Dermatology/Skin cold exposure


Can you please tell me what a "normal" cold response for the skin of people with very fair sensitive skin?

In other words, when exposed to cool temperatures and the extremities start to feel a bit cold, should the colour of the skin remain the same?
For example, during room temperature my hands are fair/pink and the fingertips are slightly redder than the rest of my hands. What is a normal response to cold in my case.

I notice when my Son, and myself are in the cold our finger tips, cheeks and sometimes nose get red. And when we warm up they go back to normal. I'm not concerned, just curious. Is it normal for the skin to turn red in response to cool temperatures?

You could have the beginning of cold urticaria.

Cold urticaria signs and symptoms include:

Temporary reddish, itchy welts (hives) on the area of skin that was exposed to cold
A worsening of the reaction as the skin warms
Swelling of hands when holding cold objects
Swelling of lips and throat when consuming cold food or drink
Severe reactions may include:

A whole-body response (anaphylaxis), which can cause fainting, a racing heart, swelling of limbs or torso, and shock
Swelling of the tongue and throat, which can make it difficult to breathe
Cold urticaria symptoms begin soon after the skin is exposed to a sudden drop in air temperature or to cold water. The majority of cold urticaria reactions occur when skin is exposed to temperatures lower than 39 F (4 C). But some people can have reactions to warmer temperatures. Damp and windy conditions may make cold urticaria more likely.

The worst reactions generally occur with full skin exposure, such as swimming in cold water. Such a reaction could lead to loss of consciousness and drowning.

In some people, cold urticaria goes away on its own after weeks or months. In others, it lasts longer.

It is obvious that your response to cold is not normal.


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Michael S. Fisher, <B>Ph.D., M.D.</B>


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