Hello there readers! Glad to see you guys back for another session of Mother Nature assisted healing.
I am Olivia your guide and friend, and today, we are going to talk about another common problem that causes a lot of pain but does not call for a visit to the doctor.
In fact, this little problem is so common that all of us have suffered from it at some point. Yet, we cannot find reprieve from it even in our medicine cabinets.
I like to call these, “life’s most vexing problems” because this is where our reliance on the quick-fix solutions of pain pills no longer comes to our rescue!
Are you wondering what this problem is? It is called a vesicle! Have not heard of it before? Try its street name- Blisters!
Yes, I am talking about fluid filled bubbles that appear out of nowhere and can erupt just about anywhere on your body.
They don’t last long but can cause quite a bit of discomfort and regular antiseptic ointments don’t help much.
This means your only hope is to seek help from nature and I am going to show you how to do just that. But, first let us understand this little problem.
So, What Are Blisters?
Simply put, blisters are your body’s way of saying it has had enough! Now, your body may be protesting against sudden exposure to:
- Temperature extremes, think frostbite and burn blisters
- Friction, think shoe bites and friction blisters on your palms
- Infection, think cold sores
- Allergies, think poison ivy or chemical burn blisters
When your body gets irritated, it vexes you right back by springing blisters on you. The upper layer of the fluid filled pocket is usually formed by the epidermis. The fluid in the bubble can be plasma, blood or pus, depending on what led to the blister and the amount of skin damage involved.
Because blisters protect the underlying skin layers, it is best to not lance them, not to mention that it is extremely painful when the tender skin on top starts rubbing against the tender layer below. Without the cushioning of the fluid, that is exactly what happens.
Based on what caused the blister to form and the fluid in it, these skin bubbles can be categorized as:
- Blood blisters: These bubbles are usually blackish-red or purple as the turgidity is attributed to blood. Pinching or crushing of the skin, which leads a blood vessel to rupture and blood to accumulate between the dermal layers, is what causes these blisters.
- Heat or cold blisters: These are a sign of skin damage and appear in response to second degree burns. Extreme cold as in the case of frost bite and extreme heat as in scalding will cause them to appear. At the onset, these blisters are filled with plasma.
- Friction blisters: As their name suggests, these are caused due to skin damage attributed to friction. So, they usually show up on the feet, palms, fingers and toes.
What Goes On Underneath As Your Skin Bubbles Up?
I have already explained how blood blisters come to be but as far as friction and extreme temperature blisters are concerned, they have different mechanisms of formation.
When you subject a part of your body to constant friction, a layer of the epidermis, which is susceptible to shear force, tears away from the dermis below. This causes the cells to leak plasma in the space created by the separation of the dermal layers and that is seen as a blister.
Of course, the tearing can also occur at deeper tissue layers, which are closer to the nerves. Blisters on the toes, feet and palms are usually of this kind and hence quite painful.
As far as burn blisters go, the exposure to extreme temperatures causes the capillaries to become permeable and leak out the plasma. This colorless fluid accumulates in between the dermal layers, and that is why the skin blisters on exposure to extreme temperatures.
Causes And Symptoms Of Blisters!
Most commonly, blisters are caused either due to burns or friction and you now know the mechanism of these blisters.
Actually, anything that causes damage to the dermal layers or the tiny blood vessels that feed the skin will cause blisters. But, these are not the only factors that lead to vesicles, others include:
- Autoimmune and genetic disorders like pemphigus, bullous pemphigoid and epidermolysis bullosa.
- Infectious diseases such as herpes, chickenpox, bullous impetigo.
- Allergic reactions.
- Skin problems like eczema, dyshidrosis and dermatitis herpetiformis.
- Insect bites.
If caused due to heat, the blister/s will appear almost immediately on the exposed part if it is a second degree burn. But, in case of first degree burns, it will be a day before the blisters start popping up.
Severe frostbite will also cause delayed blistering as will damage due to chemical exposure and dermatitis.
Friction blisters are also quick to make an appearance. Typically, blistering that is linked to skin damage is almost immediate, is painful and localized. So, you may see one or more fluid filled bubbles with redness in the surrounding area.
On the other hand, if your blisters are linked to an underlying ailment, expect them to be widespread. For instance, in case of chickenpox and shingles, blisters can often be seen all over the body or torso. These blisters may or may not be painful but there is a very high risk of them getting infected.
How Will Your Doctor Treat Your Blisters?
Usually, skin damage linked blisters don’t warrant a doctor’s visit unless you are dealing with second degree burns or first degree burns to the sensitive parts of your body (pubic area, neck, face, breast, head).
