Essential oils to relieve chillblains

by Alison Angold CIDESCO ITEC

The best essential oils to relieve chilblains are;

  • Black Pepper
  • Clary Sage
  • Chamomile
  • Ginger
  • Lavender
  • Juniper
  • Marjoram
  • Rosemary

Using these oils blended together in a hand cream or a massage oil, can be the natural way to treat and relieve chilblains.

What are chilblains?

Chilblains are when the small blood vessels in your skin – usually fingers and toes – swell, due to being exposed to cold air for a length of time, or repeatedly.

The fingers or toes can swell or become inflamed.  They can look red in colour, and become itchy or sore.  You may also experience a burning sensation – even though the skin feels cold.  

Chilblains on a foot.  Essential oils to relieve chilblains.
Red inflammation of chilblains

Chilblains are when the blood capillaries get smaller, reducing blood flow in that particular area.

Chilblains can come and go, however are more often present if the skin is exposed to cold temperatures for regular or extended periods.   Chilblains usually clear up on their own, however if they don’t show signs of improving or the skin is broken then you should consult your GP.

There are a few different ways of treating chilblains, but using essential oils for chilblains could be the natural way to ease these symptoms or prevent chilblains from occurring.

Therapeutic actions of essential oils for chilblains

Essential oils are the pure oils that are extracted from flower petals, leaves, fruit or herbs, and are so fine and pure that they have the ability to penetrate through the skin’s surface.

From here, they can enter the bloodstream and travel around the body to have an affect.

Each essential oil has a different property or therapeutic action meaning that it can have an effect within the skin or the body.

The properties that we need the essential oils for chilblains to have are;

Analgesic – has painkilling properties, so soothes and relieves any pain or soreness in the area

Anti-inflammatory – reduces inflammation, so calms the skin down and takes down inflammation caused.

Calming – has an overall calming effect, therefore useful to calm and soothe the irritated area

Vasodilation – encourages and stimulates blood flow to the area of application, thus relieving the effects of the poor circulation.

Warming – produces a feeling of warmth, while also encouraging blood flow.

What we want to do to treat chilblains is warm the hands up slowly.  This is important as a too big an increase in the heat in the area, can cause more pain and inflammation.

Essential oils for chilblains

Black pepper

A very stimulating essential oil that should be used in moderation for the skin, black pepper is great for improving circulation and giving relief to conditions such as chilblains.  

(May irritate very sensitive skin, incompatible with homeopathic treatments)

Chamomile

Chamomile is a good essential oil to use for chilblains as it is very calming and soothing on irritated or inflamed skin conditions.  

(Avoid during pregnancy)

Clary sage

This essential oil has anti-inflammatory properties,  so will be very useful to reduce inflamed skin.  It is also a warming oil, so will encourage gentle circulation within the skin, to relieve chilblains safely.  

(Avoid during pregnancy.  Alcohol should be avoided if using clary sage,  as it increases the effect of alcohol, however the small amounts you will use for chilblains, should be ok)

Ginger

An ideal oil to treat chilblains, as it stimulates and warms the circulation to specifically treat conditions such as chilblains.

Lavender

A great all-round oil to use for several conditions, including chilblains, as it has analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties and is a good aroma to add to any essential oil blend.  

Juniper

This essential oil has pain relieving properties, so will help calm and soothe any pain caused by the chilblains.  It is often used to treat inflammatory skin conditions, such as dermatitis, psoriasis or eczema, so will be useful to reduce the inflammation or irritation of the skin during chilblains. Juniper is also a warming oil, which will be useful for the skin during this condition.  

(Avoid during pregnancy or if suffering with kidney disease)

Marjoram

Marjoram, not only has pain relieving properties, but it is a warming oil which stimulates the circulation to improve poor circulation for conditions such as chilblains.

 (Avoid during pregnancy)

Rosemary

Rosemary is an analgesic as well as warming and stimulating the circulation to relieve chilblains.  

(Avoid during pregnancy, or by those with high blood pressure or epilepsy)

A selection of essential oils on a shelf.  Essential oils to relieve chilblains

How to use essential oils for chilblains

(This article contains affiliate links and as an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases)

The most appropriate and beneficial way to use essential oils for chilblains is to make a hand cream to use regularly if you know you suffer with chilblains.  Use before you go out and when you come home.

