Blood and Sunburn Blisters

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Blisters and Sunburn Blisters

Many people would have experienced the joy of a new pair of shoes followed closely by the pain of a blister. Or you’ve spent a lovely day in the sun only to develop sunburn that swells up. We’re here to teach you all about the symptoms, causes, treatment, and prevention of all types of blisters.

What are Blisters?

Your skin consists of three layers: the epidermis, the dermis and subcutaneous fat. Blisters form under the first layer, the epidermis, as a fluid-filled sac. They are typically filled with pus, blood, or a clear, watery liquid called serum, depending on the injury that damaged your skin.

Often caused by friction, burns, injury or illness, though painful and uncomfortable, in most cases, blisters are not a sign of something serious and heal quickly with proper care. If you have an unexplainable blister you should seek medical advice.

Blisters can often be painful or even itchy and in cases where a blister gets infected, it will fill with milky-white pus. Blisters most commonly show up on the feet or hands, but they can appear anywhere on the body.


What are the causes of Blisters?

There are many different temporary ways you can get blisters. The most common causes of blisters include:

    Friction: When something continuously is rubbing on the skin. Many people get friction blisters from walking too much in poor-fitting shoes or by not wearing socks. You can also get them on your hands from holding things like shovels or other tools.

    Pinching: You can get blood blisters when something pinches your skin. Instead of clear liquid, blood floods the area from broken blood vessels and damage to the lower layers of the skin. The blood pools and forms a blood blister under the skin.

    Burns: Getting a significant burn can cause your skin to swell and blister. This is a sign of a second-degree burn. You can get burnt from heat, chemicals and in some cases, frostbite.

    Sunburn Blisters: Similar to those caused by burns, Sunburn Blisters appear when you have experienced a particularly bad sunburn. These don’t always show up when you are first burnt, rather as the skin heals from the sunburn, it blisters up.

    Contact Dermatitis: A skin reaction to allergens – often things such as plants, latex, adhesives, or irritants such as chemicals or pesticides cause this type of reaction. It can cause red, inflamed skin, as well as blistering.

    Infection or Disease: These blisters are the ones you should seek medical advice for. They can be caused by allergies such as eczema - a skin condition that is caused or worsened by allergens and can produce blisters, viral skin infection - such as herpes or warts and fungal skin infection - such as tinea.

What do Blisters look like?

Now you know what they are, what does a blister look like? The first sign of a blister is usually a reddened and/or tender patch of skin, followed by a raised lump. A blood blister looks like a slightly swollen area of blood under the skin. 

blister on foot

How are Blisters treated?

Most blisters will go away on their own in a few days, but if you need some relief, there are a few ways to treat them. Like any other wound, the best thing you can do for a blister is to keep it clean and protected – and to always wash your hands before treating an injury.

Place plaster

Clean the area gently with a mild soap, apply an antibacterial cream or ointment then cover with a dressing such as Elastoplast Blister Plaster Small, Elastoplast Large Blister Plaster, Elastoplast XL Blister Plaster or Elastoplast SOS Mix Pack. Be sure to repeat this process daily until the blister is healed. This process works for both blood blister treatment as well as sunburn blister treatment.

Although it may be tempting, try not to burst a blister. Blisters are your skin's way of healing an injury and protecting the deeper layers, by exposing that wound you may cause an infection and delay healing.

If the blister has become too large or painful, there are safe ways to burst them. A medical professional can drain a blister, but you can also do it yourself with a sterilized needle. Gently prick the side of the blister and let the fluid drain out but make sure not to peel off the overlying skin. After, follow the previous steps of cleaning and covering.

Preventing Blisters

The easiest way to prevent blisters is to avoid the things that give you blisters! Wear well fitted shoes and thoroughly break in new shoes before use. For extra support, use Active Cushioning Tape to cushion your shoes.

Thick socks can help cushion your feet and proper gloves can protect your hands if doing manual labor. You should also stay alert when using items that have the potential to pinch and cause a blood blister. If you feel a blister beginning to form, stop the activity and protect the area to prevent any further friction. 

Sunburn blisters are prevented with a few simple steps. Always apply sunscreen when outside and wear clothes and hats that cover your skin.