Excessive friction and moist skin accumulates clear fluid in a pocket between the layers of the skin, forming a blister. Sometimes a small vessel in the area is damaged and the fluid becomes tinged with blood. Such blisters are usually found on hands and feet. Other reasons for blisters include sunburn and other burns, eczema and various other skin conditions.
These blisters may be painful, they may be itchy and may even swell sometimes, however, the best way to treat them is by not interfering with the natural healing process. They are less likely to become infected if you leave the natural covering of skin intact and give the area time to form new skin under its protective cushion of fluid.
These tips would help you to reduce the itching and swelling, and relieve the pain. They will also help you to speed up the healing.
- It is necessary to leave the blister as it is, intact. Let it heal on its own. Keep it clean with soap and water. If you want, you can dab some petroleum jelly on it to make it soft and minimise further friction on the skin.
- Whether to cover the blister or not depends upon the site. If you think that it may get knocked out, it is important to cover it with an adhesive plaster and change it at least once a day. If it is not likely to get knocked and burst open, it’s best to leave it open to the air.
- Moleskin or gauge piece can be used for protecting the blister. Leave it for two days and remove carefully. Make sure the fragile skin does not come out.
- Expose the affected area to the air during the night to quicken the healing process. However, if the blister is in a vulnerable area, and if you feel that it may rub on the bed-cover, keep it covered.
- Calendula cream is considered to be a great soothing wound healer. Apply the cream on the wound and cover it with an adhesive tape or gauze piece to keep the affected area free from infection.
- You can even use aloe vera gel as an alternative to calendula cream. But, make sure you use the pure extract from the aloe vera leaf, rather than the gel available in the market. Cut the leaf and squeeze the gel and apply it directly on the blister. Besides having a cooling property, it is also excellent for skin problems.
- To relieve the pain, itching and swelling caused by the blister, soak a napkin in cold water, squeeze the extra water and lay it over the blister.
- There are chances that the blister may pop out by accident. In such a situation, wash it with soap and water. Apply a healing cream or gel and cover it with clean dressing. Change the dressing four to five times a day and treat the raw area with a drop or two of tea-tree oil. The tea-tree oil will kill the bacteria and will also prevent an infection from developing further.
- After a blister breaks, apply a healing cream, pawpaw ointment or chickweed cream.
- It is very important to practise the right way of draining the fluid from the blister. Do not drain it unless it becomes very necessary or the pain gets intolerable.
- Sterilise a needle; use a pair of tweezers to hold the needle over a naked flame for few seconds until it glows red. Let it cool. Clean the blister with surgical spirit or an antiseptic cleanser like Betadine. Open a sterilize gauze piece and put it on the blister. Pierce the edge of the blister by slowly sliding the needle. Gently squeeze the liquid out by pressing down on the gauze piece. Make sure you don’t tear or remove that top layer of skin holding the fluid in as it’s protecting an extremely sensitive circle of skin beneath.
- Apply an antiseptic cream or liquid and cover it with a clean dressing. Change the dressing twice a day.
- In case the blister refills, you may repeat the entire process. Apply a mixture of Vitamin E and calendula cream to quickly heal your damaged skin.
- Blisters can be easily prevented by practising few measures. Make sure new shoes are roomy in the toe area. When you are standing up, approximately there should be a space of about thumb width between your toe and shoe.
- If you are going for long walks or trekking, try to wear two pairs of socks to reduce friction. The inner pair should be of a thin fabric that draws out sweat.
- Dry feet are less likely to develop blisters. Use an antiperspirant so that it will keep the skin of your feet dry.
- Treat your feet with daily powdering. If you have a tendency of sweating profusely, apply baby powder on your feet before putting on socks. Besides causing less friction, powder will soak the sweat from the skin, reducing the chances of friction and hence, blisters.
- Cover blister prone spots or areas with a lubricant like petroleum jelly before you go for a long walk or jogging.
In normal cases, these remedies will surely help you to heal the blister and soothe the skin and affected area. However, if the blister is very large and covers more than 5 cm of area of your skin, there is a need to see your doctor. If you suffer more pain by the day, increase in body temperature, redness that extends beyond borders of the blister or when the fluid coming out of the blister is not watery but thick or has unpleasant smell, these are serious symptoms and medical guidance is advisable. Blister caused by diseases like chickenpox, eczema and impetigo may also require medical care.