For minor blistering, you will usually be sent home with a soothing lotion or an antibiotic ointment. If you have a large, infected or painful blister that shows no signs of going away on its own, the GP may use a sterile needle to open it and drain the fluids.
You will then be advised to clean the wound and use a topical antibiotic. If your blisters are the symptoms of another illness, your doctor will treat the underlying cause, which should help with the symptoms.
When Should The Appearance Of Blisters Be Cause For Concern?
- The blister is particularly painful and appeared without associated skin damage.
- You have recurring blister(s).
- The blister appears infected and filled with a yellow or green fluid/pus.
- The skin seems infected with significant redness and inflammation/swelling.
- The skin above and around the blister feels hot and the blister fills with pus.
- Severe and/or several blisters appear for no reason.
- Red streaks appear on the skin around the blister.
- The blister is on or around the mouth, eyes, eyelids or genitals.
- There is crusting around and on top of the blister and a honey colored fluid drains out of it.
- You develop fever and shaking chills along with blisters.
- You have headache, nausea, vomiting, joint and muscle pain and a general sense of malaise along with the blisters.
- The symptoms get more severe and/or frequent.
Recommended Natural Product For Blisters
There’s a simple all-natural product that you can use to help get rid of blisters…L’orpur Problem Skin Relief Cream. Why not give it a try!
Why Do Essential Oils Work For Blisters?
Essential oils are not just extremely potent plant extracts but also multi-functional compounds. So, while chemical formulations/modern medicines target one or two issues, an essential oil blend can cover all the problems that cause and are brought on by blisters. In effect, you get prevention, treatment and cure all rolled into one.
So, with the right mix of these aromatic extracts, you can lower inflammation, greatly reduce pain, kill infection and promote faster tissue repair.
In fact, you can also find oils that regulate the healing process thus minimizing the risk of scars.
Best Essential Oils For Blisters
Since it is the gold standard when it comes healing and soothing, not including lavender essential oil in this list would almost be blasphemous. Yes, that is really how good this oil is!
It is gentle enough for a baby’s bottom but it is tough as hell on germs. Lavender oil can not only control pain and inflammation once the blisters pop up but also help to prevent blisters all together.
Good luck finding any chemical preparations that does all of that and smells amazing at the same time.
Another classic pain reliever, nothing works like peppermint essential oil when you need cooling on the double.
The menthol in this oil forces the nerves to use up all their pain-transmitting chemical. Plus, it helps to control inflammation, so it is a worthy addition to any healing blend for blisters.
At first this oil, with its warming effect, may not seem like the right choice for blisters. But on closer scrutiny, you will find that its superlative anti-inflammatory abilities and potent analgesic properties make it perfect for blisters.
4. Tea Tree
The inclusion of melaleuca oil in this list is not just attributed to its prized antimicrobial properties. Yes, it fights germs better than or at least as well as most antibiotics, but also it has notable astringent properties.
Furthermore, tea tree oil, as it is commonly known, also has anti-inflammatory properties. So, when used on blisters, it helps to dry the fluid inside, while controlling the inflammation and the resultant pain.
Few man-made or natural substances can calm irritated and damaged skin like azulene, a phytochemical found in chamomile oil.
In fact, there is absolutely no skin concern that cannot be soothed by chamomile oil, which is why it is often found in skin care preparations as well as ointments for burn wounds.
Apart from taming inflammation, chamomile oil also boasts of antibacterial properties and aids in the wound healing process.
Another popular choice for blisters, geranium oil increases blood flow to the deeper dermal layers, thus facilitating quick healing.
The anti-inflammatory oil also fights off infections and reduces pain. In fact, at 100% concentration, this oil is clinically proven to ease the pain caused by blisters linked to shingles.
Geranium not only works as an anti-inflammatory agent when used topically, but also tones down the inflammatory mechanism when diffused.
The antiseptic and astringent oil with a light citrusy fragrance not only curbs inflammation but also ward off infections.
A natural detox agent, lemon grass essential oil enhances the body’s ability to heal itself and is particularly well known for its beneficial dermal effects. The limonene in the oil reduces inflammation and pain and acts on dermal irritations in general.
This essential oil has been used as a wound healer since the Middle Ages and continues its run as a potent remedy for all skin related issues. Blisters do not stand a chance against the anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties of this oil.
The phytocompounds in this extract help to fight bacteria and virus. So, it is exceptionally effective against cold sores and chicken pox blisters.
Apart from these, essential oils of frankincense, marjoram, white fir, turmeric, sandalwood and helichrysum are also remarkably effective against blisters.
