What Are the Causes of Blisters on the Hands?

Medically Reviewed on 4/11/2022

What are hand blisters?

The most common causes of blisters on the hand include eczema, friction injury, irritation from chemicals or allergens, medication reaction, infections, burns, or diabetes.
The most common causes of blisters on the hand include eczema, friction injury, irritation from chemicals or allergens, medication reaction, infections, burns, or diabetes.

Blisters are fluid-filled bubbles that appear on the skin. This fluid can be blood, pus, or the watery part of blood known as serum. You should not pop a blister unless your doctor tells you to. Popping it may cause the underlying skin to develop an infection.

Blistering on the hands has many causes, including friction, irritation, infection, or other underlying conditions. Blisters on your hands may be painful and uncomfortable.

Signs and symptoms of blisters on the hands

Due to their unique appearance, hand blisters are easy to identify. They appear as small, medium-sized, or large pockets of fluid visible on the top layer of your skin. Usually, they form on the palms or sides of your fingers.

These blisters can be painful to the touch, and the skin around the affected area may be itchy and scaly.

Types of hand blisters

Blisters are commonly named after what caused them. The three main types are:

Other types are referred to in relation to the underlying health condition.

Causes of blisters on the hands

Dyshidrotic eczema

Blisters on your hands can be caused by a skin condition called dyshidrosis, or dyshidrotic eczema. People with this condition will notice small, itchy blisters on the palms of the hands and sides of the fingers. The blisters may also appear on the soles of your feet. This condition has no cure. It comes on and clears within two to three weeks.


Rubbing your skin on an object may also cause blistering -- for example, working with a rake without using gloves.


Skin can develop blisters if it comes into contact with some chemicals or allergens. Previous studies have linked nickel-rich foods with the occurrence of blisters on the hands. Your doctor may mention contact dermatitis when referring to this issue.


Some prescription drugs can cause reactions in your body that result in blistering. Consult your doctor if you notice a blister on your skin after taking a medicine. Also, remember to tell the doctor about any reactions you had with past medication.


If you have blisters on your hands, consult your doctor. They may want to check you for other conditions like chickenpox or impetigo.


Anyone can get a blister when they are exposed to severe sunburn, touch a hot surface, or get too close to a flame.


Yes, extreme cold can give you blisters on your palms, fingers, and forearms. When an individual is exposed to cold for several hours, chilblains appear on the backs and sides of the fingers. These itchy red swellings can develop into blisters only in severe cases.


People with severe diabetes can develop blistered hands or forearms. They are usually painless and will heal on their own.


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When to see the doctor for blisters on the hands

Although most blisters will heal by themselves, you may need to consult a doctor in some situations. These include:

  • You had your last tetanus injection more than 10 years ago.
  • You have swollen lymph nodes since blisters appeared.
  • You have increased swelling and pain in the affected area.
  • You see signs of infection like the presence of pus, warm and red skin around the blister, or fever.

Diagnosis of hand blisters

In most cases, the cause of hand blisters is obvious. If it’s not, your doctor will ask about your family history and your personal medical history. The doctor may also be interested in knowing about any allergies you have and any medications you take. You may be asked whether you have come into contact with any chemicals or allergens.

If your doctor suspects an allergic reaction, they can do patch tests to identify the allergen. In some cases, a small piece of your skin may be removed to be examined in a laboratory.

Treatments for blisters on the hands

Blistering that is caused by health conditions needs special treatment. If your blister has not popped, cover it loosely with a bandage. If it has popped, wash the area using clean, warm water and mild soap. Do not peel off the skin flap. Instead, smooth it down and cover the area with a sterile bandage.

Your doctor may use any of the following to treat you:

It is best not to try draining blisters at home. Ask your doctor for advice.

How do I get rid of blisters on my fingers?

Although blisters most commonly form on feet, they can occur anywhere on the body. An excellent way to prevent blisters is to minimize chaffing, but if blisters have formed on your hands, there are some ways to get rid of them and prevent them in the future.

If a blister is not painful, you should let it stay intact. The unbroken skin over it could provide protection against bacteria and reduce the risk of infection. You can cover the blister with an adhesive bandage. Use moleskin if you don't have a bandage.

Cut moleskin into the shape of a doughnut and put it on the blister in a way that encircles the whole area. Then, use gauze to cover the moleskin and the blister.

