Last Modified on Jun 18, 2014
What are the Signs of Frostbite?
Frostbite is the name of when the skin and the tissue beneath it freeze, typically caused by overexposure to frigid weather. Frostbite will occur on the exposed parts of the body such as the fingers, toes, and on the nose, ears, cheeks, and chin. Frostbite symptoms can be hard or waxy-looking skin, or even red, or white, or pale looking skin; numbness or a cold or burning sensation, muscle and joint stiffness, and even a painful, or prickly itchy feel. Frostbite starts as frostnip, mild and turning the skin red or numb, it will not permanently damage the skin but may hurt as warmth returns to the area. As exposure increasing, ice may form in the tissue, and permanent skin and nerve damage can occur.
Find Natural Frostbite Treatment on Earth Clinic
This page is for natural and home remedies for the treatment of frostbite. We are actively interested in acquiring folk treatments for frostbite, but currently our readers have suggested iodine, and topical use of jalapeno and habanero peppers. Know of a treatment for frostbite? Don't hesitate to share your story with us.
[NAY] 01/10/2010: Pam from Wildlands, Wyoming: "My husband has frostbite on the last 3 toes of both feet. The pinkie toe is more affected than the others, but they are all starting to blister and are a reddish color with a slight violet hue. We have tried foot massage with coconut oil to increase circulation and also cayenne and tumeric internally but it is still very painfull. Does anyone know of anything else that can be done to heal frostbite?"
EC: From Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frostbite
* Stage 1
First degree frostbite causes skin to appear yellow or white. There may also be slight burning sensations. This stage of frostbite is relatively mild and can be reversed by the gradual warming of the affected area.
* Stage 2
Second degree frostbite develops after continued exposure. This stage is characterized by the disappearance of pain and the reddening and swelling of the skin. Treatment in this stage may result in blisters and it may also peel the skin.
* Stage 3
Third degree frostbite results in waxy and hard skin. It is at this stage that the skin dies and edema may occur as a result of the lack of blood.
If third degree frostbite is not treated immediately then the damage and the frostbite becomes permanent, nerve damage will occur due to oxygen deprivation. Frostbitten areas will turn discolored, purplish at first, and soon turn black. After a while nerve damage becomes so great that feeling is lost in the frostbitten areas. Blisters will also occur.
01/11/2010: Bunny from Santa Ana, Ca replies: "I read something about DMSO once that said soaking the affected body part in 60% solution within a couple of hours of exposure would prevent tissue loss. It's too late this time, but maybe next time...."
10/15/2010: Glenda from Christiansted, Us Virgin Islands replies: "I read that cayenne pepper is good to treat frost bitten toes. Please explain."
[YEA] 01/29/2012: Nichole from Middletown, Ohio, Usa: "Topical iodine in the form of Betadine works wonders on wounds that require tissue deep repair, my goat got his foot tangled and was stuck outside for two days in the snow like that ( I was in bed with the flu for a week and could barely breathe when I got out of bed) anyways, his foot had swelled from the circulation being cut off and then froze solid. We brought him in and kept him in the bathroom while his foot thawed, I was unsure what to do with him at the time and gave him lots of colloidal silver to drink and soaked a bandage in it and wrapped it on his foot, I waited two weeks and saw no real improvement (the flesh on his foot was solid as a rock and he could not flex it or move it in any way but it had heat) so I tried iodine, wrapped his foot in iodine soaked gauze and then wrapped it in duct tape (thanks to the advice of a friend) to form a boot to keep it protected and allow the iodine to absorb and not dissipate. After ONE week I took the bandage off and the swelling was completely gone and his foot was no longer solid, I could move it and flex his hooves, something I could not in any way do before. The skin didn't look pretty though the layers of skin and fur were coming off in patches and I was worried about it being gangrene at first, but I wrapped it again and left it for another week. This time when I took it off nearly all the old skin and fur were off and new skin was in its place with new fur sprouting out! Again I wrapped it and left it for another week, at this point the fur was fully grown in and you couldn't tell it had been so severely damaged just 3 weeks earlier. At about 4 or 5 weeks I then noticed that he was growing a whole new hoof, complete healing, amazing!"
[YEA] 01/15/2010: Laura from Myrtle Creek, Oregon: "My husband had frostbite for 13 yrs., we made a paste of jalapeno, habanero peppers, put it on the area, covered it to hold in place. We left it on for several hours, he hasn't had problem since. The capiscan in the peppers brings the blood to the area and gets it circulating again. Sorry i dont have measurements, just make enough to cover the areas. Hope this helps, worked for us. By the way he had third degree, toes were black."Replies
02/03/2012: Sjt from Saitama, Kanto Japan replies: "Hot pepper works! My son went skiing and came back with frostbite on his toe. I looked here for help, but didn`t know how to make a paste out of pepper so I took hot, crushed red pepper from my spice cabinet & mixed it with a little bentonite clay to make a thick paste. I put it on his toe that was all deep purple and hurting. Actually he didn`t show it to me for several days so it had been this way for some days. I put the paste on his toe, then softly wrapped a cotton square around it to keep it in place and then secured it with bandaids to hold it in place. I did that before he went to bed.
The next morning, the bandage had turned all black but his toe had completely healed except for a pen dot size blue dot. I was amazed at the quick effectiveness."