Three ingredients create the perfect recipe for a blister to form: heat, moisture, and friction between the skin and a fixed object.
Blisters plague all of us now and then, and you may see them more often among your more sports-minded clients. According to Cincinnati-based dermatologist Brian B. Adams, three ingredients create the perfect recipe for a blister to form: heat, moisture, and friction between the skin and a fixed object. “Athletes who use handheld equipment, like tennis racquets, or those who spend a lot of time running or making frequent stops and starts experience the type of friction that creates a blister,” he says. You can let clients know that the best way to prevent blisters is to put distance between the skin and the object causing friction.
Advise clients who frequently get blisters on their feet to wear synthetic, moisture-wicking socks, which not only provide a barrier against friction but also keep the skin cool and dry. “Those who feel a ‘hot spot’ where a blister is starting to form can attempt to stop it by wearing an extra pair of socks or by applying petroleum jelly or an over-the-counter blister prevention treatment,” says Dr. Adams. “Athletes also may want to utilize a shoe-lacing technique that reduces the likelihood of blisters by redistributing pressure on the foot and ankle.”
When clients do get a blister, they may feel the urge to remove the skin in order to get the fluid out, but Dr. Adams advises against this. Instead, he recommends they drain it through one small point and keep the rest of the blister as intact as possible, since the skin provides good natural protection to promote healing. “It’s important to keep the blister clean, and sufferers may also want to apply petroleum jelly,” he says. If a blister shows any sign of infection — warmth, redness, or getting better and then getting worse — advise your client to consult a dermatologist.