SEP 24, 2016 7:14 AM PDT

When to Pop a Blister and When to Leave it Alone

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

If you've ever walked a distance in uncomfortable, too-tight shoes that pinched your feet, you've likely come away with some painful souvenirs in the form of blisters. But as tempting as it is to pop these fluid-filled bubbles, scientists say this may cause more harm than good.

Blisters form when skin surfaces have been rubbed repeatedly. The friction irritates the epidermis and causes the skin layers to separate. This split allows fluid to fill the cavity, leaving the telltale squishy and painful bump.

Most of the time, stopping the friction and leaving the blister well alone is the best remedy. Popping the blister could provide an open access to germs and other microbes into the body, which could easily lead to infection. Only in cases when the friction can't be paused do experts say to pop the blister. But while you can do this at home, the key to minimize infection is to keep the site sterile and the opening as small as possible. Watch the video to learn more!
About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
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