Hand cream recipe;

You will need;

A plain hand or body lotion

A suitable bottle with a pump

A selection of your chosen essential oils (see blends below)

Simply put the plain hand cream into the clean bottle.  Add your essential oils and mix.  It’s as easy as that!

For every 50ml of hand cream, you can add up to 20 drops of essential oils. More blending information here.

Any plain hand cream is fine, but this one is particularly good, as it hypoallergenic and fragrance free. Ideal to add essential oils to.

Store essential oil blends in a tinted bottle, so their chemical components are protected from UV and light.

All recommended essential oils can be purchased through this link

Blends

You could use any of the essential oils from the list given together, however these blend particularly well together and with the addition of one or 2 extra oils to give a wonderful scent! For every 50ml of hand cream, add up to 20 drops of essential oils, in total.

Black pepper, chamomile, marjoram & lemon

Rosemary, lavender, & bergamot

Ginger, Clary sage & orange

Ginger, Juniper & Lavender

You will notice the addition of the some citrus oils here.  These add an extra aroma to the other wise very ‘herby’ or ‘antiseptic’ fragrances of the other oils  Orange adds extra warming qualities and Bergamot is great at soothing inflamed skin conditions.

Other ways to prevent chilblains

Massage/hand or foot movements

Anyone can get chilblains, however those with poor circualtion may suffer more.  Regular hand or foot massage or at least performing hand an foot excercies or movements can help enormously.  Use the hand cream you have made from above to massage the hand and finger, the foot and the toes, to encourage circualtion to the area, on a regular basis.  Try these movements;

Hand massage

  • Rotate your hands from your wrists
  • Make a fist then stretch out your hands and fingers
  • Using some cream, use one thumb to massage the palm of the other hand
  • Then use the thumb of the other hand to massage up each finger and gently pull down.
  • Continue this movement, up the main body of the hand

Foot massage

  • Using cream, massage up each bone on the top of the foot
  • Gently massage up each toe, and gently pull down
  • Using your thumbs, massage over the sole of the foot
  • Using both hands, grab the foot and squeeze, repeat this moving your hands to a different place each time.
  • Rotate the ankle, a few times each way.

Wear gloves

This may seem an obvious answer but wearing gloves each time you go outside in the cold, should help prevent the onset of chilblains.  Better still, wearing a thinner, insulated glove could be better than a thick wool glove.  A  thinner, insulated glove will not only keep the hands warm but encourage the circulation too.  They are usually made with a softer material too, so help reduce inflammation or irritation on the skin.

Try these LYCRA THERMAL INNER GLOVES

Or these THERMAL KNITTED GLOVES

Wear thinner insulated socks against your skin

If chilblains are an issue on the toes, then a thinner pair of insulated socks against the skin is effective.  Thicker wool socks can then be worn over the top, but the soft, thin, insulated layer may have a better effect directly against the skin.

Try these HEAT HOLDERS THERMAL SOCKS

Or these MERINO WOOL THERMAL SOCKS

Safety precautions for essential oils for chilblains

Do not apply essential oils directly on to the skin.  They must be blended with a  carrier substance, such as a cream or an oil.

Please be aware of the specific precautions for each of the oils mentioned above.  Black pepper can be irritating on very sensitive skins and is incompatible with homeopathic treatments.  Chamomile, clary sage, juniper, marjoram and rosemary should all be avoided during pregnancy.  Juniper should be avoided by those with kidney disease or other kidney issues.  Rosemary should be avoided by those suffering with high blood pressure or epilepsy.

Do not use essential oils on broken or weeping skin.

Do not place hands of feet directly on a hot radiator or in hot water when experiencing chilblains.  This will warm the area up too much, potentially causing too much blood to rush to the area, and burst the capillaries.  It will could also cause a burning sensation and increased inflammation in the area.

Dry, itchy, inflamed or sensitive skin? Find essential oils and how to use them to relieve these skin conditions HERE.

About the Author
Alison Angold is a fully qualified (certified) beauty therapist, massage therapist and aromatherapist from the UK. She has over 25 years experience in this industry and has worked in a variety of beauty salons, spa’s as well as running her own successful beauty and massage business. Her career has allowed her to treat many, many clients, with skincare concerns, medical conditions, and a whole variety of other ailments and issues, that has enabled her to work closely with essential oils, prescribing specific blends for these clients to help with these conditions. Her qualifications in the use of essential oils and aromatherapy, allow her to share this knowledge with others, in a safe, reliable way.