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How To Pop a Blister

Your blister is packed with fluid and surrounded by a thin, but tough layer of skin. When you puncture the blister’s outer covering, it releases pressure and lets fluid drain out so your body can heal itself.

Developing a blister is usually no more than an annoyance; but if you work or play hard enough–and long enough–it can be more serious.

What is Blister?

A blister is an irritating skin disease characterized by the presence of fluid in between layers of skin. They develop as a result of something rubbing repeatedly against your skin, such as ill-fitting shoes. These fluid-filled bubbles are annoying, but they’re simple to treat at home, and often painless.

Blisters are the result of friction, which causes your skin to tear. Some blisters happen more easily than others, but sometimes it’s hard to avoid them–for example, when you slip while running on a wet track or hike in wet sneakers. But with some basic information about what treatments work best, you can treat your blister and prevent it from getting worse.

What is the cause of blisters?

Blisters can occur from a variety of causes, including some diseases. The most frequent types of blisters include the following:

Blood blisters

Blood blisters are usually the result of an injury. They often form on your foot or fingers after you bang them up against something.

Friction blisters

These blisters will almost certainly show up if you’re hiking, running, doing cross country skiing, or playing sports in ill-fitting shoes. They can also be caused by skin rubbing against skin.

Heat blisters

These blisters can occur when you spend too much time in the sun or walk barefoot on hot sand, pavement, or grills. The fluid inside is usually clear and doesn’t hurt.

Infected Blisters

In rare cases, walking around with an infected blister can lead to a bacterial infection that spreads through your body.

What To Do When You Have a Blister

Blisters usually form between the uppermost layers of your skin and a lower layer, like your basement. If you don’t take care of them properly, they can get worse and become infected. So it’s important to know how to treat blisters properly:

Don’t puncture them

Blisters are there to protect you, so don’t poke at them with a needle or try to cut them open. This increases the risk of infection and can cause scarring on your foot.

Don’t pop it

Poking or cutting into blisters also makes it easier for bacteria to get inside your skin–which could lead to an infection.

Don’t put sunscreen on the blister

While it may seem like a good idea to get rid of your blemish, applying sunscreen to your blisters can lead to burns.

Don’t pop them with your teeth:

It seems like you’ve got nothing to lose, but popping a blister “the old-fashioned way” can damage the skin around it and increase the risk of infection.

How To Treat Them

The best way to treat blisters is to leave them alone. Treatments that interfere with the natural blister-forming process may cause more harm than good. But there are things you can apply to a blister to help it heal:

Warm water

After a long day on your feet, submerging your heels in warm water for 10 minutes or so can make them feel better. Just avoid letting the water get hot–that won’t help and could even cause burns.

Antibiotic ointment

Applying some antibiotic ointment to your blister can help prevent infection. But if the skin around it gets red or swollen, you should stop using it.

Wicking bandages

Wicking bandages are specially designed to wick moisture away from your skin and into the fabric of your bandage. These are the best way to protect your blister while it heals.

Leaving it alone

If you don’t have any of these supplies on hand, just leave your blisters alone and let them heal naturally. If they break open, clean them with soap and water once or twice a day until they’re fully healed.

When To See A Doctor

Blisters can be the most annoying thing in the world, but using the proper treatment and knowing when to see a doctor will help you get rid of them faster. So if your blister is:

Really painful: Swelling, redness, and pain are all signs that you need to stop walking on it. It’s the first thing you need to do if your blister becomes severely painful.

Really infected: Most of the time, blisters are just annoying–but they’re rarely dangerous. If you develop a fever or chills after walking around with an infected blister for some time, go see a doctor so he can diagnose the infection and treat it.

Hard to heal: If your blister doesn’t seem to be healing, it’s best to see a doctor. Sometimes infections are harder to clear up than normal. But don’t worry–if you can keep the fluid inside your blister from spilling out, that will help protect you from getting an infection.

Larger than a half-dollar: It doesn’t happen too often, but if your blister swells up larger than a half-dollar it’s time to see a doctor. Don’t just take our word for it–check out the pictures below of some really large blisters.

Really big or oddly shaped: If your blister is big, oddly shaped, or you see a yellow spot in the center of it–it’s time to see a doctor. What you’re looking at could be a sign that the fluid inside your blister has become infected.

Painful red bumps: Possible signs of infection include painful red bumps, pus-filled blisters, draining fluid, or fever. Again–don’t take our word for it! Always see your doctor if you think something’s wrong.

Deformed nails: If you have a blister on your big toe and this happens to the nail on your big toe, you should see a doctor as soon as possible. The reason? This could be the first sign that you’re about to lose that nail.

Epidermolysis bullosa: People with this genetic condition can develop blisters very easily and it’s important for them to go see a doctor immediately if they do.

Fin or tail: If you have a blister on your foot but it looks more like a fin or a tail, go see a doctor immediately. When blisters form in these areas it could be because of an infection with the bone–and when that happens, the only treatment is surgery.

Badly burned skin: If your blister looks a little like a burn, go see a doctor. The chances of it being from an infection are lower but you still need to make sure there aren’t any signs of infection.

Steps To Popping A Blister

First, sterilize the blade of an old kitchen or utility knife with rubbing alcohol; wipe the surface of the blister with peroxide (avoiding raw skin surrounding blisters); slice opens the blister along its longest side, cutting as close to the base as possible; apply antibiotic ointment; and bandage the blister.

Well, I tried it on myself and I don’t recommend this method for popping a blister. It’s painful and not safe at all. Instead, you can use medical alcohol or iodine to disinfect the blade. Wash your hands with soap then wipe both surfaces of the blister with 75% isopropyl alcohol.

Using a sterile needle (make sure it’s clean and not used before), pop the blister with one quick motion, draining all fluid. Do not drain the body of the blister by squeezing it. To disinfect the area around the opening of your blister, wipe an alcohol pad on both sides of the skin surrounding the opening. Place a dressing over the opening of your blister, NOT over the fluid.

Covering the fluid-filled blister with a bandage can actually seal in germs and cause an infection to develop. Change your dressing daily to check the healing progress of your blister.

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Kesara Bandaragoda
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