which is also called a vesicle by medical professionals, is a raised portion of
skin that is filled with fluid. You are probably familiar with blisters from
wearing uncomfortable shoes for too long.
cause of blistering produces vesicles when friction between your skin and the
shoe causes layers of skin to separate and fill with fluid.
often annoying, painful, or uncomfortable. In most cases, they are not a
symptom of anything serious and will heal without any medical intervention.
can cause skin blistering that requires treatment. And in rare cases a skin
condition may produce blisters. If you ever have unexplained blistering on your
skin, you should see your doctor for a diagnosis.
If you know
the cause of your blister, you can treat it by covering it with bandages to
keep it protected. Eventually the fluids will seep back in and the blister will
disappear. At times, leaving the blister heal by itself without doing anything
will work best.
not puncture a blister unless it is very painful, as the skin over the fluid
protects you from infection.
Causes of blisters
There are many
temporary causes of blisters. Friction
occurs when something rubs against your skin for a prolonged period of time.
This happens most commonly on hands and feet.
Contact dermatitis can also cause blisters.
This is a skin reaction to allergens, like poison ivy, latex,
adhesives, or irritants like chemicals or pesticides. It can cause red,
inflamed skin and blistering.
Burns, if severe enough,
can produce blistering. This includes burns from heat, chemicals, and sunburns.
is a skin condition that is caused or worsened by allergens and can produce
blisters. Another type of eczema, dyshidrotic eczema, also causes blistering,
but its cause is unknown, and it tends to come and go.
can also be a symptom of certain infections.
a bacterial infection of the skin that can occur in both children and adults,
can cause blisters.
an infection caused by a virus, produces itchy spots, and often blisters on the
The same virus that causes chickenpox also causes
shingles, or herpes zoster. The virus
reappears in some people later in life and produces a skin rash with fluid
vesicles that can rupture.
Herpes and the
resulting cold sores can cause skin blistering.
is an infection caused by the Streptococcus group of bacteria,
which produces skin blisters as a symptom.
blisters are the result of a skin condition. For many of these rare conditions,
the cause is unknown. A few skin conditions that cause blisters include:
Treatment for blisters
blisters require no treatment. If you leave them alone, they will go away, and
the top skin layers prevent infection.
you should refrain from puncturing or breaking them open. Blisters caused by
friction, allergens, and burns are temporary reactions to stimuli. In these
cases, the best treatment is to avoid what is causing your skin to blister.
caused by infections are also temporary, but they may require treatment. If you
suspect you may have some type of infection, you should see your doctor.
to medication for the infection, your doctor may be able to give you something
to treat the symptoms. If there is a known cause for the blisters, such as
contact with a certain chemical or use of a drug, use of that product should be
conditions that can cause blisters, such as pemphigus, do not have a cure. Your
doctor can prescribe treatments that will help you manage symptoms. This may
include steroid creams to relieve skin rashes or antibiotics to cure skin
Prognosis for blisters
cases, blisters are not part of a life-threatening condition. Most will go away
without treatment, but may cause you pain and discomfort in the meantime.
of blisters you have, and whether these have ruptured or have become infected
is important in the prognosis of your condition. If you treat an infection that
is causing blisters, your outlook is good. For rare skin conditions, how well
treatments work will depend on the individual situation.
Prevention of friction
For the most
common of blisters — those caused by friction on the skin of your feet — you
can practice basic preventive measures. Always wear comfortable, well-fitting
If you will
be walking for a long period of time, use thickly cushioned socks to reduce
friction. As you walk, you may feel a blister beginning to form. Stop and
protect this area of skin with a bandage to prevent further friction.