I'm a skin doctor – here's 4 ways the cold snap is ruining your skin revealed and when to worry | The Sun

WE all know how the cold snap can hurt the bank account.

Millions have been forced to whack up the heating, despite the looming cost-of-living crisis, as icy temperatures remain across Britain.

Freezing climates can still increase your chances of several deadly conditions that could land you in hospital.

This is because the cold weakens your body making it harder for the immune system to fight diseases and regulate itself.

But according to a skin doctor, the frosty conditions can also damage your skin and leave it at risk to four – sometime serious – conditions.

1. Chilblains

Chilblains are small, itchy swellings on the skin, that usually affect the body's extremities, such as the toes, fingers, heels, ears and nose.

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GP and Anesthecian, Dr Ahmed El Muntasar, said: "Chilblains are caused by the cold causing vasospasms in the blood vessels which reduces the blood supply."

Chilblains can be uncomfortable, but rarely cause any permanent damage, the NHS says on it's website.

They normally heal within a few weeks if further exposure to the cold is avoided.

2. Frostbite

"The fingers, toes, ears or anything that sticks out of your body can be at risk of frostbite as there is a reduced blood supply," Dr Ahmed told The Sun.

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The symptoms of frostbite usually begin with the affected parts feeling cold and painful.

If frostbite is left to progress, the affected tissue can die and will need to be amputated to prevent infection, the NHS explains on it's website.

3. Infection

The cold weather can often leave skin dry.

"Once the skin is the skin is dehydrated, it's more likely to get inflamed and it's more likely to get infected because you
create cracks in the top layer of the skin," the expert said.

People with eczema are particularly at risk to infection as their skin is naturally more dry and prone to cracking.

4. Panniculitis

Cold panniculitis – which appears as enlarged, red and painful nodules on the skin – develops between 12 to 72 hours after cold exposure.

Dr Ahmed said: "It is a very rare condition, it doesn't occur very often.

"It is usually due to fat deposition changes in children, since children have excess water and fat as babies which changes as time goes on as our muscles develop."

It usually resolves on its own by avoiding cold exposure and direct contact with frozen products, the NHS says.

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When to see a doctor

"If you have any worries about your skin, just go to your GP book an appointment or do an E consult where you can send some photos," the expert said.

"If your skin starts becoming visibly dry, itchy, painful
or looks infected definitely need to be seen by a GP," he added.

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