Blisters result because of friction between skin surfaces. It starts with a tear in the upper layers of the skin, which leaves a void in the layers that are filled up by fluid.
Types of blisters
Blisters are either friction blisters or blood blisters.
Friction blisters are caused when the outer layer that is the epidermis separates from the fiber layer of the skin, the dermis. The skin normally re-grows from underneath. These are usually caused by heat, frostbite, chemical injury or friction. Unless infection sets in, they heal quickly.
In case of a smashing or pinching injury, blood is forced between skin layers. This raises a blood blister. These are easily treatable at home.
Friction usually occurs in shoes, skates, rackets or other equipment. If your skin is moist then it may be prone to blisters.
A combination of heat, moisture and friction causes blister formation. Fungal infections of the skin, allergic reactions or burns and excessive perspiration are also causative factors of blisters.
Blisters can be treated easily if not infected. You will need a doctor only in case the blister gets infected. If you have pus draining from the blister, very warm or red skin around the blister and red streaks leading away from the blister, then the blister might be infected.
You can start by cleaning the blister. Rub some alcohol or antibiotic soap and water. Puncture the blister with a cooled down straight pin that has been heated over a flame till red.
Drain the fluid and apply an antibiotic ointment. You should avoid ointments containing neomycin because they are likely to be allergic.
Now, cover the blister using a bandage and change the dressing daily.
Moisture provides the perfect conditions for a blister. Keep as dry as possible.
Wear insoles that contain closed-cell neoprene. These claim to reduce friction and hence, prevent blisters.
Use socks that wick moisture instead of cotton socks that keep moisture close to skin.
Wear the right kind of gloves.
Wear the right kind of footwear. Too tight or too loose shoes will result in blisters.
If you feel that a blister might be developing, cover the area with some moleskin, sport tape or a band-aid.