage. It is often confused with frostbite and trench foot. Damage to capillary beds in the skin causes redness, itching, inflammation, and sometimes blisters. Chilblains can be reduced by keeping the feet and hands warm in cold weather, and avoiding extreme temperature changes. Chilblains can be idiopathic (spontaneous and unrelated to another disease), but may also be a manifestation of another serious medical condition that must be investigated. A history of chilblains suggests a connective tissue disease (such as lupus). Chilblains may also be caused by Raynaud's disease. In infants, chilblains together with severe neurologic disease and unexplained fevers occurs in Aicardi–Goutières syndrome, a rare inherited condition. Ulcerated chilblains are referred to as kibes.
Nifedipine, a vasodilator, may help in more severe or recurrent cases.Vasodilation helps reduce pain, facilitate healing and prevent recurrences. It is typically available in an oral pill but can be compounded into a topical formula.
^Rustin, M.H.A.; Newton, Julia A.; Smith, N.P.; Dowd, Pauline M. (2006). "The treatment of chilblains with nifedipine: the results of a pilot study, a double-blind placebo-controlled randomized study and a long-term open trial". British Journal of Dermatology. 120 (2): 267–75. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2133.1989.tb07792.x. PMID2647123.