If a blister isn't too painful, try to keep it intact. Unbroken skin over a blister may provide a natural barrier to bacteria and decreases the risk of infection. Cover it with a bandage or moleskin. Cut a piece of moleskin into a doughnut shape and place the pad so that it encircles and protects the blister. Then cover the blister and moleskin with gauze.

Seek medical care if the blister looks infected. If you have diabetes or poor circulation, call your doctor before treating the blister yourself.

How to drain a blister

To relieve blister-related pain, drain the fluid while leaving the overlying skin intact. Here's how:

  • Wash your hands and the blister with soap and warm water.
  • Swab the blister with iodine.
  • Clean a sharp needle with rubbing alcohol.
  • Use the needle to prick the blister in several spots near the edge. Let the fluid drain, but leave the overlying skin in place.
  • Apply an ointment such as petroleum jelly to the blister and cover it with a nonstick gauze bandage. If a rash appears, stop using the ointment.
  • Follow-up care. Check the area every day for infection. After several days, use a tweezers and scissors sterilized with rubbing alcohol to cut away the dead skin. Apply more ointment and a bandage.

Blister prevention

To prevent friction blisters on your feet, wear shoes that fit well. It also helps to use moisture-wicking socks. Try the various socks, shoes and insoles that are designed specifically to help reduce blistering. You might also try attaching moleskin to the inside of your shoes where it might rub. Or you can dust the inside of your socks with foot powder. Gloves help prevent blisters on your hands.

From Mayo Clinic to your inbox

Sign up for free, and stay up to date on research advancements, health tips and current health topics, like COVID-19, plus expertise on managing health.

To provide you with the most relevant and helpful information, and understand which information is beneficial, we may combine your email and website usage information with other information we have about you. If you are a Mayo Clinic patient, this could include protected health information. If we combine this information with your protected health information, we will treat all of that information as protected health information and will only use or disclose that information as set forth in our notice of privacy practices. You may opt-out of email communications at any time by clicking on the unsubscribe link in the e-mail.

Feb. 25, 2022