Ever worn ill-fitting or uncomfortable shoes for few hours and noticed a raised skin later on? Yes! That’s a blister which can happen to anyone. Leaving a blister on its own can lead to an infection. Since it can happen to anyone at least once in a lifetime.
What is Blisters?
A slightly protruded area on the skin containing watery liquid inside is known as a blister. Blister is a result of continuous rubbing or pressure which separates the outer skin and the lower skin with fluid in between. It can be caused by anything like nonabsorbent socks or wet feet.
The outer skin of the blister acts as a protective layer of the wound keeping it away from bacteria or dirt. The sad part is blisters can burst because of pressure or friction and cause a lot of pain. Open blisters are easily infected and need care. Therefore, you should never ignore a blister. Ignoring it can lead to serious skin infections like cellulitis or secondary Impetigo. Still ignoring it might lead to sepsis which is a life-threatening infection.
Blisters can be easily treated by home remedies. However, if they persist consultation of a doctor is important. Remaining cautious is the demand!
Types of blisters:
The first and third type of blister is very similar to each other. Therefore, it is crucial to understand the type of blister you have got so that you can treat it and take precautions in the future accordingly. Here are some common types of skin blisters:
A lot of friction in one place on the skin results in water blisters. Did you ever have an experience of wearing shoes that are smaller than your size? Did you ever notice a blister on your heel or pinky toe? Then that is probably a water blister. This blister contains a clear fluid known as serum. Some signs and symptoms of water blisters are:
- Water blisters are painful especially if you touch it.
- It is tender
- The movement of skin around it gives a burning sensation.
- If the water blister occurs near a joint, it can make movement painful.
If you notice a blister that is dark red in color, then it is most likely to be a blood blister. Blood blisters occur when the damaged blood vessels and tissues make bubble or pouch beneath the skin. Although a blood blister could be very painful but it dries and heals up on its own when left alone. Just like the water blister, the movement of skin around the blood blister gives off a burning sensation.
When the first 2 layers of skin are affected by a second-degree burn, a burn blister occurs. A burn blister is very similar to the water blister except for the fact that since burn blisters are caused by a burn, they tend to be immensely painful. This blister also contains a clear fluid known as serum. This type of blister could remain for a month.
Other blisters are usually a result of medical conditions such as:
- Impetigo blisters
- Fever and cluster blisters
- Atopic eczema blisters
Causes of Blisters:
Since the treatment of blister often depends on the cause, it is important to know the cause of blisters. For some blisters, all that is needed is a home remedy. Here is a list of causes that might help you identify the reason of blister:
- Not wearing the right size of shoes which causes the skin to continuously rub may cause blisters.
- Exposure to freezing temperatures also results in blisters.
- Burns due to chemicals, radiation from sun, friction, electricity or heat cause blisters.
- Another cause of blister may be a spider bite, for example, being bitten by brown recluse spider results in itching and painful blisters.
- When skin gets pinched forcefully, tiny blood vessels get damaged and a blood blister forms. This might happen when your finger might get caught in a door or drawer.
- Working in the garden without gloves.
- Many skin diseases like dermatitis pemphigus, herpetiformis and pemphigoid and cause blisters.
- Some medicines like furosemide (Lasix) and nalidixic acid (NegGram), result in mild blistering skin reactions.
- Some of the infections that result in blisters are:
- Cold sores
- Hand-foot-and-mouth disease
- Bed bugs
Symptoms of Blisters- Are you experiencing Blisters?
Blisters are generally itchy and painful but at times they show now symptoms at all. Symptoms differ according to the cause.
- Burns, allergies and irritation- blisters due to burns or friction tend to be painful. Blisters as a result of eczema cause severe itching, small bumps on skin and redness.
- Skin diseases
- Autoimmune disease results in large blisters
- Dermatitis herpetiformis results in red bumps, itchiness or blisters
- Erythema multiforme results in blisters on the forearms, the palms of the hands, the soles of the feet, and on the mucous membranes in the eyes, mouth, nose and genitals. Other symptoms consist of muscle pain, cough, fever and sore throat.
- Infections- they symptoms vary with the infections like:
- Bullous impetigo– the blister bursts easily and skin becomes red.
