What Is Frostbite and What Causes It?

Definition

Frostbite is an injury caused by freezing of the skin and underlying tissues. First your skin becomes very cold and red, then numb, hard and pale. Frostbite is most common on the fingers, toes, nose, ears, cheeks and chin.

Causes

The most common cause of frostbite is exposure to cold-weather conditions. It can also be caused by direct contact with ice, freezing metals or very cold liquids.

Specific conditions that cause frostbite include:

  • Wearing clothing that isn’t suitable to protect against cold, windy or wet weather.
  • Staying out in the cold and wind too long.
  • Touching materials such as ice, cold packs or frozen metal.
* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.