Blisters are fluid-filled sacs on the surface of the skin that form as a result of friction or burns. Blisters are most common on the feet and hands. Although most blisters heal on their own without needing treatment, larger, sore blisters may require less treatment. Fortunately, there are many home remedies for treating large blisters, as well as ways to prevent blisters from forming again in the future. Begin reading Step 1 for treatments that can be done at home, skip to Method 2 for advice on effective home remedies, and read Method 3 to learn how to prevent blisters from forming.
Part 1 of 3: Healing Blisters
Step 1. Keep the blister intact if it doesn't hurt
Most blisters heal on their own without needing to be drained. The intact skin covering the blister provides a protective layer that helps prevent infection. After 2 days, the body reabsorbs the fluid in the blister, namely serum, so that the blister heals and disappears. If the blisters are not painful, this process is the best option because there is little risk of infection.
- Do not bandage any blisters that appear on your hands or in areas that won't rub against them to expose them to air, as exposure to air helps the blister heal. If blisters appear on the feet, cover them with gauze or moleskin (a type of thick cotton cloth) to protect the blisters while allowing air circulation.
- If the blister bursts on its own, allow the fluid to drain out and clean the area of the blister well, then cover it with a dry, sterile bandage until it heals to prevent infection.
Step 2. Drain the blister if it hurts
Although doctors recommend that the blisters do not burst as much as possible, in some cases, they do need to be drained, especially if they are very pressing or painful. For example, a runner may have to drain a large blister on the sole of the foot if he is competing in the near future. If the blisters need to be drained, proper procedures must be followed to prevent infection.
Step 3. Clean the blister area with soap and water
The first step to draining a blister is to clean the skin on and around the blister with soap and warm water. Any type of soap can be used, although antibacterial soap is the best choice. This step is done to wash away sweat and dirt before the blisters are drained.
Step 4. Sterilize the needle
Prepare a clean sharp needle. Sterilize needles by one of the following methods: wipe with rubbing alcohol; flush with boiling water; burn on a flame until smoldering (orange).
Step 5. Puncture the blister
Use a sterilized needle to puncture the blister at several points on the edge of the blister. Gently press the blister with gauze or a clean tissue to allow the fluid to drain out. Do not peel off the skin covering the blister, as this can help prevent infection.
Step 6. Apply an antibacterial ointment
Once all the fluid has been drained, apply an antibacterial ointment or cream to the blister. Any brand of antibacterial ointment/cream that can be purchased without a prescription, such as neosporin, polymyxin B, or bacitracin, can be used. Antibacterial ointment/cream is used to kill all bacteria in the area of the blister to prevent infection. In addition, the ointment/cream is also applied to prevent the bandage from sticking to the hanging skin covering the blister.
Step 7. Cover the blister loosely with a bandage or gauze
After applying the antibacterial ointment/cream, cover the drained blister with gauze or gel plaster. This method prevents dirt and bacteria from entering the blister. In addition, if the blister is on the leg, dressing the blister is also done so that you can walk or run more comfortably. Replace the gauze/gel plaster with a new one every day, especially if it is wet or dirty.
Step 8. Cut off the dead skin, then bandage the blister again
After 2-3 days, remove the bandage and cut off the dead skin that hangs down with sterilized scissors. However, do not try to peel off the skin that is still attached. Clean the blister area, apply an antibacterial ointment/cream, then cover it with a clean bandage. The blisters usually heal completely within 3-7 days.
Step 9. Consult a doctor if signs of infection occur
In some cases, the blisters remain infected despite the best precautions. If so, consult a doctor immediately. Your doctor may prescribe strong oral/topical antibiotics to treat the infection. Signs of infection include red and swollen skin around the blisters, accumulation of pus, red streaks on the skin, and fever.
Part 2 of 3: Utilizing Home Remedies
Step 1. Apply tea tree oil
Tea tree oil is a natural essential oil that has antibacterial properties. In addition, tea tree oil also contains astringents that can help dry out blisters. Apply tea tree oil with a cotton swab to the blister, which has been drained or punctured, once daily, then wrap it with a clean bandage.
Step 2. Apply apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is a traditional home remedy that is often used to treat a variety of minor ailments, such as blisters. Apple cider vinegar has antibacterial properties so it can be used to prevent infection. Concentrated apple cider vinegar causes pain. So, dilute apple cider vinegar with water to halve its concentration before applying it to the blisters with a cotton swab.
