Blisters can be disproportionately painful for what they are—small, fluid-filled sores on the skin. It is not uncommon for runners and triathletes to suffer from blisters if they are racking up significant mileage. Even those who are less athletic may end up with blisters from ill-fitting shoes or in response to scalding or burn.
Blisters are the body’s attempt to protect itself from damage. As long as you know what caused the blister and have taken measures to correct or prevent that issue, blisters are not dangerous. They may be painful while they are healing (we recommend Relieve to take the edge off), but they should heal on their own.1
How To Treat a Blister
Blisters can be quite irritating, but they will typically get better within a week if you keep them clean and avoid causing more damage to the skin. If the blister is small and not in an annoying place, then it is best to resist the urge to burst it.2 If you must burst it, then try to “rip it open.”
Instead, treat it like a precision procedure:
- Clean the area with antiseptic soap and dry it carefully.
- Take a clean needle, and hold it over a flame for a few seconds to sterilize it.
- Prick the blister with the needle and carefully squeeze the fluid out.
- Leave the loose skin in place. Do not pull it back or remove it.
- Cover the blister with a soft dressing and tape over the dressing. Let it heal by itself.
Do not use home remedies such as cooking oil or butter on blisters. This will not do any good and could increase your risk of infection.
Sophie's story is one of the many email submissions we have received. Click here to read more about the difference MONQ has made in her life.
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See a doctor if you develop multiple blisters in a short period of time for an unknown reason or if the blister is inflamed or producing unusual-colored pus.3
Using Essential Oils on Blisters
If you are generally healthy, then you should find that your skin heals quite quickly and that the blister will go away on its own. If you are worried that the blister might become infected, or it is irritating you and you want to give it a helping hand to heal, then you may want to try using essential oils to help your blister heal better.
What these essential oils have in common is that they are all thought to be antimicrobial, antifungal, and good for your skin. There are at least 90 essential oils which have been identified as being potentially useful for skin issues.4 However, the evidence supporting some of those oils and the myriad combinations they can be made into is limited.
Tea tree, chamomile, peppermint, and lavender are some of the better-researched oils with more of an evidence base behind them.
One of the key benefits of tea tree, in particular, is that it is a powerful antimicrobial agent.5 This means that when you use it on your skin, you are helping prevent infection. Since blisters are prone to breaking if they are knocked or damaged, this can be quite useful. Just a couple of drops of tea tree is enough to have a strong disinfecting effect on the skin.
Peppermint oil is often used to treat the blisters caused by cold sores, which are slightly different from standard blisters, although there are some similarities.6 Peppermint oil can be applied directly onto the skin, although it is a good idea to dilute it with a much milder carrier oil so that it does not dry out the skin too much.
The antiviral impact can help prevent infection, and the oil is generally soothing and refreshing, which can help take away some of the discomfort associated with the blister.
Chamomile and lavender are both mild, soothing essential oils that can help to reduce inflammation.7 This is important for promoting the healing of the blister. Chamomile and lavender can soothe irritation, which means that you are less likely to want to pick at or scratch the blister.
If you do decide to use essential oils on your blister, you should do so very carefully. Do not use more than one to two drops of the oil, and do not rub it vigorously into the skin. Read the label for the oil carefully so that you are sure whether it is safe to apply undiluted to your skin.
Know that many oils are not designed to be used in their undiluted form and should be diluted with carriers oils such as jojoba or coconut first. Applying a strong, harsh oil directly to your skin could make your blister worse in the long run.
Tips for Avoiding Blisters
Most blisters are caused by chafing and irritation. While blisters most commonly occur on the feet, some people develop blisters on their hands and necks from using tools or carrying bags.
You can help avoid blisters by wearing thick socks and choosing shoes that fit well, as well as choosing other sports equipment or gear carefully. Avoid ill-fitting equipment and take breaks if you find that your skin is getting sore.
Be aware that you should not need to “break in” your shoes when you buy a new pair. High-quality shoes of the correct size will be comfortable from the moment that you put them on. If a shoe does not feel quite right, do your feet a favor and don’t buy that pair.
If you have unusually sized feet, then you may need to get your feet measured and buy shoes with a specific width from a specialist retailer. In the long term, you should find that they are far more comfortable and that you get blisters far less often.
Using essential oils may promote healing of blisters while reducing the risk of infection. Try one of the essential oils outlined above with your favorite carrier oil and see what works best for you.
Photo credits: Ja’Crispy/shutterstock.com, Mr.TeerapongKunkaeo/shutterstock.com, JaralLertjamekorn/shutterstock.com