Autumn is here and all of the fun fall activities that come along with it—apple picking at the local orchard, baking pumpkin pies, and red and yellow leaves falling to the ground.
A few days ago I spent the entire evening raking the accumulation of leaves in my backyard. After all that raking, I began to feel pain in my right hand. The excessive friction from the raking pinched my skin, and eventually led to a few tiny blisters on my fingers. These blood blisters were small (about the size of a pea), swollen, and looked like tiny red domes.
What Is a Blood Blister?
Normal blisters are filled with a clear fluid. Blood blisters are filled with blood, lymph fluids, and other body fluids trapped under the skin.
These red, fluid-filled bumps are extremely painful to touch due to bruising at the site of the blisters. That is why if they get punctured, they will ooze dark fluid. Sometimes the fluids separate from the rest of the body. They then dry up, and leave a dead-cell material inside the blister that has a texture similar to putty.
Besides my excessive raking from the friction, there are a number of other causes of blood blisters.
- Shoes that don’t fit
- Burning or scalding
- Severe sunburns
- Sudden and intense force on the skin (such as pinching)
- Skin reactions due to chemical allergens and various other irritant
- Viral skin infections like warts or herpes
- Fungal skin infections like tinea between the toes or on the soles of the feet
How to Treat Blood Blisters Immediately After Injury
Most blood blisters are not considered a major problem, and the small ones will typically heal on their own. However, you should treat blood blisters immediately after being injured. There are a few important steps to take to prevent infection to the affected area:
- First off, eliminate any pressure to the blood blister and expose it to the air. You will want to elevate the blood blister to allow the blood to flow away from the injured area. This method will reduce the likelihood of the blood blister tearing, bursting, and becoming infected.
- It is a good idea to protect the blood blister with gauze, and place the bandage loosely around the blood blister. The bandage will protect the injury from dirt and irritants that can lead to an infection, especially with small blood vessels. Each day, change the gauze on the affected area.
- For a blood blister on the toe or the bottom of the foot, a donut-shaped moleskin will protect the blister from getting infected. Also, avoid extended pressure on the blister if it is on your foot.
Natural Ways to Treat Blood Blisters at Home
What shouldn’t you do after your blood blister forms? Never pop the blister! You’ve been warned. You may be tempted, but popping the blister may delay your body’s natural healing process.
Although blood blisters are as serious as a minor bruise, some pain relief is generally necessary. That being said, some of the topical drugs fail to properly treat blood blisters. Instead, there are plenty of home remedies that safely treat blood blisters naturally. Here are some home remedies for blood blisters that naturally reduce pain and accelerate the healing process.
1. Cold ice compress
Before anything else, the first thing you should do is apply an ice pack, ice wrap, or ice compress on the injury for around 10 minutes to 30 minutes. The cold temperature will allow constriction in the blood vessels. This will help decrease swelling and prevent internal bleeding. After the first application, remove the ice. It is a good idea to apply the ice multiple times right after the injury. It is worth noting that you should avoid applying ice directly to the skin to avoid an ice burn. Ice applications are great to completely remove blood blisters caused by burns.
2. Tea tree oil
You can also treat and dry out blood blisters naturally with tea tree oil (Melaleuca alternifolia). It has many very potent healing properties, including antiseptic, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antibacterial, and antiviral properties. For the tea tree home remedy, simply dilute some tea tree oil with water and apply it to the blood blister for approximately 10 minutes. Afterward, wash away the tea tree oil with cool water. The tea tree home remedy can be used a few times daily.
3. Aloe vera gel or juice
Aloe vera gel or juice from a fresh aloe vera plant contains potent anti-inflammatory properties that treat blood blisters naturally. Aloe vera contains naturally occurring phenolic compounds called anthraquinones. Aloin and emodin are the major anthraquinones that are responsible for aloe vera’s antiviral, antibacterial, and analgesic properties. The anthraquinones in aloe vera will help the blood flush out unnecessary material from the blood blisters. Also, the saponins found in aloe vera can provide pain relief and reduce puffiness and soreness of the blood blisters by increasing cortisone production. For applying aloe vera gel, simply break open a piece of the leaf, and apply the fresh gel on the blood blisters four to five times daily. It is also effective to apply an equal combination of aloe vera gel and vitamin E oil.
4. Witch hazel
Witch hazel is another remedy known to treat skin conditions such as blood blisters. It will naturally reduce pain from the blood blister. It will also help the blood blister dry out. Witch hazel contains astringent properties like tannins, which help witch hazel reduce pain and the development of inflammation. To apply witch hazel to the skin, dab a small amount and allow it to dry. Repeat the procedure four to five times daily with a cotton ball. Use witch hazel for one to two weeks.
5. Turmeric powder
The potent phytonutrient called curcumin in turmeric is known to contain powerful anti-inflammatory properties that can treat blood blisters naturally. The antiseptic properties in turmeric also help prevent possible infections from blood blisters. Turmeric powder can easily make a paste that can also treat other skin problems, like minor burns and regular blisters. Combine one teaspoon of turmeric powder with rosewater and honey. Use the paste to treat blood blisters two to three times daily. Rinse off the mixture after it dries completely on the affected area.
