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Doctor insights on: Does Frostbite Permanently Discolor The Skin

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Does frostbite permanently discolor the skin?

Does frostbite permanently discolor the skin?

It may discolor skin: Frostbite, like burns, comes in degrees. A simple first degree may not have any lingering effect, but the deeper degrees can cause a permanent discoloration of the skin due to underlying tissue necrosis. Not only is the dermis damaged, but also the nerves around blood vessels may be damaged, meaning that the vessels do not respond to temperature changes normally and that can cause color changes. ...Read more

Dr. Kristin Cox
157 Doctors shared insights

Frostbite (Definition)

A condition that occurs upon exposure to cold and is graded just like a burn. First degree is like a sunburn while second degree sees blistering and third degree is full thickness with loss of viability of the skin. Frostbite can be serious so it is best to ...Read more


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When does frostbite turn skin black?

When does frostbite turn skin black?

Frostbite: Turns black for deeper more severe injuries. Mild frostbite may not show any change but feel different or numb. Redness or blistering represents more injury. Even Deeper frostbite runs black at least 48 hours after injury. It may blister first and then turn black. With a black area, debridement may be needed but often waiting 1-3 months unless infected is recommended to decide/ amputation needed ...Read more

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Why does frostbite make skin turn black?

Why does frostbite make skin turn black?

Black Skin: Extreme cold is directly toxic to the skin cells and the blood nourishing the cells. The skin dies and dead skin is black. ...Read more

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Is there something that I could do to help my skin recover after frostbite?

Is there something that I could do to help my skin recover after frostbite?

Clean and dry: Small areas of frostbite are considered to "auto amputate" meaning the dead portion of skin will fall off when healing has occurred beneath it. If the area starts to weep or develops an odor, you need a consultation immediately. If you're asking about long-term, there will be permanent changes in the sensitivity and vulnerability of the skin. ...Read more

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Does your skin temperature really have to be below freezing to get frostbite?

Does your skin temperature really have to be below freezing to get frostbite?

Frostbite: More a function of exposure time. 1. Cold Skin (fingers, toes, nose. Ears) followed by numbness, Change in skin color to grey or blue). ...Read more

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Does your skin really have too reach a below freezing temperature in order to get frostbite?

Does your skin really have too reach a below freezing temperature in order to get frostbite?

JackFrostNippin'Away: Well that's the common idea but actually it doesn't have to freeze, just get cold enough for long enough that the blood vessels constrict and shut down oxygen to the skin cells, which then get even colder and then probably freeze and if not that get pretty darned dysfunctional. The first part is usually called "frost nip" which can then quickly turn into frost bite, often if it's so cold you're numb ...Read more

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Is it possible, if placed on the skin for a prolonged period of time, to get frostbite from snow?

Is it possible, if placed on the skin for a prolonged period of time, to get frostbite from snow?

Yes: Frostbite can occur w/ exposure to very cold temperatures (esp. W/ wind) and snow in as little as 3-5 minutes... Your question is somewhat confusing, however, w/ your reference to isolated snow exposure. See your physician immediately or go to er if you think you are suffering from frostbite. .. ...Read more

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What are the usualy symptoms of frostbite on your exposed skin or hands?

What are the usualy symptoms of frostbite on your exposed skin or hands?

Itching, pain...: ...And then the skin develops white, red, and yellow patches and becomes numb. In more severe cases blisters develop 1–2 days later, then become hard and blackened (but usually appear worse than they are). If the area freezes further, deep frostbite occurs, causing damage to muscles, tendons, blood vessels, and nerves. That is a serious situation, sometimes resulting in loss of fingers or toes. ...Read more

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Can a cold gel pack cause frostbite and leave blisters on a child's skin?

Can a cold gel pack cause frostbite and leave blisters on a child's skin?

YES: Very cold ice packs can freeze the underlyng skin if left on too long. Most times 7-10 minutes is long enough to get the desired effect. (decrease the swelling). ...Read more

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The area looks practically normal but the edges are sore and the skin in the center is numb. Is this a kind of mild frostbite?

The area looks practically normal but the edges are sore and the skin in the center is numb. Is this a kind of mild frostbite?

Frostbite can have: Blister or red or can turn black. In all it is a thermal injury much like a burn with tissue destruction and the deeper the extent of the frostbite, the deeper the injury (much like a burn) the more destruction there is. Swelling and reddened skin is rather mild, followed by blistering, and then on to loss of circuation at deeper and deeper levels. If u have a mild case do not re-expose to cold ...Read more

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Is pain and tissue damage from frostbite in foot permanent if skin never blistered or turned black? It's been hard to walk for about 3 weeks though.

