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What are Different Types of Skin Blisters?

Skin blisters come in various forms, from friction-induced to those signaling infection or chronic conditions. They can appear as clear, fluid-filled pockets or pus-filled sores, each type offering clues about your health. Herpes simplex, chickenpox, and eczema are just a few causes. Discover the underlying stories your skin tells and how to respond—your body's first line of defense may surprise you. What does your skin reveal?
Patti Kate
Patti Kate

There are various types of skin blisters, among the most common being burn blisters, blood blisters, and water blisters. Epidermal blisters occur on the outer layer of skin, or what is known as the epidermis. Most skin blisters caused by burns are classified as second-degree burn injuries. Fever blisters occur after an infection and subsequent fever. Cluster blisters occur in small groups or clusters and may be due to infection or other factors.

Skin blisters can vary in size, ranging from the a tiny pea-sized blister to a large blister that covers a wider area on the body. Blisters that are caused by over exposure to the sun's ultra violet rays are known as sunburn blisters. Most sunburn blisters are localized to one general area of the body, although some sunburn blisters may form over a wide area of exposed skin. Blisters that form from a sunburn are generally painful and can be accompanied by peeling, red, and itchy skin. Redness and inflammation may also be present.

A cold sore.
A cold sore.

Blisters are pockets of liquid-filled skin that form underneath the epidermis. This fluid is also known as serum. After several days, depending upon the size of the blister, it will pop or erupt and the fluid will drain from the blistered skin, to expose a new growth of skin. In some cases, excess fluid from the pocket of skin will become absorbed back into the body naturally.

A water blister caused by friction.
A water blister caused by friction.

Water blisters contain clear liquid and are typically small in size. Most often, these types of blisters are caused by chafing and irritation against an area of the skin. May people suffer from water blisters due to wearing improperly fitted shoes, and runners and athletes are typically prone to this. Water blisters are generally harmless and mild and most require no treatment, other than to keep the area clean and free of friction.

Wearing proper fitting shoes can help prevent blisters.
Wearing proper fitting shoes can help prevent blisters.

Blood blisters contain small amounts of blood that have accumulated from small broken capillaries or vessels within the skin. These blisters are typically characterized by excess swelling. Most commonly created due to an injury surrounding the skin caused by impact, a blood blister will typically appear deep red in color.

Fever blisters occur on the mouth and may be accompanied by cold sores or develop on their own. This type of blister is caused by a virus and may be contagious. The herpes virus also causes fever blisters and cold sores and is actually quite common. Blisters of this nature may cause skin irritation and burning. Itching and peeling is also common. Fever blisters are best left to heal on their own without any intervention or treatment.

A man with poison ivy blisters on his hand.
A man with poison ivy blisters on his hand.

For most types of blisters, many doctors are against popping. By doing so, the area is more prone to becoming infected, unless kept extremely clean and germ free. Typically, a blister will erupt on its own, and when this happens, the individual may apply some antibiotic ointment, if well tolerated with no allergic reaction. The area should be kept free from dirt and germs, and may be bandaged with a sterile pad.

Viral skin infections may cause blood blisters.
Viral skin infections may cause blood blisters.

Most people can treat skin blisters with in-home care with no complications. If the blisters cover a large area of the body, however, this may require medical treatment to prevent infection. Signs of infection are redness, pain, increased swelling, and drainage of pus. If infection is suspected, the individual should seek immediate medical attention.

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Discussion Comments


In relation to the last post, I'm also worried that it's some sort of cancer or lethal disease. If it helps, I only noticed it when I closed the joint and my rubbed against the blister. It doesn't itch, but burns when it is touched and I'm slightly worried about that. Any ideas on what it is or why it's on my right arm?


I have a weird blister on my bicep which has a small loop at the top which links to a larger blister which is more swollen and links to a smaller blister. Does anyone have any ideas on what it is and how to deal with it?


I've found more than 100 small water blisters or pimples over all my all body (face, head, hands, back, stomach, etc.). It's a little bit itchy. What is it?


Have you heard of a blister called fitzers or maybe phitzers?


My son had a water type blister on his outer calf and later that day it like, seeped back into his skin. He said he had one his arm that did that; it was there one day and he woke up the next day and it was gone. What kind of blisters are those?


Are blisters (not water blisters) necessarily the result of skin diseases, or can there be an alternative explanation?

I have several clusters of blisters forming on my forearm, but they're not water blisters (they're much smaller and filled with yellow liquid instead of clear), and there's no reason for them for form as a result of friction.

I am worried that this could be some kind of skin disease, but I don't know what it might be -- I've looked at a lot of skin rash pictures, but mine don't seem to fit the bill on any of them.

What do you think could be causing this?


Exactly how bad is it to pop a blister? Because I tend to get blisters on my heels a lot from the shoes that I wear, and I really can't walk unless I pop them.

Of course, I cover them afterwards -- I use those second skin blister bandages, and neosporin -- but after reading this I'm worried that even that might not be enough, especially in the confined area of the shoe.

But what are my options if I can't pop them? Is there any way that I could keep the blisters unpopped and still wear my shoes to walk? Because as of now I still haven't found a good way.

Do you guys have any tips about this? Thanks!


I've recently been having some skin condition that causes me to have cluster blisters accompanied with a great deal of itching.

Do you think this could be a rash? I know that there are a ton of skin rashes that itch, so it's not like you could make a diagnosis just reading this, just I just want to make sure that I don't have skin cancer or something. I don't have a fever or anything, but I just can't get these stupid blisters to go away!

Are there any types of skin rashes with blisters that can be serious, or do you think that I'll be OK? And do you think I need to go to a dermatologist? It's been almost three weeks now with no improvement, and I'm dying of itching here!

What should I do?

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    • A cold sore.
      A cold sore.
    • A water blister caused by friction.
      By: Rob Byron
      A water blister caused by friction.
    • Wearing proper fitting shoes can help prevent blisters.
      By: Nikolai Sorokin
      Wearing proper fitting shoes can help prevent blisters.
    • A man with poison ivy blisters on his hand.
      By: Wild Geese
      A man with poison ivy blisters on his hand.
    • Viral skin infections may cause blood blisters.
      By: roblan
      Viral skin infections may cause blood blisters.