Cold dermatitis – causes, symptoms, treatment of the disease
Cold dermatitis is an unpleasant and sometimes dangerous skin disease. Under the influence of low temperatures, inflammatory processes occur on the human skin, accompanied by unpleasant sensations. Frosty dermatitis (cold urticaria) appears on parts of the body that are not hidden from external influences, often in winter, but in rare cases even a cold drink or ice water can provoke a reaction.
Causes of cold dermatitis
The main cause of cold dermatitis is prolonged exposure to low temperatures on exposed skin. There is a spasm of capillaries, as a result of which the blood supply to the upper layers of the dermis is disturbed, causing an inflammatory process.
People who have dry skin or a lack of natural fat are also at risk.
In addition, at low temperatures, proteins are formed that are part of the cellular structure of the skin, proteins activate the development of histamine (an organic compound, an endogenous factor in the development of allergies), which causes skin manifestations, but these compounds are not stable, when warmed, the protein breaks down.
The reasons that may contribute to the development of the initial stage of frosty (cold) dermatitis are identified:
- A genetic factor – a predisposition, the presence of an allergy in one or both parents, can cause the development of a disease in a child or sensitivity to it.
- Tendency to allergic manifestations.
- The external influence of toxic substances can very rarely be the cause.
- Reduced immunity.
There is a version that cold dermatitis is a complication of other diseases of the internal organs or diseases of an autoimmune nature.
Symptoms of cold dermatitis
For cold dermatitis, there are a number of characteristic symptoms:
- The formation of scarlet / pink / burgundy / cyanotic spots, the size can reach five centimeters, most often occur on areas of the skin that were not hidden from exposure to low temperatures;
- The spots peel off, crack;
- Itching, burning, feeling of tightness of the skin in places of manifestation of dermatitis;
- Rhinitis, conjunctivitis (non-infectious etiology), sneezing;
- The skin is inflamed, swelling of the tissues is noted;
- Urticaria-like rash (blisters like insect bites);
- There may be a deterioration in the general condition, as in acute respiratory infections, acute respiratory viral infections;
- Very rarely, Quincke’s edema, bronchospasm, short-term loss of consciousness can occur, this is considered a complication, these manifestations can be in people with immunodeficiency or prone to frequent allergic reactions.
Spots can be localized on any part of the body. It often appears on the face, due to the weak protection of this part of the body from exposure to cold temperatures. Cold dermatitis on the face appears quickly, in the form of bluish spots and a feeling of dryness of the skin, with further exposure to cold, a rash may occur, when warmed, they disappear, the skin becomes pale.
Even children are susceptible to the occurrence of cold dermatitis. The main signs of frosty dermatitis in children are the appearance of pink itchy blisters in open areas of the body, which can appear after warming up. There is a decline in strength, the development of conjunctivitis and rhinitis.
Cold dermatitis on hands
Due to the anatomical location of the hands (fingers pointing down), there is an obstacle to the outflow of blood, and the hands are less well supplied with blood. Washing the hands often removes the natural fat layer, making them sensitive and vulnerable. All this contributes to the manifestation of dermatitis more often on the hands than on other parts of the body.
Lesions occur on the back of the palms, manifesting characteristic symptoms, which are accompanied by severe pain, itching and burning, crusts form over time, the lesions are very flaky.
What cold dermatitis looks like on the hands, you can see in the photo section.
Cold dermatitis on the legs
The occurrence of cold dermatitis on the legs is quite rare, since the skin in these places is protected by clothing. Often, lesions are localized on the thighs and legs, in the form of scarlet or burgundy spots, accompanied by slight itching. Basically, the symptoms disappear on their own, when warmed up.
You can see the symptoms of cold dermatitis on the legs in the photo section.
Cold dermatitis treatment
Before starting treatment, it is imperative to carry out a diagnosis, since cold dermatitis has similar symptoms with other diseases – allergic urticaria, chickenpox, atopic dermatitis. The doctor uses the following diagnostic methods:
- Dermoscopy is a device for tenfold magnification and study of neoplasms.
- Measurement of the pH level – to exclude a fungal or bacterial infection, and determine what caused the development of dermatitis.
- General analysis of blood and urine.
Additionally, additional examinations can be prescribed – ultrasound, smear, gastroscopy. It is quite difficult to establish a diagnosis on your own, therefore it is recommended to visit a dermatologist, the doctor, based on the tests obtained, will prescribe a treatment regimen, taking into account the characteristics of the patient’s body.
The main treatment is to protect the skin from exposure to low temperatures and complex treatment aimed at:
- Removal of symptoms – often antihistamines (tablets or ointments), eliminate itching, swelling and redness of tissues;
- Retinoids – to heal the resulting cracks, accelerate tissue regeneration and normalize the functionality of dermal cells (gels, creams);
- Vitamin complexes – to raise immunity;
- Prebiotics – to eliminate dysbacteriosis;
- Cosmetics for skin care and protection from negative factors.
Self-prescribing and taking medications is unacceptable, any drugs should be prescribed only by a doctor, this will avoid negative consequences.
Treatment of cold dermatitis with folk remedies
In folk (alternative) medicine, there are many recipes to combat many skin pathologies. They make ointments, tinctures, lotions or decoctions based on herbs or other natural ingredients. Almost all of these remedies are ineffective in relation to cold dermatitis, and sometimes dangerous, especially in relation to the treatment of children. The possibility of using any folk remedy, as an addition to the main drug treatment, must be discussed with the doctor.
Only the attending physician can advise the remedy and the appropriateness of its use.