Blisters are usually due to the application of repetitive shearing forces on the skin. This can occur on your feet, hands, fingers or toes. These shearing forces cause fluid to leak between the layers of the skin, resulting in the loss of the “glue” that hold the skin cells together. Because of occupational and recreational activities, blisters in men are very common.
So, what do you do if you get a blister after a long run or during a hike? At Vorteil, we suggest preventing blister infection by cleansing the skin in the area. If the blister has already popped, wash with gentle soap and water to remove any bacteria and dirt. Antiseptic wipes are fine to use, as long as the alcohol in the wipe does not cause excessive stinging. After cleaning, apply a bland blister ointment, such as Vaseline or Aquaphor. Neosporin will do, however studies have shown it doesn’t prevent infection any better than to treat blisters naturally with Vaseline and will also cause an allergic reaction in about 1-2% of men.
If the blister is still not popped, it is OK to do so. Just make sure that you wash the area with soap and water (or an alcohol swab) before hand and use a sterile needle. After the fluid seeps out and is drained, leave the blister roof intact. This method ensures the important healing molecules, such as fibroblast growth factor, stay in the blister and help it heal faster.
Once the blister is clean and drained, you goal is to cover it to prevent further friction (and shearing forces) to the skin in the area. 2nd skin and Spenco make a great adhesive called a hydrogel, which basically is a network of synthetic fibers that is highly absorbent. This will help keep the blister dry (and reduce friction). Can’t make it to the store? Simply applying lip balm to the area will have a similar effect because it reduces friction on the blister skin and surrounding tissue.
On the days after, keep the area clean and apply Vaseline to the area once daily. Cover with a Bandaid. Always keep the area moist, (ie: you don’t have to let the area “breathe”) because studies have shown that moist wound environments heal the best.
Vorteil’s Bottom Line: Blisters are caused by shearing forces on the skin. The best way to treat it is to keep the area clean and moist.
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