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Frostbite, sometimes referred to as frostnip, is a skin care problem often overshadowed by other environmental related skin problems, namely sunburns and other sun damage. However, many parts of the world do experience cold or very cold temperatures. For those individuals that constantly have to deal with freezing temperatures or even those that have to deal with below zero temperatures on a seasonal basis, frost bite can be a serious skincare and health issue.

The first question that comes to mind, especially for those in warmer climates, is – What is frostnip? Frost bite can be simply explained as tissue that has frozen. The frozen tissue is usually the upper layer of skin, but it can extend deeper in to the skin matrix and deeper into the body. If a person experiences a frost bite problem, proper and quick identification and effective and timely treatments are a must in order to avoid complications or permanent damage to the skin and body tissues.

This page provides links to additional information on this skin care problem so that you have all you need to deal with a frozen skin issue.

Frostbite Causes

First of all, it is important to know what the causes are for frost bite.

The basic cause of frostbite can be easily explained as overexposure of the skin to freezing temperatures or extreme cold. This can be as a result of the environmental conditions or can be as a result of workplace accidents for those individuals that use or are regularly exposed to liquefied gases such as liquid nitrogen.

frostbite on the skin

The amount of skin exposure time required to cause frostbite varies from person to person and it also depends on the actual temperature that the skin is exposed to, the presence of wind or wind chill, the amount of clothing worn, the dampness or wetness of the clothing, whether there was any alcohol consumption, previous incidences of frost bite, and several other factors.

The areas of the body that normally are affected the most often by frostbite include the face (nose, cheeks, forehead, and ears), hands (especially fingers), and feet (usually the toes).

The causes of this skin problem can be linked to pre-existing health conditions which can make individuals more susceptible to frostbite. Peripheral neuropathy and diabetes are two such conditions. Poor circulation is another. However, poor circulation is not necessarily only because of an existing medical condition. Clothing or boots that are too tight can restrict blood circulation and make skin tissue more susceptible. The use of certain medications such as beta blockers will also make individuals more vulnerable to frost bite. People that fall into these categories should take extra precautions when exposing their skin to freezing cold temperatures.

Within the body, what causes frost bite to occur? When the body is exposed to cold temperatures the blood vessels on the extremities naturally constrict in order to preserve body temperature. Less blood flow to the extremities means less blood cooling and more heat retained in the body. This is a common body defense system when the body temperature is getting too low. Unfortunately, the reduced blood flow caused by this defense mechanism is one of the causes because it leads to poor warming of skin tissue and therefore, a risk of skin freezing. This is one reason why frostbite has a greater likelihood of affecting skin further away from the heart. Also, areas further away from the heart are more likely to be less well protected from the cold.

Symptoms and Treatments

Next proper identification is important as well and this can be achieved by examining the characteristic signs or symptoms of frost bite or frost bite pictures. If someone has this skin problem, then a treatment is required. If the extent of the problem is minor, then some home remedies may be all that is required. However, if the condition is advanced then more extensive medical treatments administered by a physician or emergency department in a hospital should be pursued. Of course, as for many other health problems, the best treatment is prevention and the frostnip prevention tips page provides some simple suggestions to avoid getting frostnip.

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