How Do I Choose the Best Cream for Blisters?

K.C. Bruning

It is often not necessary to use any kind of ointment or cream for blisters. Most small to medium blisters will heal on their own if they are sufficiently protected. Although there is no specific cream for blisters, a small amount of thinly applied antibiotic ointment can help the healing process and might be especially useful if the wound is large. The most commonly used ointments contain medications such as bacitracin or polymixin B.

Antibiotic ointment may be useful for treating blisters.
Antibiotic ointment may be useful for treating blisters.

Instead of immediately using cream for blisters, it is advisable to first try to protect the area so that it can heal without intervention. A piece of moleskin with a hole in the center is often sufficient for shielding small to medium blisters. Loosely applied gauze or bandages are often best for larger blisters. The area should be kept free of medical tape or anything else that could strain or put too much pressure on the skin around and over the blister.

A water blister can be caused by friction.
A water blister can be caused by friction.

An antibiotic ointment typically is used on a blister to speed the healing process when it has already popped. After treatment with the medication, the wound should be lightly covered, similar to the way that it is dressed to provide protection for a whole blister. The dressing typically is changed at least once a day.

Gauze pads can be used to protect bigger blisters.
Gauze pads can be used to protect bigger blisters.

There are some conditions in which a patient might want to puncture and drain a blister. This is most frequently done when the blister is particularly large or has filled with pus because of an infection. In this case, a sterilized needle usually is used to pop the blister. Then the fluid is carefully pressed out. After the blister is empty, a light application of antibiotic cream can be applied before the bandage is added.

It is wise to test a cream for blisters on a small area first. Any sensitivity to the medication will tend to be amplified on wounded areas. There also is the possibility of an allergic reaction. In most cases, a doctor will need to prescribe the antibiotic. The patient should disclose all allergies, sensitivities and products that are being used on the skin to ensure that the ointment is safe to use.

Although it can help the healing process to use a light application of cream for blisters, some other treatments can be harmful. Any sort of strong chemical or rough material can significantly slow healing. Common wound treatments such as iodine and rubbing alcohol usually cause more harm than good to tender blisters.

After applying antibiotic ointment to a blister, the wound should be lightly covered.
After applying antibiotic ointment to a blister, the wound should be lightly covered.

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Discussion Comments


@ZipLine-- It's enough for water blisters. But if you have another type, such as a blister caused by a fungal infection, you need anti-fungal cream.

Especially blisters on the foot, on and in between the toes can be caused by a fungal infection. Since the cause is not bacteria, anti-bacterial, antibiotic creams won't do anything to treat those. You need anti-fungal cream in that case, such as athlete's foot creams and ointments.

@ZipLine-- Yep, neomycin sulfate or polymyxin sulfate should be enough to keep the blister clean. But if it becomes more painful or if you notice any pus with a foul odor and odd color, you need to see a doctor. These are symptoms of an infection.

It is not advised to pop blisters. The fluid inside the blister is healthy and promotes healing. The body will heal the blister and absorb the fluid in a few days. When you pop it, you're not only delaying its healing but also giving an invitation for bacteria to enter into the blister and cause an infection.

Sometimes a blister can pop accidentally, in such cases any over-the-counter antibiotic cream will protect it. I also advise keeping a bandage on it so that the cream doesn't get wiped away. There are now bandages with the antibiotic cream already on it at the pharmacy. Those are very easy to use.


I popped a blister yesterday and drained it. I cleaned it with soap and water but it has become very red and painful. I can't wear shoes at all. I'm afraid it might be infected. I have a children's first aid antibiotic cream at home (neomycin sulfate). I apply it every time I remember, is this enough?

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