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What Are Different Types of Skin Blisters?

A man with poison ivy blisters on his hand.
A cold sore.
Wearing proper fitting shoes can help prevent blisters.
A water blister caused by friction.
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  • Written By: Patti Kate
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 09 March 2014
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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. Skin 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.

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.

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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.

Blood blisters contain small amounts of blood that have accumulated from small broken capillaries or vessels within the skin. These skin 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.

For most types of skin 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.

Most people can treat skin blisters with in-home care with no complications. If skin 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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Discuss this Article

googlez
Post 10

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?

googlez
Post 9

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?

anon306297
Post 7

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?

anon292384
Post 6

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

anon291362
Post 5

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?

closerfan12
Post 3

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?

googlefanz
Post 2

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!

Charlie89
Post 1

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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