- Coxsackievirus— Coxsackievirus A16 may result in a condition commonly known as hand-foot-and-mouth disease. In this condition painful blisters often appear on the soles of feet, on the hands and in the mouth.
- Medications— medicinal reactions differ. Sometimes, skin becomes sensitive to sun exposure and causes sunburn blisters. If the reaction is much severe like TEN, blisters cover the gastrointestinal tract and respiratory passages.
Before you look for a treatment, you might want to know some of the predictions made about signs and symptoms of blisters. Most of the time, blisters are gone in few days or weeks after the cause or infection is cured. However:
- Herpes infection may cause blisters to occur on the same spot like fever blisters on lips. They come back after years, months or weeks when the blisters happened first.
- Pemphigus and pemphigoid are chronic and need a long term therapy.
Treatment and cure for blisters:
Want to know how to treat a blister? Here are some treatments and cure for blisters according to their sizes and nature:
- One of the best ways to treat blisters is leaving it alone especially if they are small. Blisters act as a barrier and protect the underlying skin. Breaking the blisters only make it more prone to infections. It is better to cover it with a bandage and let them heal. The fluid will eventually be reabsorbed and the little bubble will disappear on its own. Just in case the blister breaks, use soap and water to wash it. Later put a bandage on it.
- For painful and large blisters, go to a doctor who will drain it for you. He will also prescribe an antibacterial cream that will protect you from infections.
- Treating blisters due to infections, diseases or eczema differ. Blisters caused by eczema are usually treated using pills or corticosteroid cream. Antiviral medications are used for shingles and Herpes simplex infection.
- Immunosuppressive agents and corticosteroid are used to treat blisters in pemphigus and Pemphigoid.
Home Remedies for blisters:
So what can you do? Here is a list of top 10 some natural and simple home remedy for blisters.
1. Cold Compress
Usage of cold compress on affected areas can provide considerable relief and minimize inflammation to quite an extent. This method calms the burning sensation that you will be experiencing.
- Take a towel and soak it in cold water.
- Squeeze to drain out excessive water.
- Use this towel on the blisters.
- Do this several times.
Note: applying ice directly may make the condition much worse. Secondly, avoid taking but with warm water. Taking a bath with cool water is recommended. It will bring relief from pain.
2. Aloe Vera
Want to know the age old effective remedy for treating minor burn injuries? Yes, Aloe Vera is great for blisters whether they are running blisters or skin blisters as it re-hydrates the burnt skin, quickens the healing and alleviates pain. The Aloe juice in Aloe Vera is highly beneficial.
- Take a fresh Aloe Vera leaf and cut it from the middle to extract the Aloe gel or Aloe juice.
- Use this gel over the blisters.
- Let the skin absorb it and let it get dry.
- Wash it off.
Note: you can use Aloe Vera gel or Aloe water that is there in the market just in case fresh Aloe Vera is not available.
Apple cider vinegar and white vinegar both are equally effective in treating skin blisters because of their anti-inflammatory and antibacterial qualities. It also protects from infection and minimizes inflammation and pain.
- Add some cold water to the vinegar to make it diluted.
- Soak a soft cloth in the diluted solution.
- Rub it gently over the blisters.
- Spraying vinegar directly on the blisters is also a good idea to relieve pain.
- Combine vinegar and honey in equal amount.
- Put a layer of it on the affected area.
- Do this once every day to protect yourself from infection.
Oatmeal is good for treating blisters since it facilitates healing and relaxes the skin.
- Oatmeal bath is very effective for blisters.
- Add 2 cups of powdered oatmeal in a bathtub filled with cool water.
- Immerse your body in it for at least 30 minutes.
- Adding rose petals can make it more effective.
- Take a muslin or cotton cloth and wrap a cup of ground oatmeal.
- Put this in boiling water for some minutes.
- Let it cool.
While soaking the cool bath water, use it as a sponge.
Owing to the healing and antiseptic qualities of turmeric, it helps to reduce inflammation and relieve pain due to blisters.
- Combine yoghurt, barley and turmeric powder to make a thick paste.
