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How do You Care for Blisters on Your Hands?

Caring for hand blisters requires gentle attention. Start by cleaning the area with mild soap and water, then protect it with a sterile bandage. Avoid popping the blister to prevent infection. If it's painful, apply an ice pack wrapped in a cloth. For more detailed guidance, including when to seek medical advice, continue with our visual step-by-step guide. What's your go-to blister remedy?
James Junior
James Junior

A blister is a friction injury to the skin that usually fills with water. The blisters on your hands are basically areas of skin trauma where the upper surface of the skin has torn and fluid has filled the created gap. While blisters commonly form on the feet, having hand blisters can be just as uncomfortable. Surprisingly, blisters are more commonly found on moist hands than dry ones.

Hand blisters are very common in people who do manual labor that involves hand tools, such as landscapers, construction workers, iron workers, auto mechanics, machinists, wood workers, plumbers, and carpet layers. People who have hands that contain a large amount of calluses will very rarely see any blisters on their hands; this is because the skin on the calluses is thick and very durable.

Wood workers commonly experience blisters on their hands.
Wood workers commonly experience blisters on their hands.

Some people’s first inclination when they get a hand blister is to immediately pop it; this is not the right thing to do. A popped hand blister will not heal any faster than one that isn’t. However, a popped blister is much more likely to get infected than a blister that heals untouched. This is due to the lower skin layers being exposed to the elements; in that environment infection is much more likely to occur. Once a hand blister is infected, then it must be treated with prescription antibiotics in order for it to heal.

Construction workers may be susceptible to developing hand blisters.
Construction workers may be susceptible to developing hand blisters.

The best treatment for blisters on your hands is to do nothing, actually. As long as you refrain from putting pressure on the affected part of your hand while it heals, the torn layers of skin beneath the blister will grow back and the body will reabsorb the excess fluid, thus healing the blister. Of course, leaving the blisters on your hands alone to heal is only recommended if the blisters have not been popped and the affected area shows no other signs of trauma. If you notice any other abnormalities in the area of the blister, then see your physician immediately.

Plumbers may commonly experience hand blisters.
Plumbers may commonly experience hand blisters.

It is also a good idea to see your doctor if the blisters on your hands have not healed within four days or so. That’s because blisters can also be indicative of other diseases and illnesses, including chicken pox, herpes, eczema and several others. If indeed the blister is a symptom of a more serious problem, then you will want to have medical intervention as quick as possible.

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Discussion Comments

Acracadabra

I used to get a lot of eczema blisters on my hands, which is pretty much as unpleasant to live with as it sounds. I find that staying ultra hydrated helps to reduce the attacks, so I force myself to get through a few liters of water a day.

CaithnessCC

@Valencia - Have you tried the special blister pads that you can buy at the drugstore? If you're not able to keep the area dry there's a risk of infection. It may be worth see-ing a doctor and getting some special film put on the area.

I had to do that last year after I got a burn blister between my thumb and first finger. Every time I moved my hand it seemed to break the skin again. The film acts like your skin would if it was able to stay intact.

Valencia

It's really hard to leave blisters alone to heal when you have to use your hands for things! I have a really nasty one at the moment that I got from accidentally touching the stove when baking.

Now I find it is irritated by washing dishes or taking a shower. Even getting dressed is really difficult. It's driving me crazy!

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    • Wood workers commonly experience blisters on their hands.
      By: CandyBox Images
      Wood workers commonly experience blisters on their hands.
    • Construction workers may be susceptible to developing hand blisters.
      By: sattriani
      Construction workers may be susceptible to developing hand blisters.
    • Plumbers may commonly experience hand blisters.
      By: sima
      Plumbers may commonly experience hand blisters.
    • People who install carpet for a living may experience hand blisters.
      By: Greg Pickens
      People who install carpet for a living may experience hand blisters.
    • Auto mechanics may be susceptible to developing hand blisters.
      By: Linda J
      Auto mechanics may be susceptible to developing hand blisters.
    • A water blister caused by friction.
      By: Rob Byron
      A water blister caused by friction.
    • A man with poison ivy blisters on his hand.
      By: Wild Geese
      A man with poison ivy blisters on his hand.
    • Blisters can be a sign of chicken pox.
      By: Dan Race
      Blisters can be a sign of chicken pox.
    • Eczema may cause blisters on the hands.
      By: eyetronic
      Eczema may cause blisters on the hands.