What are the Most Common Causes of Hand Blisters?

Meshell Powell

Hand blisters can be a troublesome problem for patients of all ages. The most common causes of hand blisters are friction injuries or a skin condition known as eczema. A blister is basically an injured area of skin that develops a bubble-like appearance due to the accumulation of fluid between the layers of skin. In most cases, the blister should not be popped because an infection could result. The typical course of treatment for most blisters, especially those caused by friction, is to the cover the blister with a bandage or piece of gauze and allow it to heal naturally.

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

Friction is by far the most common cause of hand blisters. This can occur due to any type of repetitive movement, such as raking leaves or sweeping the floors at home. This type of injury is relatively common but does not generally require medical attention. Patients with certain medical conditions, however, including diabetes, should allow a doctor to look at any type of skin injury.

Dyshidrosis eczema can cause hand blisters.
Dyshidrosis eczema can cause hand blisters.

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A certain type of eczema known as dyshidrosis frequently causes multiple hand blisters. The blisters caused by this skin condition often itch and cause pain at the same time. These blisters can be prone to infection when they break open. It is therefore often advisable to apply an antibiotic ointment to the affected area before covering it with a bandage. A doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of skin conditions, called a dermatologist, should be consulted if dyshidrosis is suspected, as this condition can be particularly difficult to self-treat.

Raking leaves may cause hand blisters.
Raking leaves may cause hand blisters.

Burns are another potential cause of hand blisters. In this instance, the blistered hand should be gently washed in sterilized water or hydrogen peroxide. The patient should be careful to pat the skin when drying and avoid rubbing. The affected area should then be covered very loosely with sterile gauze to prevent bacteria from entering the wound. The patient should then report to a medical professional right away for further treatment.

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

Regardless of the reason for hand blisters, the patient should never attempt to pop one of these blisters, as doing so greatly increases the risk of infection. There are many types of bacteria that have become immune to several of the antibiotics that are currently available, so it is best to avoid the chances of contamination by these bacteria. If the blister needs to be popped, it should be done by a medical professional under sterile conditions.

A water blister on a finger.
A water blister on a finger.

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Discussion Comments

fBoyle

My sister manages to burn her hand almost every week. She loves cooking and baking but hasn't learned to protect herself. Once or twice her burns formed into blisters. She got another one just last week and I caught her almost popping it with a needle!

That's so bad. No one should pop blisters on their fingers and hands because first of all, it has a protective liquid that the body forms to heal the burn faster. In other types of blisters, especially ones caused by viruses, the virus will spread if the blisters are popped. Blisters should be left to pop naturally on their own.

burcidi

I get blisters on my hands all the time from weight lifting. I guess its from chafing. Is there a way to prevent this?

bear78

I had viral blisters on my left hand as a child. First I had just one, then it became two, then three and then four. They were also growing in size.

I remember that my mom tried various different topical medications but nothing worked. Finally I had to have them removed at the hospital. They burned the blisters with laser and scraped them off.

It wasn't painful but I remember that my hand smelled like smoke for weeks. It was very weird! I also still have scars from the blisters. I guess this was the best removal method back then. If the same happened now, I wouldn't get this treatment because of the scars.

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