Top Essential Oil Recipes For Blisters
1. Cooling and healing gel for burn and friction blisters
Use this recipe when you need relief from the burning pain. The gel will help to greatly reduce inflammation and will boost tissue repair. You will need:
- ½ cup of pure aloe vera juice/gel (not the green kind you get in a jar)
- A tsp of neem powder
- ½ tsp turmeric powder
- 5 drops each of geranium, lavender, chamomile and helichrysum essential oils
- 2 drops rosemary essential oil
Add the powders to the aloe era gel and whisk till you get a smooth, clump free gel. To this add the essential oils and whisk till you don’t see the lipids floating on top. Store in a dark colored glass jar under refrigeration.
To use, apply gently on top of the blister in a medium thick layer and let it stay on your inflamed skin for as long as you can keep it on.
If, you intend to keep it on overnight, cover with a single layer of gauze and use old sheets because the turmeric will stain the fabric. Apply, 3-4 times a day till the pain subsides and the blister reduces in size. When stored in the refrigerator, you can keep this blend for up to a month.
2. Immediate action pain-relief spray
This recipe is for extensive blistering due to sunburn or even chicken pox. The blend offers almost instant relief from the pain, while eliminating the risk of infection. You will need:
- A cup of rose/helichrysum hydrosol
- 2 tsp evening primrose or sesame seed oil
- 7 drops peppermint
- 5 drops chamomile
- 4 drops each of melissa and lemongrass essential oils
Mix the oils together and set them aside. Pour the hydrosol into an 8 oz spray bottle, preferably one made of dark colored glass. Add the essential oil blend to the hydrosol and close with the spritzer head. Give the bottle a good shake before spraying on the affected areas.
Use up to 2-3 times a day for pain and infection relief. Store the blend in the refrigerator and it will last you for a 3-4 weeks. Plus, you will get greater cooling and relief.
3. Soothing and draining soak for blisters
This recipe is specifically meant for blisters on the feet. It will not only take away the pain of the blisters but also tackle muscle and joint ache and fatigue. You will need:
- A tub of cold water (add a few ice cubes to get the temperature right)
- 2 cups of strongly brewed green tea (cooled to room temperature)
- 2 tbsp Epsom salt
- 10 drops each of peppermint, lemongrass and melissa essential oils
- 5 drops tea tree and rosemary essential oils
- A tablespoon of milk (dairy, almond or coconut)
Blend the essential oils with the milk and set the mixture aside. Add the cooled tea and Epsom salt to the tub of water and then mix in the essential oil infused milk.
Agitate the water to mix all the ingredients and then soak your blistered and tired feet in the water for 15-20 minutes. You can add a few ice cubes for extra cooling power.
For best results, use a diffuser blend of 1:1 lavender and chamomile to cool and calm the mind along with those blisters.
Once you are done soaking your feet, pat dry them using a soft towel or a tissue and apply a tsp. of sweet almond/ sesame/extra virgin olive oil mixed with 4 drops of the diffuser blend, right on top of the blisters.
4. Essential oil salve for blisters
This recipe works on all painful blisters, whether they are attributed to burning/scalding, to an infection or to new shoes. You will need:
- ½ cup raw manuka honey
- 1 tsp calendula tincture
- 5 drops each of helichrysum, chamomile and turmeric essential oils
- 4 drops each of white fir and marjoram essential oils
Mix the essential oils and the tincture with the honey and stir vigorously till there are no visible signs of the lipid globules floating on top.
Apply this mixture in a medium thick layer on the blister and cover with a single ply of medical gauze. Let the salve work on your skin for 30 minutes; then wash it off with cold water. Do not rub the blisters to remove the salve. Instead, pour a stream of cold water on it or dab at it with cotton wool soaked in water.
The idea is to not irritate the skin any further or accidently puncture the blister by rubbing it too much. Repeat treatment 3 times a day for best results.
5. Anti-scarring formula for extreme temperature blisters
This recipe comes straight from Ayurveda and is a sought-after cure in India for burn wounds that are likely to leave scars.
You should start using this unique paste-blend as soon as the skin blisters after a burn injury and continue using it even after the blisters drain out or rupture, till the wound heals completely. You will need:
- 2 heaped tbsp. turmeric
- Lemon juice as required
- 1 tsp. neem powder/1 tsp neem oil (not essential but carrier oil)
- 1 cup sesame seed oil
- 10 drops lemongrass
- 15 drops each of geranium and lavender essential oils
- 10 drops sandalwood essential oil (optional as it is very expensive but certainly a worthy investment)
I am going to warn you at the outset that preparation for this one is a bit lengthy but the results are truly stunning. So, take the turmeric into a glass bowl and pour enough lemon juice in it to make a mixture that has the consistency of tooth paste. As soon as you mix the lemon juice with turmeric powder, the golden spice will take on a bright red hue.
