Blisters are fluid filled pockets that form on the skin in response to friction, heat, or infections. Blisters can heal on their own, but natural products can help speed up the healing process.
The epidermis, or the upper layer of skin, acts as a physical barrier between the lower layers of the skin and the external environment. The skin here forms blisters to protect itself from irritation, such as constant rubbing or pressure.
Blisters also give the skin time to heal. People should avoid popping or opening a blister because the skin keeps germs out and prevents infection.
Continue reading to learn more about the best natural home remedies for blisters.
Blisters on the feet and toes usually develop as a result of friction.
Wearing poorly fitting shoes is a common cause of friction blisters. Wearing strappy sandals such as flip flops, which have the potential to rub against the toes, can lead to friction blisters on the inside of the big toe.
Blisters in these locations can resolve quickly if the person addresses the cause of the irritation.
For example, if a pair of shoes is causing blisters, switching to a better fitting or more comfortable pair for a few days will give the skin time to heal.
Instead of wearing sandals with straps or high heeled shoes, try wearing comfortable, close-toed shoes for a few days to give the feet time to heal.
People can also cover their blisters with adhesive bandages or gauze pads to prevent further friction. Applying Vaseline to the area before covering it can also be helpful, as this will reduce friction in the area.
Natural remedies for blisters on the feet, toes, and heels include:
1. Aloe vera
Aloe vera leaves contain a gel-like substance that is well known for its healing properties.
One systematic review concludes that the compounds inside aloe vera gel reduce inflammation, increase collagen production, and stimulate cellular regeneration, which can promote more efficient wound healing.
According to the findings of a 2018 randomized controlled trial, aloe vera gel improved healing in people who underwent skin grafting operations for burn wounds. Although aloe vera gel demonstrated impressive healing benefits, it did not lead to significant pain relief.
People can purchase ointments and skin products that contain aloe vera over the counter. They can also apply pure aloe vera gel directly to the blister.
People should note that none of these studies looked at aloe vera for friction blisters. There is no guarantee that aloe vera would provide any more benefit than something such as plain Vaseline or using nothing at all.
However, given the low risk of any side effects, it may be worth trying.
Plain petroleum jelly is a favorite among dermatologists for the treatment of wounds.
Although the blister itself will act as a covering for the wound, if it happens to break, a person can cover the area with Vaseline and a bandage. This may promote healing of the area.
Blisters on the fingers and palms of the hands can occur as a result of a skin condition called dyshidrotic eczema, or dyshidrosis.
Dyshidrosis is a type of eczema that causes dry, itchy skin and small blisters on the hands and feet.
There is no cure for dyshidrosis, and flare-ups usually last between 2–3 weeks, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.
Although several over-the-counter and prescription treatment options exist for eczema conditions, the National Eczema Association estimate that more than 50% of people with the condition use complementary and alternative medicine to treat their symptoms. It is best to use complementary medicine as an addition to conventional therapy.
Natural remedies for dyshidrosis and other eczema-related blisters include:
Although calendula appears safe for external use, it can cause contact dermatitis. People using calendula for the first time should test a small amount on their skin before using it to treat blisters or other sensitive areas of skin.
4. Coconut oil
People can dip a cotton ball into melted coconut oil and gently tap the oil onto the blister.
Viral infections can cause blisters to develop on the lips.
HSV-1 infection causes recurrent cold sores, which are small blisters or pus bumps that appear around the mouth and on the lips.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), HSV-1 infections affected roughly 48.1% of people ages 14–49 in the United States in 2015–2016.
Cold sores usually heal on their own, but they can cause swelling, pain, and irritation.
One natural remedy for cold sores on the lips is lemon balm:
5. Lemon balm
Compounds inside Melissa officinalis, also known as lemon balm, may have antiviral effects.
According to one 2017 review article, lemon balm may suppress HSV during the early stages of infection.
Lemon balm may also help reduce the inflammation and pain associated with HSV infections.
People can dilute lemon balm oil with water and apply the mixture to a cold sore using a cotton swab.
Although it is not possible to prevent some types of blister — such as those that are related to dyshidrosis — people can prevent friction blisters.
Blisters do heal on their own without causing complications, but they can often interfere with daily activities, such as walking.
Following these tips can help prevent friction blisters from developing altogether:
- Wear well fitting, comfortable shoes.
- Wear loose fitting, moisture wicking clothes while exercising.
- Apply soft bandages in problem areas, such as the feet, heels, and thighs.
Blisters develop on the skin for a number of reasons. The treatment options vary depending on the cause.
Common causes of blisters include prolonged friction, eczema-related skin conditions, and infections such as HSV-1.
Remedies that may prove beneficial for people with blisters include:
- aloe vera
- coconut oil
- lemon balm
However, there is not enough scientific evidence to support the routine use of these natural remedies on their own.
It is best always to speak to a doctor to see if combining these remedies with more conventional treatments, such as Valtrex for a cold sore outbreak, may help speed up the healing process.