Blisters are usually formed due to friction on the skin which causes fluid to accumulate under the rubbed skin. To prevent infection and the formation of scar tissue, many doctors and dermatologists recommend not popping the blisters. However, if you really want to pop the blister, take the following steps to be safe.
Part 1 of 3: Making a Decision
Step 1. Learn the doctor's recommendations
Doctors usually don't recommend popping the blisters because they technically cover the area of damaged skin underneath and cover the area so that it remains sterile. If the blister is cracked, the wound becomes open and prone to infection.
Step 2. Consider the conditions
Consider whether the blister needs to be cracked under certain conditions.
- Where are the blisters located? Blisters on the feet are generally safer to crack than blisters or cold sores inside the mouth or lips. Blisters or cold sores in the mouth should consult a doctor.
- Are the blisters infected? If yellowish pus comes out, the blister is likely infected and needs to be consulted by a doctor.
- Does the blister impede activity, for example, causing you difficulty walking? If it is and the blister can be safely cracked, this may be a good time to pop the blister.
Step 3. Don't pop blisters that form from sunburn or burns
Blisters caused by sunburn are second-degree burns. Second-degree burns are quite severe injuries and should be consulted by a doctor. Blisters from sunburn should not be cracked because they protect the skin underneath during the regeneration process. Consult a doctor and protect the skin from sun exposure during the healing period.
Second-degree burns, i.e. those that cause blisters, need to be treated with care using a burn cream that can only be purchased with a prescription. Talk to your doctor for a prescription for a burn cream and learn how to treat sunburn
Step 4. Don't pop the blood blister
Blood blisters, or sometimes also called black heels/palms, are black/purple/reddish patches under the skin due to damage to blood vessels under the epidermis (in the dermis layer of the skin). Friction on prominent bony parts of the body, such as the back of the heel, causes blood vessels to tear and blood to flow into the skin tissue.
Blood blisters are an indication of damage to the deeper layers of the skin. Blood blisters usually heal on their own. However, blood blisters are sometimes mistaken for melanoma. So, if you are unsure, consult a doctor
Part 2 of 3: Getting Ready
Step 1. Wash your hands
Wash your hands with warm water and soap. Soap your hands for 20 seconds, then rinse.
Wash your hands with plain, unscented soap to prevent chemicals from aggravating the irritation of the blisters. In addition, washing your hands with soap also aims to kill bacteria so they don't transfer from your hands to damaged skin after the blisters are cracked
Step 2. Clean the blister using soap and water, rubbing alcohol, or an antiseptic
- Antiseptics, for example "Betadine", can be purchased at pharmacies. However, use "Betadine" with caution as this product leaves a temporary stain on the skin, clothes, and other objects it touches.
- Carefully pour "Betadine" or rubbing alcohol on the blister and surrounding area. Alternatively, the blisters can also be cleaned using plain, unscented soap and water. Rub the soap with both hands, wipe the blister and the area around it carefully so that it doesn't burst, then rinse thoroughly.
Step 3. Provide a needle or scalpel
Disposable sterile scalpels or needles, which can be purchased at pharmacies and medical supply stores, are the best option.
- If using a regular sewing needle, sterilize it first with rubbing alcohol.
- Do not sterilize needles or scalpels with fire as this method of sterilization causes the release of carbon particles which can exacerbate irritation and increase the risk of infection.
Part 3 of 3: Cracking the Blister
Step 1. Puncture the sides of the blister
Puncture the blister in two or three locations that allow the force of gravity to help the fluid inside the blister drain out. Puncture the blisters, near the base of the blisters, on each side.
Do not use the thread-based blister drainage method, which involves threading the blisters with a needle, as this increases the risk of infection
Step 2. Drainage of the blister
Once punctured, the blister will drain on its own due to the force of gravity. Alternatively, you can also gently press the top of the blister to allow the fluid to drain out through the puncture holes near the base of the blister.
Even if you need to drain the blister, you shouldn't tear it or press it too hard, as doing so can injure the layer of skin beneath the blister
Step 3. Do not peel the skin
Exfoliating dead skin that used to form blisters irritates the healthy skin around the area and causes the wound to open up, increasing the chance of infection. Wash the blister with water and soap or an antiseptic, then cover it with a bandage.
Step 4. Apply an antibiotic ointment and cover it with a bandage
This will help reduce pressure on the blister and prevent bacteria from entering the wound.
Every day, reapply the antibiotic ointment and replace the bandage with a new one until the skin heals completely, which may take about a week
Step 5. Routinely soak the affected area of the body, foot, or hand in Epsom salt solution after the blister has burst
Epsom salts help remove more fluid from the blisters. Mix 120g of Epsom salt in warm water, then soak the blister for 20 minutes, once a day, for a few days.
Step 6. Watch for signs of infection
Pus, redness, swelling, or pain that gets worse may be symptoms of an infection, which needs to be consulted by a doctor and treated with antibiotics.
- Redness and swelling around the blister that gets worse may be a sign of infection. Fever (body temperature over 37 degrees Celsius) is also a symptom of infection. If the surrounding area is more painful than the blister itself and is accompanied by any of the above symptoms, you may have an infection.
- Pus is a yellowish fluid that oozes from an infected wound. If the blisters, whether ruptured or not, produce a yellowish discharge, consult a doctor for possible infection.
Step 7. Prevent blister formation
Reduce pressure on prominent bony parts of the body. If necessary, use donut tape. If you run frequently, buy the right shoes and socks to reduce friction and moisture.
When doing rowing, wear gloves specifically for water sports or use a tape to reduce friction between the handle of the paddle and your hand
In some cases, the blisters result from certain medical conditions, such as pemphigus, pemphigoid, or an infection, such as bullous impetigo. If the blisters appear for no apparent reason, are numerous, or recur frequently, consult a doctor
- Sterilize everything (hands, needles, and blisters and the area around them) to prevent infection.
- Blister drainage using a sterile needle can also be performed by a medical professional (nurse, doctor, or dermatologist). Large blisters should be drained by a medical professional.