Summer: the season for pedicures… and blisters? Whether you’re looking to prevent or treat them, here’s how board-certified dermatologist, Anthony Rossi, MD, FAAD, gets rid of blisters (and suggests you do the same).
How to Get Rid of Blisters the Safe Way
The first time I visited Los Angeles as a teenager, I was on my way to a show wearing a pair of patent Oxfords I had bought the day before. Having intended on spending the entire day in the city, my poor sense of planning reasoned with the decision by stating that it really doesn’t get more comfortable than Oxfords, new or not, unless of course, I was willing to wear flip flops which was not happening. Two hours and three miles later, I could be found walking down Sunset Blvd. in Echo Park with blood running down my ankle, tears in my eyes, a new pair of ruined shoes and a look of pain that was 3 parts blister and 1 part devastation over the loss of money that was currently running down my ankle in thick red currents. Needless to say, I was rewarded for my resilience with a cute little blister the size of the Superdome and a week of flip flops through which I was allowing my newly-formed appendage to heal. The moral of this story: blisters aren’t fun and when it comes to treating them, prevention is everything.
Blisters need no introduction as the painful skin irritations can occur anywhere, to anyone. The result of skin rubbing against each other, we’ve all, at one point in our lives, been victim to these pesky annoyances yet, despite their prevalence, few of us know how to treat a blister the right way. No, popping it only spreads infection and putting a band-aid on it does nothing to heal the wound. In order to treat blisters, preventing chafing is key. The more diligent you are about your fashion and lifestyle habits, the easier it is to keep blisters away from your skin.
To educate nail techs and consumers on preventative measures for blisters, as well as how to treat them, the AAD posted a video detailing their recommendations for safe blister treatment and prevention. Watch the video below.
In order to prevent chafing that can lead to blisters, Dr. Rossi recommends:
- Protecting your feet by wearing nylon or moisture-wicking socks. You should also make sure your shoes fit properly and are neither too tight nor too loose.
- Wearing the right clothing. If going for a run, wear moisture-wicking, loose-fitting clothes. Avoid activewear made of cotton as the fabric can lead to friction and chafing.
- Considering soft bandages for problem areas such as feet or thighs. Moleskin or other soft bandages are also an option.
- Applying powder or petroleum jelly to problem areas in order to reduce friction when your skin rubs together or against clothing.
- Stopping your activity immediately if you experience pain or discomfort, or if your skin turns red.
If you’re currently suffering with a blister right now or know someone who is, don’t lose hope because there are simple ways to treat an existing sore! Existing blisters are always better left alone (read: untouched) and will naturally heal in one to two weeks. To prevent the blister from getting worse or infected, Dr. Rossi recommends:
- Covering the blister with a bandage. Be sure to leave a little space between the middle of the bandage and your skin by bringing the sides up.
- Using padding to protect blisters in pressure areas such as the bottom of your feet. To do this, cut the padding into a donut shape with a hole in the middle and place it around the blister. Then, cover the blister and padding with a loosely-fitted bandage.
- Avoiding popping or draining a blister, as this could lead to infection. However, if your blister is larger than life, you can drain it to reduce discomfort. If draining, sterilize a small needle with rubbing alcohol then use the needle to pierce one edge of the blister.
- Keeping the area cleaned and covered with soap, water and petroleum jelly. If a “roof” has formed over the blister, do not remove it as this layer of skin acts as a protective barrier.
With these tips in mind, you’ll be able to prevent new blisters from forming and treat existing ones without fear of infection. If your blister has healed and formed a scar, we recommend regularly applying aloe vera and/or Vitamin E to gradually fade the blemish.
Treat your feet right and they’ll thank you for it!