Sandalwood powder or essential oil are also effective home remedies for blood blisters. In a study published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology in 2014, researchers suggest that human skin cells have an olfactory receptor for the scent of sandalwood. In other words, the scent of sandalwood can positively affect cell proliferation, which can lead to faster wound healing after the activation of the receptors. Sandalwood and its essential oil also have many important properties, including astringent, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, emollient, and disinfectant activity. Sandalwood powder can combine with rosewater. Apply it to blood blisters and wait until it dries. Wash it off and repeat the process four to five times daily. You can also mix sandalwood essential oil with olive oil or jojoba oil, and apply the mixture to the blood blisters three to four times daily.
7. Garlic oil
The sulfur in garlic is thought to be responsible for many of its potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Garlic also contains many therapeutic properties, such as the special sulfur compound called allicin. Garlic also contains high amounts of vitamin C and selenium, which are helpful antioxidants for skin healing. For a garlic oil decoction, heat up five or six garlic cloves in a cup of olive oil until it becomes warm, for about five to 10 minutes. Let it cool to room temperature. Now it is ready to be gently massaged on the affected area. Leave the garlic oil on the blood blisters for about a half hour before washing it off.
8. Cucumber juice
Cucumber is another effective remedy to treat blood blisters. Cucumbers contain many important nutrients for skin health, including vitamin B1, vitamin C, and vitamin K. The silica in cucumber is also known to strengthen the connective tissues in the skin. You can use cucumber juice for blood blisters by dabbing the juice on the affected areas with a cotton ball. Also, try applying cucumber slices around the blood blisters. It is also a good idea to drink one to two glasses of cucumber juice daily.
9. Epsom salt
Epsom salt is a natural compound of sulfate and magnesium, which help reduce inflammation on the skin and flush toxins from the body. The sulfur in Epsom salt will also trigger reverse osmosis, which pulls out the harmful toxins through the skin. You can easily create a protective paste with Epsom salt and warm water. Apply the mixture to the blood blister, and wash it off 10 to 15 minutes later. Repeat this procedure two to three times daily. If you blood blister is on your toes, it is a good idea to soak your feet in warm water with a half cup of Epsom salt.
10. Chamomile tea
Chamomile is known to contain wound-healing abilities such as astringent, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties. Roman chamomile is often used in cosmetic preparations, and soothing and softening the skin. It is also used for skin irritations, bruises, burns, wounds, and blood blisters. Chamomile tea can be made with two to three teaspoons of dried chamomile in a teapot. Pour a cup of hot water over the tea, and steep for about three to five minutes. Next, apply the chamomile tea with a cotton ball to treat blood blisters. You can also dilute about five drops of chamomile essential oil in a tablespoon of olive oil. Use the mixture three to four times daily. Black tea bags can also reduce inflammation and pain associated with blood blisters.
Other Methods for Treating Blood Blisters
There are also other home remedies for blood blisters, including ginger. The anti-inflammatory properties in ginger called gingerols help reduce pain and inflammation. For the ginger home remedy, simply juice the ginger root, and apply the ginger juice to your affected areas on your hands or feet. Do this about five times daily.
How do you treat blood blisters on your toes and feet? Apply castor oil on the blood blister or soak your feet in lukewarm water for 15 minutes a day. This will soften the blood blister by non-invasively removing internal fluids.
It is also necessary to avoid smoking cigarettes or drinking alcohol. Avoid salty and spicy foods to help reduce the risk of aggravating the blood blister and promote the healing process.
How to Safely Drain a Blood Blister
What if your blood blister gets too large and painful? It may be time to drain it. In these circumstances, it is best to drain the blood blister under a doctor’s supervision to prevent infection. It is still possible to safely drain the infection in the comfort of your home, but there are a few things you’ll need first, including a small sewing needle and some gauze. The following steps will help you drain the blood blister:
- Sterilize the needle with rubbing alcohol or by heating it over an open flame.
- Before you begin the self-procedure, wash your hands and the blister thoroughly with water and soap.
- When you are ready, carefully and gently poke the edge of the blood blister with the sterilized needle.
- The blood and other fluids will begin to drain. Refrain from removing the roof of the blood blister, since the cover works to speed the healing process. Clean the affected area with gauze and a natural antiseptic ointment, and wrap it with a new piece of gauze for further healing.
It is not recommended to drain a blood blister if a person has a condition such as heart disease, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), diabetes, or cancer.
Sources for Today’s Article:
“How to Treat a Blood Blister,” wikiHow web site; http://www.wikihow.com/Treat-a-Blood-Blister, last accessed October 2, 2015.
“Homemade Remedies for Blood Blisters,” Rapid Home Remedies web site; http://www.rapidhomeremedies.com/remedies-for-blood-blisters.html, last accessed October 2, 2015.
Busse, D., et al., “A Synthetic Sandalwood Odorant Induces Would-Healing Processes in Human Keratinocytes via the Olfactory Receptor OR2AT4,” Journal of Investigative Dermatology, 2014, 134, 2823-2832.
“How to Treat a Blood Blister,” Enki Village web site; http://www.enkivillage.com/how-to-treat-a-blood-blister.html, last accessed October 2, 2015.
“Home Remedies To Get Rid of Blood Blisters,” My Health Tips web site, September 4, 2013; http://www.myhealthtips.in/2013/09/home-remedies-to-get-rid-of-blood-blisters.html.
“How to Get Rid of Blood Blisters,” Top 10 Home Remedies web site; http://www.top10homeremedies.com/how-to/how-to-get-rid-of-blood-blisters.html, last accessed October 2, 2015.