Healthy Living

What Causes Blisters and How to Get Rid of a Blister

What Causes Blisters and How to Get Rid of a Blisters?

Key Takeaways

  • Blisters can occur as a result of excessive exposure to sunlight or sunburn.
  • Smaller blisters are commonly known as vesicles while larger blisters are known as bullae.
  • Blisters can develop for numerous reasons; however, these causes usually involve irritation to the skin such as rubbing, exposure to chemicals, or acute temperatures.

Blisters can occur for numerous reasons. Though they are not serious, the appearance of blisters itself is very off-putting. A blister is a fluid-filled bubble that develops under the skin. The watery liquid under the blister is often clear and is known as serum.

If the blister remains unopened, the serum can often leak from the tissue surrounding the injured skin. Smaller blisters are commonly known as vesicles while larger blisters are known as bullae. Sometimes, an individual may be affected by a blister that contains blood instead of the serum. If the blister is filled with blood, it is known as a blood blister.

What Causes Blisters?

Below are some of the causes for blister development. These causes include:

Skin Irritation

Blisters can develop for numerous reasons; however, these causes usually involve irritation to the skin such as rubbing, exposure to chemicals, or acute temperatures.

Blisters that develop on the feet could be the result of wearing shoes that are either too tight or constantly rub a specific area of the foot while walking.

Blisters can also occur due to skin conditions like dermatitis, which is a skin reaction that occurs due to exposure to a chemical irritant. Extreme cold can also lead to frostbite, which could cause blisters to develop once the skin is warmed again. Any form of burns, including sunburns, could lead to the development of blisters.

Allergic Reactions

Allergic reactions that occur with dermatitis or eczema could lead to blisters. Allergy-triggered blisters can occur due to an allergy that is caused by a chemical or poison such as poison ivy.

Skin Infections

A number of infections can also trigger blisters. One of the infections that can lead to blister development is bullous impetigo, which is an infection that occurs due to staphylococci (staph) bacteria.

Viral infections that affect the lips or the genital areas such as herpes simplex virus, chickenpox, and shingles virus occur due to the varicella-zoster virus. Coxsackievirus infections which occur during childhood can often cause blisters to develop.

Skin Diseases

A number of skin diseases can also cause blisters. Some of these diseases include dermatitis herpetiformis, pemphigoid, and pemphigus. There are also several inherited forms of blisters that are caused by skin diseases. One of these disease is epidermolysis bullosa, which creates a pressure in the skin that leads to the development of blisters 

How to Recognize a Blister

A blister can be typically recognized by its mere appearance. They are round or oval shaped bubbles that contain fluid or serum within the skin. Blisters can be painful, cause itching, or display no symptoms at all in some cases.

The symptoms of blisters often depend on what caused them to develop.

Skin Irritation

Blisters that occur due to friction or burns can be extremely painful. However, blisters that occur due to eczema are often accompanied by redness of the skin, itching, or small bumps appearing on the skin.

Skin Infections

When blisters occur due to an infection of the skin, the symptoms that appear depend on the type of skin infection causing it. Some of these includes:

  • Bullous impetigo: The skin affected by the infection can become red. The blisters present due to this infection can also burst suddenly with little effort.
  • Herpes simplex virus: When the underlying cause of the infection is the herpes simplex type 1, small blisters appear that normally are known as fever blisters. These blisters are also known as cold sores. Fever blisters normally appear around the lip region and may cause the affected area to be itchy, tingly, inflamed, or cause redness as the blisters begin to manifest. When the blisters break, the fluid contained within them leaks out; thus, leading to the occurrence of painful sores. Herpes simplex type 2 is the more common infection that leads to genital herpes, which is a sexually transmitted infection (STI). Normally, this causes tiny red bumps to appear before the blisters develop. This form of blisters normally affects the penis, thighs, and the genital area.
  • Coxsackie virus: This virus can lead to a medical condition that is commonly known as the hand-foot-and-mouth disease (HFMD). In this condition, the blisters develop in the hands, foot-soles, or mouth.  
  • Skin diseases: Skin diseases like 'Erythema Multiform' can often lead to blisters that appear on the palm of the hands, the soles of feet, the eyes, the nose, and the mouth. Some other signs or symptoms of this could include fever, soreness of the throat, cough, and muscular pain.
  • Medicines: The symptoms of blisters that occur due to a reaction to certain drugs can vary depending on which medication caused the blisters to manifest. Certain medications can cause an increased sensitivity to sunlight; thus, an individual taking these medications may become sunburned and develop blisters when exposed to the sun. In severe cases, blisters can occur in a larger part of the tissue, including the respiratory tract. This occurrence could be accompanied with a general feeling of ill health.

Natural Treatments for Blisters

Blisters can occur at anytime with or without a specific cause. However, if you think you could be prone to developing blisters, it is best to exercise certain precautions to avoid them and have some simple home remedies handy that can help you treat blisters when they occur. The following are some natural remedies to treat blisters:

  • Aloe vera gel: Aloe vera gel is used to treat numerous skin conditions. It is also one of the most effective methods of treating blisters. Aloe has natural anti-inflammatory properties that help relieve the inflammation and redness that occurs with blisters.  
  • Apple cider vinegar: Soaking the blister or dabbing it with some apple cider vinegar works great to eliminate the infection causing the blister. It also prevents the blisters from worsening.
  • Black tea: Black tea is not only a great antioxidant for your system, but it also works well in soothing blisters and reducing inflammation. Alternatively, you can also dab in green tea bags soaked in warm water to soothe blisters.  
  • Tea tree oil: Known for its antibacterial properties, tea tree is a great way to prevent blisters from worsening and helps in curing blisters naturally. Since tea tree has some astringent properties, avoid it if it irritates your skin too much.