What is a Blister?
Blisters are any small bubble or pocket on the skin that is filled with fluid. They can be the result of a number of different things, including friction from tight shoes, burns, and exposure to chemicals, medical conditions like chickenpox or herpes, and infection. Freezing, pinching, and sunburn are other common causes of blister formation. Although blisters are usually filled with a clear fluid, some are filled with blood. If your blister is the result of an infection, then it may be filled with pus.
Some skin diseases, known as bullous diseases, are characterized by blister formation and often require medical treatment with oral corticosteroids like prednisone or immunosuppressant drugs. However, these disorders are not the focus of today’s blog. Blisters are common in people without systemic skin disorders.
An Ounce Of Prevention Is Worth A Pound Of Cure
Blisters can be a nuisance, so it’s worthwhile to avoid causing one, if at all possible. Friction, pressure, or pinching can all cause blisters. Poorly fitting shoes are a common source, so be careful when you buy. After buying new shoes, break them in before wearing them for an extended period of time. Another common cause of blisters is manual labor. Many people get blisters when gardening without gloves. In fact, even golfing can result in terrible blisters if you’re not wearing the correct glove for the task.
To Pop Or Not To Pop?
Many people have asked whether or not they should puncture a blister. A blister that has clear fluid within the bubble is actually helping the tissue underneath to heal. The fluid in most blisters is sterile and will eventually be reabsorbed by your body, as the skin beneath heals. In some cases, you may be more comfortable if you puncture a large blister to prevent irritation as you go about your day, but you should consult your doctor before puncturing a large or painful blister.
Infected blisters, which are usually red, painful, and filled with pus, may indicate a more extensive infection beneath the blister and should always be examined by a doctor. They may be signs of a skin abscess that will require skillful incision and drainage. In some cases, these infected blisters will drain spontaneously, but antibiotics may be required to treat any areas of infected skin. An infected blister can spread infection through layers of skin if treated incorrectly, so don’t attempt this on your own.
The Best Way To Safely Puncture A Small Blister:
If you decide to drain a small blister at home, it’s important to sterilize the needle or razor blade before proceeding. You can do this by holding the cutting or puncturing edge against a flame until it is hot. A needle can also be cleaned adequately by rinsing it with alcohol.
Before you begin your procedure, wash your hands thoroughly and clean the area around the blister. Make a small cut or hole in the top of the blister, using your needle or blade. Don’t tear off the top of the blister – instead, you should use a piece of sterile gauze to gently press the fluid out.
After you’ve completed draining the blister, apply some antibiotic ointment to the area and cover it with a clean dressing or bandage.
Keep It Clean!
Simple measures to prevent infection include keeping the area clean and protected. Avoid subjecting he area to the same type of injury that caused the initial blister, whether it is sun exposure or tight shoes. Redness and pus are early signs of infection, so be sure to see your doctor if these develop. If you have additional concerns, call us today for a consultation. We have convenient locations in Beverly Hills, Encino, and Glendale. A cosmetic dermatologist can help you prevent infection or scarring as a result of a blister.