- Put it on the areas that are affected with blisters.
- Let it remain on the skin for up to 30 minutes.
- Wash it off with cold water.
- Combine turmeric powder and some water till it makes a paste.
- Apply this paste on the affected areas.
- Let it remain till 10 minutes
- Wash it off with cold water.
Note: Do any of the above remedies at least once in a day till you notice it getting better.
Due to the astringent qualities of raw potatoes, they bring relief to pain, inflammation and soothe the burning skin.
- Wash a raw potato and cut out thin slices.
- Blend it in blender in order to make a paste.
- Apply a layer of this paste on the blisters.
- Let it dry
- Wash it using cold water.
- Do this daily
Note: Applying cucumber slices on the blisters can be equally effective.
Want to know a highly beneficial home remedy for blisters? Yes, it’s tomato juice as it has a great quality of facilitating healing and bringing relief to the continuous burning sensation. Some of the ways to utilize this remedy are:
- Put 2 cups of tomato juice in the bath water.
- Immerse your body in it for at least 10 minutes.
- Combine one-half cup of buttermilk and 1/4th cup of either tomato paste or juice.
- Cover the blisters with it.
- Let it remain for 30 minutes.
- Wash it using cold water.
- Combine crushed ice and one mashed tomato.
- Cover the affected areas with to alleviate pain.
8. Baking Soda
The alkaline nature of baking soda is good for soothing the burning skin. It also contains antiseptic qualities that calm the itchiness that blisters are often accompanied with.
- Combine a cup of water and a teaspoon of baking soda and cover the affected areas with it to bring immediate relief from burning sensation.
- Add 1/4th cup of baking soda in a bath tub filled with tepid water.
- Mix it properly in water.
- Immerse yourself in it for at least 15 minutes.
- Mix baking soda and vinegar to make a paste.
- Apply it on blisters before sleeping
- This heals the blisters faster.
Chamomile is good for providing relief to symptoms of blisters on the skin.
- Mix one tablespoon of almond oil with few drops of chamomile oil.
- Gently rub it on affected areas.
- Do this 2 times a day to soothe the itchiness and alleviate pain.
- Take some chamomile tea bags and put it in icy water.
- Dab the tea bags gently on the blister to get a cooling effect.
10. Lettuce Leaves
- Lettuce fights inflammation and pain caused by blisters.
- Refrigerate lettuce leaves.
- Put the cold leaves on the blisters.
- Repeat it till there are no blisters.
- Take a few lettuce leaves and boil it for 10 minutes.
- Filter out the water and refrigerate it for 2 to 3 hours.
- Use this cold lettuce water on the blisters
- Repeat it several times in a day.
Why not simply prevent blisters before they occur? Here are some helpful tips:
- Protect your hands by wearing gloves when you work in your garden or yard.
- Keep yourself away from plants that cause blistery rashes.
- Do not wear shoes that rub your feet or are too tight. Wear shoes that have enough space to allow your toes to wiggle. Wear insoles, socks and shoes that are specially made in a way that reduces blisters.
- The part of your shoe where it rubs your skin, you can attach moleskin there.
- Take some talcum powder and dust your socks with it before wearing them.
- Do not come in contact with people who have infections that cause blisters like:
1- Bacterial skin infection- impetigo
2- Viral infections- genital herpes infection, shingles, cold sores and chickenpox
3- Mite infection- scabies
- Avoid allergens and irritants that can stimulate eczema like irritant plants such as poison ivy, certain metals in jewellery particularly nickel, hygiene products
- Wash your hands frequently to protect yourself from blisters due to infections.
- Don’t touch cuts, open areas of skin or skin sores that are there on others.
When to see a doctor?
Although blisters are easily treatable and can be treated using home remedies but you should immediately go see a doctor when:
- Blisters occur for a cause unknown to you.
- Blisters occur with symptoms like malaise or fever.
- It is very painful.
- It indicates infection like red streaks around the blisters, too much redness, a lot of pain and swelling in the skin around it or when it oozes pus or blood.
On the whole, most of the blisters are readily treatable at home without any kind of complication. They can be treated in a variety of ways. However, if blisters spread over a larger area then medical attention is required!