Is pain and tissue damage from frostbite in foot permanent if skin never blistered or turned black? It's been hard to walk for about 3 weeks though.

Maybe, maybe not.: Sensory problems after frostbite can be permanent, but it depends on the degree of frostbite and the treatment. Please see an expert in cold injuries, a foot specialist (ortho or podiatrist) to see if any further evaluation and treatment it needed. Some people who still have symptoms at 4 months, have a good chance of having permanent changes. But it varies, others can improve over time. ...Read more

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Do I have frostbite, frostnip, or wind burn. Please help? After 18 hours, I got a thin layer of dry skin pealing, but no redness or loss of sensitivit

Do I have frostbite, frostnip, or wind burn. Please help? After 18 hours, I got a thin layer of dry skin pealing, but no redness or loss of sensitivit

Superficial: It sounds superficial, as you would expect from a sunburn. This can occur due to winter temperatures as well. It is generally self limited and requires no treatment. If it does start to hurt, aloe vera or a similar product would help. ...Read more

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During induced hypothermia with ice packs for patients like with MI, how do they not suffer from frost bite due to the direct cold on their skin?

Not cold enough: And not left in contact long enough. Anyway, frostbite is preferable to the alternative when this therapy is considered necessary! ...Read more

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Its harsh winter here in kashmir and I have got severe frost bite over my toes. They are swelled & got red. Itchy & peeled off skin while scrubbing.

Its harsh winter here in kashmir and I have got severe frost bite over my toes. They are swelled & got red. Itchy & peeled off skin while scrubbing.

Don't scrub!: Most important is to do your best to not get another cold injury to toes, or will be severe (=possible amputation). Keep them clean and dry, padding (/gauze) between toes with change whenever it gets wet or dirty. Keep warm ; good luck! ...Read more

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Started out as "dead skin" on heel, thought it was frostnip from cold, didn't hurt. Months later still there. Little "holes" peeling. Walking hurts.

Started out as "dead skin" on heel, thought it was frostnip from cold, didn't hurt. Months later still there. Little "holes" peeling. Walking hurts.

Could be many: Things, I'd see a podiatrist or dermatologist. Could be anything from a fungus to psoriasis to pityriasis rubra Pilaris. Witih out seeing it hard to confirm a diagnosis. ...Read more

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Does frostbite heal?

Depends: Just like there are different degrees of burns, so too there are different degrees of frostbite. The worst typre results in dry gangrene. ...Read more

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How do I know if I have frostbite?

See below: Pain, burning, change in skin color, peeling of skin.
Can depend on degree of frostbite.
See a doctor if concerned ...Read more

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What do you recommend for frostbite?

What do you recommend for frostbite?

Rewarming: Initial treatment of frostbite includes rapid rewarming of the affected area. This can be achieved with soaks in warm water. I would recommend immediate medical evaluation. ...Read more

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Can you get frostbite from eating popsicles?

Unlikely: At or below 32 °f, blood vessels close to the skin constrict. Prolonged lack of blood eventually leads to freezing and death of skin. "frostnip" or first degree frostbite only affects the surface of the skin. If freezing continues, second degree frostbite can occur. However, it is unlikely that one would continue holding a popsicle long enough for any real damage to occur. (one would hope!). ...Read more

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How cold would it have to be to get frostbite?

Exposure how long?: It is a factor of temperature and duration of exposure. 10 below 0 for a few minutes and you could be in trouble. If it is 28 degrees you could be out for some time without worrying. ...Read more

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Can handling frozen foods cause frostbite?

Can handling frozen foods cause frostbite?

Varies on severity: Of compromise of the blood supply. Individuals with vaso-occlusive disease such as diabetes may be prone to more extensive disease and complications. However brief contact is unlikely to cause frostbite. ...Read more

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What are the signs of frostbite on your neck?

Compromised skin: Initially manifested by white or pale skin followed by possible redness with blistering. Gentle re-warming is usually indicated. ...Read more

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How long does the numbness from frostbite last?

How long does the numbness from frostbite last?

Can be permanent: Another form of cold thermal injury known as chillblains can also result in permanent nerve injury. ...Read more

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Can you die from frostbite if you don't get an amputation?

Can you die from frostbite if you don't get an amputation?

Yes: Cold exposure that's severe enough to cause frostbite can also cause hypothermia. When your body temperature drops, your heart, nervous system and other organs don't work correctly. Left untreated, hypothermia eventually leads to complete failure of your heart and respiratory system and to death. ...Read more