Add the bright red paste to the sesame seed oil and place on medium-high heat till the paste actually begins to turn black. Allow it to go to a very dark, blackish red. It should look like the turmeric has been charred in the oil.
Take the mixture off the heat and set it aside to cool. Once it is at room temperature, add the essential oils to it and mix well. Store the mixture in dark glass bottle. If you don’t introduce moisture into it, the oil will stay good for up to a year.
Apply as you would any burn ointment, all over the blisters and the damaged skin. Use both the oil and the charred turmeric, which will settle at the bottom of the jar/bottle. So, give the mixture a shake before using.
A quick warning here, this blend does stain clothes. For best results keep it on overnight and use it for 5-7 days in which time you will see significant improvement even if you have suffered from second degree burns.
6. Quick healing blend for ruptured blisters
If the blister ruptures on its own, don’t try to peel or cut the skin on top. Just smooth it back in place and apply this blend on top for quick healing. In fact, cover with a single ply of gauze or a moleskin bandage to protect the open wound. For this blend, you will need:
- 30 ml carrier oil of your choice
- 6 drops each of lavender and geranium essential oils
- 4 drops each of frankincense and turmeric essential oils
Mix and store the oil blend in a dark glass bottle. Use a dropper to pour the blend directly on the wound. Dab the lipid mixture with your finger tip all over the blister and on the surrounding area. Apply 2-3 times a day till the wound heals.
7. Antiseptic and antiviral blend for herpes and chicken pox blisters
This recipe is particularly well suited for blisters that appear in response to a bacterial or viral infection. The oils in this mix will not only help to heal the blisters but will also prevent them from spreading to the other parts of the body. You will need:
- 30 ml jojoba oil
- 3 drops eucalyptus
- 5 drops each of tea tree, lemon grass and melissa essential oils
Mix the oils and store in an amber glass bottle away from heat and direct sunlight. To use, take a drop of the blend on your finger tips and massage gently on the affected parts. You can use the blend twice a day and typically, it takes about 2-3 days to see visible results.
Home Treatment For Preventing And Treating Blisters
When it comes to blisters, prevention is most certainly better than treatment or cure. So, if your tootsies and digits have been spared the wrath of blisters, try to keep those troublesome bubbles away by protecting your hands and feet from dampness and friction.
This is what you need to do to prevent blisters:
- Use moisture wicking socks.
- If a particular pair of shoes has a history of causing shoe bites, wear two pairs of socks to protect your skin.
- Do not wear shoes that are too tight or too loose. Shoes that fit well allow you to take the first step towards blister-free feet.
- If you like to sweat it out in the gym or outdoors, wear loose clothes, preferably made from a moisture-wicking, soft material.
- Protect your hands with gloves.
- Use soft bandages in problem areas like the toes and the back of foot.
- Deodorant, petroleum jelly and even talcum powder can help to lower friction and skin damage.
- Don’t wait for your skin to blister. If a particularly activity or foot wear is causing pain, stop and change.
Once you have an angry blister staring at you, you need to make sure that you keep it protected because if a blister is painful, a ruptured blister is very, very painful. This is what you need to do:
- Do not try your hand at DIY surgery by taking a needle to your blister. Under no circumstances should you try to lance/drain the blister.
- Do not go back to the activity that caused the blister at least till the affected area heals
- One of the simplest yet most effective way to treat a blister is to give it breathing space. So to protect the blister, cover it loosely with gauze.
- If the blister is in an area that takes the weight of the body, like your feet use padding cut in doughnut shape to protect the vesicle. Then, cover both the padding and the blister with some gauze.
- If the blister pops on its own, do not try to take the skin on top off by any means. Just keep the affected area clean and use the healing blend discussed above.
- Dab on a mixture of apple cider vinegar and castor oil on top of the blister for faster healing.
And, The Parting Shot!
Like I said, on their own blisters are seldom a cause for concern, unless they are caused by an underlying health concern.
But, even the smallest of wounds can cause trouble if you don’t care for it. This holds true not only for those of you who suffer from ailments that impact the body’s healing mechanism and immune system but also for those of you who are otherwise healthy.
Ideally, you want the blister to live out its life span of 10 days and disappear. The last thing you need is for the vesicle to get infected. So, you don’t have to lose sleep over your blisters but do not ignore them either. And on that note, here is wishing all you folks a life free of physical and mental blisters!