Blisters: How Do They Form and What are Some Effective Treatments?

Bajaj Finserv Health
December 22nd, 2021
8 mins read

Key Takeaways

  • Blisters are filled with blood, pus, or clear liquid
  • Causes of blisters include friction, contact, and more
  • Herpes simplex virus can also cause blisters on skin

Your skin has three layers – the epidermis, the dermis, and subcutaneous fat. A blister may form as a fluid-filled bubble under the epidermis, the outer layer of your skin. Blisters may be filled with blood, pus, or clear liquid depending on the causes of their formation. Blisters are also known as vesicles and bulla [1].  Usually, they occur on your hands and feet and can be itchy and painful. However, they can also form on any other part of your body [2].

The reasons for their formation can be heat, rubbing, or skin diseases. Blisters on skin usually heal on their own without any medication. Read on to know the causes of this disease and the treatment options you have. 

Additional Read: Oral Psoriasis: 4 Facts You Should Not Neglect!

Causes of Blisters


Rubbing of your skin may cause friction blisters where clear fluids build up in the upper layer of your skin. Here are some usual causes of their formation.

  • Walking in new or ill-fitted shoes
  • Not wearing socks
  • Using shovels or other tools without gloves
  • Using a new sports racket 

Such activities cause these diseases on feet or blisters on palms. They may form on your toe, heel, or thumb.

Blisters types

Cold and Heat

Extreme cold or hot temperatures can hurt your skin and cause this disease. For instance, if you accidentally touch a hot stove burner or handle frozen foods, you may see multiple blisters form on your skin. Going out without gloves in the cold season can form blisters due to frostbite. Similarly, you may get sunburned from staying out in the heat for too long. Remember, frostbite requires medical attention and may cause symptoms like numb and prickly skin or loss of sensation. A fluid or blood-filled blister may also form in this case. 

Contact Dermatitis

Contact dermatitis occurs when you come in close contact with something you are allergic to [3]. For instance, rubbing against a plant may form some kinds of blisters. These appear anytime between hours to days after you touch an allergen. Some people may experience this reaction even to everyday objects like detergents, soaps, perfumes, and fabric. You may get rashes with visible borders and your skin may become red and itchy.

Herpes Simplex

The herpes simplex virus can cause fever this disease on lips, mouth, or genitals [4]. These sores contain fluid that carries the virus through a kiss, intercourse, or by sharing utensils. Although the symptoms are usually mild, they may include fever, fatigue, headache, body aches, decreased appetite, or swollen lymph nodes. Conditions like stress, menstruation, or exposure to the sun can lead the blisters to reoccur.


Stomatitis is a sore or inflammation that causes blisters in mouth or on lips [5]. It can be caused due to injury, infection, sensitivity, stress, or other conditions. There are two main types of stomatitis, herpes stomatitis and aphthous stomatitis. Herpes stomatitis is also known as a cold sore that causes symptoms like body aches, fever, and fluid-filled blisters on lips. Aphthous stomatitis, also called a canker sore, causes formation of blisters on the tender tissues of your mouth. It comes with symptoms like pain and difficulty in eating. 

Other types and causes of blisters include bug bites, fungal infections, impetigo, burns, allergic eczema, and virus infections like shingles and chickenpox.

Symptoms of Blisters

The symptoms of blisters depend on the underlying diseases or conditions. Some of the common symptoms include:

  • Rash
  • Itching
  • Pain
  • Fatigue
  • Burning sensation
  • Tingling sensation
  • Joint pain
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Loss of appetite
  • Flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache, and aches

You need to seek medical care if you have blisters and experience serious symptoms such as:

  • High fever
  • Joint pain and swelling
  • Swallowing difficulty
  • Electrical injury
  • Exposure to toxic chemicals or extreme temperatures
  • Unconsciousness 
  • Respiratory or breathing difficulties
  • Sudden swelling of the face, lips, tongue or mouth
  • Redness, increased pain, pus, and warmth of affected area

Treatment for Blisters

Blisters usually heal on their own. But you can make use of a bandage, moleskin padding, or tape to keep it clean and avoid breaking open. Do not pop a blister to prevent it from rubbing or friction. If it is big and causes extreme discomfort, your doctor may puncture it with a sterile needle. If a blister pops, wash the area with soap and water and apply antibiotic ointment. Use bandage to cover it when you are active. Consult your doctor immediately if your experience symptoms like fever, chills, or if your blister looks infected.

Additional Read: What is Skin Psoriasis and How to Effectively Treat Symptoms of Different Types?

An important thing to remember that you can follow home remedies for fungal infections, burns or other causes of blisters. But if your blisters or skin diseases symptoms worsen, get medical help immediately. Consult your doctor if you get blisters in throat or blisters on tongue. To do this with ease, you can first book an online doctor consultation
on Bajaj Finserv Health. Talk to a dermatologist to get the best advice for blisters on skin. Then you can make a physical visit if required and get your skin back to normal.

Blisters: How Do They Form and What are Some Effective Treatments?-banner

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