Got Blisters? What They Are And How A Dermatologist Can Help You Treat Them

Posted on: 21 November 2016


Most people who have ever gotten a blister know that it is a bubble of fluid under the skin and that it got there because of constant rubbing. However, what you may not know is what the fluid is, and why you should not relieve it if you do not need to. In addition to knowing more about blisters, you should know when you need help from a dermatologist to treat the blisters and how the dermatologist will treat them.

The Fluid Is Lymph

The fluid trapped in a blister bubble is lymph, the same kind of fluid that flows through the lymph nodes throughout your body. It exists for the purpose of healing injuries to the body, and a blister is just that—an injury. The top layer of skin has sheared away from the layers beneath it, leaving a wound under the closed skin of the blister. The body activates the lymph nodes closest to the blister, and then moves the lymph into that space between the sheared layer and the wound underneath. The reason why you are always told not to pop a blister is that the lymph fluid is doing its job, healing the wound and helping the sheared layer reconnect to the rest of the skin.

When You Should Seek Help from a Dermatologist

You should seek help from a dermatologist if the blister fills with blood and grows really dark. At this point, the blood filling the blister could be indicative of a problem with the clotting factors in your body, or it may indicate that a vein or artery near the blister has been damaged. While the body may still try to heal itself, it could still take a turn for the worse. Seeing a dermatologist will make sure that your body is doing what it needs to and nothing more serious is happening. If the blister turns really dark, fetid, or appears to be spreading outward, you should definitely see a dermatologist for treatment.

What the Dermatologist Will Do

If the blister looks "off" in any way, the dermatologist will want to treat it right away. He/she will cleanse and sterilize it and then make an incision in the blister. Applying a little pressure, the dermatologist will drain the blister completely, and then irrigate it to remove any old blood or infection. Finally, a topical antibiotic may be used to treat signs of an infection, and then the blister is bandaged. Your dermatologist will instruct you to keep an eye on the blister and keep the bandage clean. It should get better, but if it does not, report back to your dermatologist to see what can be done.