Blisters are little fluid-filled bubbles that form on the skin. You might have had a friction blister if you’ve ever worn poorly fitting shoes that rubbed against your feet.
Blisters are also a primary symptom of dyshidrosis, or dyshidrotic eczema. In fact, this condition is marked by blisters on the feet or hands or both.
In dyshidrotic eczema, small blisters may form in or on the:
- palms of your hands
- soles of your feet
- edges of your fingers and toes
Unlike friction blisters, which often only cause mild irritation, eczema blisters may be intensely itchy. They may also burn or be very painful.
As the small cluster of blisters heal, the skin beneath them turns red and dries out. This, in turn, causes skin to crack or peel.
Eczema blisters often clear up on their own within a few weeks, but it can be uncomfortable waiting for them to go away. Fortunately, several treatments may relieve the discomfort caused by itching and burning.
First, do your best manage your eczema. This can reduce flare-ups and blisters.
Phototherapy and calcineurin creams are two common treatments a dermatologist may recommend to treat the blisters. Your doctor may also suggest topical steroids, sometimes used alongside dupilimumab, an injection treatment approved a few years ago by the
When used for a short period of time, topical steroids may clear up your skin. Side effects can be serious, so it’s important to talk with your doctor about the impact of prolonged use.
To prevent your skin from drying out and cracking, apply a thick moisturizing cream every day. Try to find moisturizers that contain ceramides. These are ingredients that help repair your skin’s natural barrier.
Wash any affected areas of skin daily with a gentle, fragrance-free cleanser. While your skin is still damp, apply a moisturizing cream. Apply until it has fully absorbed.
Avoid products with the potential to irritate your skin. Try to buy fragrance-free cosmetics, perfumes, and soaps. Wear gloves to protect your hands when you use household cleaners, which may contain harsh ingredients.
Sometimes eczema blisters can get infected. Your doctor can test your skin for bacteria and prescribe antibiotics to treat infections.
Eczema blisters are filled with a clear fluid that seeps in from nearby tissues when there’s an injury to your skin. In the case of eczema, the injury happens from inflammation.
The fluid in blisters, called serum, is normally in the spaces surrounding your cells. The serum helps deliver nutrients and other materials to your cells and remove wastes from them.
The fluid contains:
- glucose (sugar)
- sodium (salt)
- fatty acids
- minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium
Though it might be tempting to pop the blisters, especially if they itch or hurt, try to resist the urge. Popping blisters can actually cause more pain and give bacteria a chance to get under your skin and cause an infection.
It’s also important not to scratch or pick at the blisters. You want to try to keep the area clean to keep bacteria out.
Plus, the serum gathered in the blister protects the skin from infection. Popping the blister would release the serum, removing that protection.
Depending on the size of your blisters and your discomfort level, you may ask a healthcare professional to drain your blisters. More often than not, though, dyshidrosis blisters tend to be very small and typically aren’t drainable.
It’s understandable to want immediate relief when your hands or feet are covered in itchy, painful blisters. A few treatments can help your blisters dry up faster, though there’s no single cure at this time.
You can make yourself more comfortable by:
- applying cool compresses to your skin 2 to 4 times per day, for 15 minutes at a time
- rubbing on a prescription steroid cream to reduce inflammation and help the blisters clear
- taking an antihistamine after discussing with your doctor
- trying an anesthetic anti-itch medication such as pramoxine
To prevent these itchy and painful blisters in the first place, try to avoid your eczema triggers. Manage stress and stay away from irritants like harsh chemicals, soaps, and detergents.
There isn’t a real cure for eczema blisters. You may have symptom flare-ups that come and go over time.
Working with your doctor to manage your eczema with medication and other treatments can help prevent these painful, itchy blisters.