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What Do Friction Blisters Look Like? What to Know and What to Do About It


I was a tomboy as a kid.

In many ways, I still am. I love the outdoors; I am very active, and I do not hesitate to take on a physical challenge. Thus, I have been riddled with friction blisters my whole life. 

My first experience was as a young girl on the monkey bars and parallel bars on the playground. I spent hours before, during, and after school maneuvering those bars, and my hands suffered the consequences. 

Later, as I became a runner and a softball player, the backs of my ankles suffered as I broke in pair after pair of shoes. 

Friction blisters are not fun, and I have had every kind known to man. 

Now, I get to help my children as they develop blisters and struggle to cope with the pain that can come alongside them. 

Still, many people wonder, “what do friction blisters look like?” How do you know if what you have is a friction blister or something else? 

Table of Contents: 

  • What Do Friction Blisters Look Like?
  • 5 Best At-Home Treatments for Friction Blisters
  • Natural Is Best
  • Essential Oils that May Help

What Do Friction Blisters Look Like?

friction blisters

A friction blister is as easy to spot as it is easy to remember how you got it. You might be surprised when you find it on your body, but it should be relatively easy to remember how it got there. 

Unlike the bumps and bruises, we sometimes get and have to think, “how did that happen?” 

“Oh, right! I rammed my leg into my bedpost. Duh.” (Is that just me?)

A friction blister is raised skin that forms a little pocket of air and sometimes clear pus. If it is punctured and not treated, it can bleed, which makes the pus appear a reddish-brown color. Typically, my blisters have been mostly air-filled, but I have also had the ones that are filled to the brim with liquid, so much so that they look as though they will burst. 

A friction blister is caused by just what it sounds like – your skin rubbing back and forth against something, causing friction. 

At first, the top layers of your skin will simply come off. If the friction continues, however, say you are walking or running in new shoes, an air pocket will form between the layers of your skin. 

Enter the friction blister. 

It usually is not painful at first, but it can become irritating, and if it is scraped off by more friction, it will not only bleed, it will also be painful. 

Now you have an open wound to contend with. It is best to avoid this ending. 

5 Best At-Home Treatments for Friction Blisters

Leave It Alone

Seriously, the best advice for dealing with a friction blister is just to leave it alone. The air pocket will eventually close on itself, the dead skin will fall away, and the new skin will be more prepared to heal than if you insist on interfering. 

Mind you, I say all this as someone who has never left a single blister I have had alone. 

Apply Aloe Vera

If you have an aloe vera plant on hand, you can apply it to your blister and wait it out. Two or three times a day, apply the gel-like substance and let it sit in the open air. 

Aloe vera is a helpful plant for skin conditions, and blisters are no exception. 

Eucalyptus Oil

Another safe option is eucalyptus oil. If you do not have any on hand, it is a wonderful investment for your naturopathic shelf as you can also use it for respiratory relief and simple relaxation techniques. 

For blisters, mix with a small amount of olive oil and let sit, just like with aloe vera. 

Pop It

This approach has always been my go-to. When it comes to things appearing on my skin, I have zero patience. 

I clean the area, take a sanitized needle or pair of nail clippers, and make a small hole. Then push the blister close to your skin to release the fluid. 

Keep the area clean while it heals. 

Petroleum Jelly

If your blister pops, or if you decide to pop it yourself, apply petroleum jelly to the cleaned, opened blister to prevent dirt from getting in, which could encourage infection. Petroleum jelly is great to have on hand for open wounds for this reason. 

Natural Is Best

In most cases, I am going to tell you that natural is best. The healthiest and longest living societies have at-home remedies and trust their knowledge in plant medicine. 

They use pharmaceuticals and doctors rarely and in emergencies. Running to see the doctors is a terribly new concept. 

Of course, if you are experiencing acute pain or have an emergency, please do see a doctor. 

In the case of friction blisters, a natural, at-home remedy is best, beyond doubt. There is no need to see a doctor, and all-natural treatments abound. 

A friction blister is a wonderful opportunity to trust in yourself to practice self-care and trust in your body to heal itself. 

You got this. 

Essential Oils that May Help

Since I referenced eucalyptus oil above, I linked the essential oils page of Wow Skin Science below. Myriad benefits can be found in essential oils, so take your time picking and choosing those you love. 

Essential Oils 

essential oils, wow, buywow

Click the links for eucalyptus oil, and navigate away to your other options, of which there are many. I have no doubt you will find yourself repeatedly adding to your cart.

Shanna Mendez

Shanna Mathews Mendez is a freelance writer and blogger on topics related to self-care, naturopathy, female empowerment, and motherhood. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and children, where she enjoys traveling, being active outdoors, and studying herbalism and plant-based remedies in her free time. Drawing on her graduate degree in comparative literature and her own life experiences, she is currently writing her first book. She can be found online at her website

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