What Are Blisters?
The skin consists of three layers: the epidermis (the top layer), the dermis (the in-between layer), and subcutaneous fat (below the skin). Blisters form as fluid-filled sacs under the epidermis. Depending on the injury, the blister may be filled with a clear liquid, pus, or with blood. Blisters on skin can be painful and itchy and may become infected, indicated by a milky-white pus.
Blisters on feet and blisters on hands are common, but they can appear anywhere with skin. Most blisters are shaped like circles or ovals. Blisters can appear as a single bubble or as a cluster, depending on the injury to the skin in the affected area. Blisters can be caused by friction, injuries, burns, and certain medical conditions.
What Causes Blisters?
You can develop blisters in several different ways, including some health conditions.Some blisters are named after the condition they are linked to, such as chicken pox, shingles blisters, and atopic eczema blisters. The most common types of blisters include blood blisters, friction blisters, and heat blisters. For more information about blister causes and preventative measures, contact us today!
Blood blisters develop when something pinches the skin. Instead of filling with clear liquid, blood floods in from broken blood vessels and damage to the lower layers of skin, which then pools and forms the blister.
Friction blisters are caused by rubbing of the skin. Friction blisters form when clear fluid builds up in the upper layers of skin and can be caused by walking in poorly-fitting shoes or by not wearing socks. You can also get them on your hands from friction with shovels or other tools.
Heat blisters, also known as sunburn blisters or blisters from sunburn, occur as a result of the skin becoming burned or sunburned, but can also form after you warm your skin from frostbite. Blistering skin is an aspect of a second-degree burn.
A number of medical conditions can cause blisters. These include chickenpox, the herpes simplex virus, bullous impetigo, eczema, dyshidrosis, bullous pemphigoid, pemphigus, dermatitis herpetiformis, cutaneous radiation syndrome, and epidermolysis bullosa.
Do I Need A Dermatologist To Look At My Blister?
Blisters generally do not require a dermatologist to examine them, plus there are no tests or diagnostic procedures for blisters. If frostbite or a burn causes you to develop blisters, however, you may require clinical treatment for the underlying cause of your blisters. You may also require blister treatment if your blister shows signs of infection, such as the following.
- Pus, or yellow-green discharge
- Painful or hot areas surrounding the blister
- Reddened streaks in the skin around the blister
When not infected, blisters generally heal on their own within a few days. In these situations, blister treatment at home can help reduce your discomfort and encourage healthy healing. You should wash the area gently with a mild soap, apply an antibacterial cream or ointment to the area, and cover the blister with sterile gauze or a bandage. Make sure to change the gauze or bandage at least once each day. Resist the urge to pop or break open the blister or peel it off. The skin covering the blister serves to protect the deep layers of skin from bacteria and infection. If your blister is infected, if it has pus or if the skin surrounding the blister is hot or painful or if there are red streaks around the blister, then you should contact your Boardman dermatologist.
You should see your healthcare provider if your blister does not improve after a few days. You should also see them if the blister appears infected. If it is infected, your skin will be red and swollen. An infected blister fills with a white or yellowish fluid rather than a clear fluid or blood. Whether you require blood blister treatment, burn blister treatment, or friction blister treatment, our skin care specialists can help ensure your skin receives the treatment it requires to heal in a healthy and effective manner. Please contact Advanced Dermatology and Skin Cancer Center today to schedule an appointment.
How Long Does A Blister Take To Heal?
When it comes to healing following the development of a blister, the time the skin requires to heal can vary from patient to patient. Most blisters, however, heal naturally on their own in a few days of appearing. We recommend bandaging the blister and, if the blister is on your feet, wear different shoes while it heals. For those with blisters from burns or frostbite, or those with blisters that might be infected, we advise they consult their healthcare provider.
How To Prevent Blisters
You have several different options for preventing blisters. Most options involve preparation and caution. Preventing the development of a blister depends on the type of blister, including friction blisters, blood blisters, and heat blisters. Friction blisters result from repeated friction, or rubbing, of the skin against a surface or object. To help prevent them, make sure that your shoes fit you well and do not rub against your skin. You should break in new shoes before wearing them for extended periods of time. For your hands, wear gloves to protect your skin if you plan on doing any sort of manual labor. For your body, wear properly fitting clothing in order to prevent chafing, which can cause blisters on other parts of the body.
Blood blisters usually develop when the skin is pinched. They typically occur on the hands. While it is more difficult to prevent them, you should stay alert while using tools or other items that can pinch your skin and wear gloves when working with pliers, pruners, and other items that can pinch your skin. Heat blisters can result from a burn or when the skin becomes too hot as a person recovers from frostbite. To help prevent them, be sure to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 25 and reapply it often, especially when outside in the sun for an extended period of time. Additionally, you should take extra precautions when handling hot items or you’re around a fire. Wear weather-appropriate clothing and accessories to help avoid frostbite. If you do get frostbite, slowly raise your body temperature with lukewarm water.