Step 3. Apply aloe vera sap
Aloe vera plant sap contains ingredients that can relieve and heal wounds. Aloe vera sap is a natural anti-inflammatory and moisturizing agent, making it effective for burn-related blisters. Split the aloe vera leaf and take the sap. Apply the sap to blisters, especially drained blisters, to speed up the healing process.
Step 4. Soak the blisters with green tea
Green tea is a natural anti-inflammatory. Soaking the blisters in a bowl or basin of cold green tea helps relieve swelling and inflammation of the blisters.
Step 5. Apply vitamin E
Vitamin E speeds up the healing process of blisters and prevents the formation of scar tissue. Vitamin E can be purchased at pharmacies in the form of oil or cream. Apply a small amount of vitamin E to the blisters daily to help the healing process.
Step 6. Use a chamomile compress
Chamomile can relieve pain from large blisters. Brew chamomile for 5-6 minutes to make 240 ml of strong chamomile tea. Once it's cooled down a bit, dip a clean washcloth in the tea, squeeze it out and apply it to the blister for 10 minutes or until the pain goes away.
Step 7. Soak the blister with Epsom salt
Epsom salt can help dry up blisters that haven't burst. Dissolve the Epsom salts in a hot bath and soak the blisters. However, be careful, once the blisters burst, the Epsom salt solution causes pain.
Part 3 of 3: Preventing Blisters
Step 1. Wear shoes with the right size
Blisters are often caused by friction from wearing ill-fitting shoes. If the shoe is constantly rubbing against the skin of the foot, the outer layer of the skin separates from the layer underneath, causing blisters to form. Prevent this by wearing high-quality shoes that allow air circulation and are the right size.
If you are a runner, buy shoes at a sports store where professionals can help choose the shoes that are the best fit for you
Step 2. Put on the right socks
Socks are very important to prevent blisters because they minimize friction and moisture (which makes it easier for blisters to form). Choose nylon socks over cotton because nylon allows more air circulation. Wicking socks, which are socks made from a wool blend, can also be used because they absorb moisture from the feet.
There are also special socks for runners that have an extra layer in the areas most prone to blisters
Step 3. Use a product that minimizes friction
Similar products are available in various brands and can be purchased without a prescription. Apply the product to your feet before walking or running to reduce friction and moisture. Use foot powder, sprinkled into socks before wearing, to keep feet dry. Creams that prevent socks and shoes from rubbing against the skin of the feet can also be used.
Step 4. Put on gloves
Blisters often form on the hands as a result of physical activity, such as using tools, shovels, or gardening tools. Prevent the formation of blisters on the hands by wearing protective gloves when doing similar activities.
Step 5. Use sunscreen
Blisters easily form on skin that has been burned by sunburn. So, you should prevent sunburn by using a sunscreen that has a high SPF value and wearing long, thin sleeves. If you have sunburned skin, prevent blisters from forming by applying moisturizer, calamine lotion, and plenty of after-sun.
Step 6. Be careful when handling hot objects and chemicals
Blisters can form as a result of sores caused by hot water, steam, hot air, or chemicals. Use proper protective equipment when handling hot objects, such as kettles, stoves, and chemicals (such as bleach).
- Don't be tempted to scratch or peel the skin covering the blister, as this can exacerbate irritation.
- Blisters should only be touched with a sterilized tool. Otherwise, the blisters can become infected with germs and foreign bacteria.
- If blisters appear, avoid sun exposure so they don't get worse from overheating.
- Blisters should not be bandaged for good air circulation.
- If bubbles appear, apply an antifungal cream (eg Lotrimin) to dry.
- Do not break the blisters.
- If the blister does need to be ruptured, a threaded needle can be inserted into the blister. Let the thread run inside the blister (sticking out through the two holes). This method makes the fluid always come out so that the wound remains dry. Remove the threads once the blister has almost healed. Do not forget to sterilize needles and threads before use.
- Covering the blistered foot can relieve the pain.
- Apply acne cream to the blister and cover it with a bandage.
- Apply an acne cream, such as Asepxia. While it may sound strange, acne creams can help heal blisters.
- Do not scratch, rub, or peel off the blisters as this can lead to infection.
- If the discharge from the blisters is not clear, consult a doctor immediately. Very severe infection can occur in small blisters.
- Do not apply vitamin E to the wound until the wound has healed. Vitamin E stimulates the production of collagen, which is great for removing scar tissue, but actually hinders the healing process.
- Blisters from burns are more prone to infection.
- Never pop a blood-filled blister. Consult a doctor.
- How to Treat Blisters on Feet
- How to Heal Blisters
- How to treat skin blisters
- How to get rid of dry skin on feet with Epsom salt