If the blister is painful, though, you should drain it. There's a way to drain the blister without breaking the skin on the top.

  • Wash your hands with warm water and soap. Wash the blister too.
  • Use iodine to swab the blister.
  • Take a sharp needle and sterilize it with rubbing alcohol.
  • Puncture the blister with the needle. Try to poke near the edge of the blister.
  • The fluid will begin to drain. Let it drain without removing the overlying skin.
  • Put petroleum jelly or any ointment on the blister. Cover it up with a gauze bandage that does not stick to the blister.
  • If you notice a rash, don't use the ointment anymore and simply cover the area.
  • Remove the gauze bandage every day to check if the area is infected. After a few days, cut away the dead skin with a pair of scissors and tweezers. Make sure you sterilize both of them.
  • Put more ointment on the area and cover it with a bandage.

How to care for a finger blister

Wherever the blister may be, there are a few ways to care for it.

Don't pop it

If the blister doesn't hurt, you should not pop it. Most blisters occur due to minor burns or friction. New skin forms under the damaged skin, and the fluid you see in the blister absorbs back into the skin.

Although there are different types of blisters, the ones that contain serum or plasma are most common. You shouldn't pop these if they're not painful. The most you should do is open the blister's edge while leaving the skin layer intact.

Keep it clean

Keeping the blisters clean is important to prevent friction. If you have drained it, make sure you keep it covered with a bandage at all times. Change the bandage daily to keep the area protected and clean.

Care for people with diabetes

If you have diabetes, a blister could lead to more serious problems. Some risk factors in this regard are uncontrolled blood glucose levels and poor circulation. If you are noticing these symptoms and have a blister, you should consult a healthcare professional right away.

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How to prevent blisters on fingers?

The best way to prevent a blister is to be cautious. The prevention method depends on the type of blister you have.

Friction blisters

These blisters are caused due to repeated rubbing. If you want to prevent them:

  • Make sure you wear gloves on your hands if you're doing a lot of labor.
  • Wear clothes that fit properly so that chaffing does not cause blisters anywhere.

Blood blisters

A blood blister is formed when something pinches your skin. These blisters are common on hands. Although it's not easy to prevent them, you can take some measures.

  • When you're using any tools or equipment that could pinch you, be careful.
  • Wear gloves when you're using strong pliers or pruners.

Heat blisters

Head blisters are caused due to burns. You can prevent them by taking various precautions.

  • If you plan to be out in the sun for a long time, make sure to wear sunscreen on all areas exposed to the sun.
  • Be careful when holding hot pots and pans or working near a fire.
  • Avoid frostbite by wearing weather-appropriate clothing. If you get frostbite, put your hand under lukewarm water to raise the temperature of your body.

How long do blisters take to heal?

Most blisters heal on their own in just a few days. You should cover the blister with a bandage while it's healing. If you think the blister may be infected, speak to your doctor right away.

Some other signs that require immediate medical attention are redness or pus around the blister. If the blister is too painful or has swollen, you should make an appointment to see a dermatologist.

Medically Reviewed on 4/11/2022
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American Society for Surgery of the Hand: "Hand Infection."

Cleveland Clinic: "Dyshidrosis."

Deutsches Arzteblatt International: "The Diagnosis and Treatment of Autoimmune Blistering Skin Diseases."

Frontiers in Medicine: "Diagnosis of Autoimmune Blistering Diseases."

Harvard Health Publishing: "By the way, doctor: What can I do about chilblains?"

Harvard Health Publishing: "Friction Blisters."

The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology: "Dietary Nickel as a Cause of Systemic Contact Dermatitis."

MedLinePlus: "Minor burns - aftercare."

MedScape: "Dyshidrotic Eczema (Pompholyx)."

National Eczema Association: "Dyshidrotic Eczema."

Stanford Health Care: "Types of Blistering Diseases."

University of Michigan Health System (UMHS): "Medicines That Can Cause Blisters."

American Academy of Dermatology Association: "HOW TO PREVENT AND TREAT BLISTERS."

Cleveland Clinic: "Blisters", "Blisters: 5 Ways to Avoid Blisters and the Best Way to Treat Them."

Mayo Clinic: "Blisters: First aid."