You stayed outdoors in the sun for too long and now have blisters to show for it. Now what? This article will explain how to treat sunburn blisters using simple home and natural remedies.
Blisters after Sunburn
Blisters are often a painful culmination of sunburn. They are typically a sign of deeper damage to the skin and can affect any part of the body, including the lips.
In mild cases of sunburn, usually called first degree sunburn, only the top layer of the skin is damaged. Severe cases however often cause damage to lower layers of skin as well. When that happens, the two layers of skin (top and lower) get detached.
In addition, the damaged cells in the lower layers of skin lead to an accumulation of water-like fluid that then collects in the blisters. The intensity of sunburn and blisters depend on factors such as skin type, intensity of exposure (e.g. what time of day) and the period of exposure.
Should You Pop Sunburn Blisters
Sunburn blisters are pretty ugly and unsightly and often give you the urge to pop them out. The question then arises, “should you pop sunburn blisters”.
Well, your best bet is to leave the blisters alone. After all, blisters are there to protect your skin as it heals. This is especially true for small blisters about the size of a pea, including blood blisters.
It is also a good idea to cover the blister using a loose bandage. You should also try as much as possible to keep the blister unbroken.
Painful large blisters may, however, benefit from draining them according to the WebMD website. Should you decide to go that route however, care should be taken to avoid infection.
NB: Patients suffering from conditions such as cancer, diabetes, HIV and heart disease should refrain from draining their blisters.
Here is how to go about draining blisters safely:
- Sterilize a needle or straight pin using an alcohol rub
- Gently make a small hole at the edge of the blister
- Drain the fluid in the blister by pushing it gently towards the hole
- Clean the area gently with soap and water. Never use iodine, hydrogen peroxide, or alcohol. Leave the flap of skin intact over the blister unless it is very dirty, torn, or contains pus beneath it. Simply smooth it gently over the skin.
- Pat the area dry with a clean gauze and apply an antibiotic cream such as Bacitracin or Polysporin
- Cover it with a clean, non-stick bandage, but if the area suddenly becomes itchy, discontinue using the antibiotic cream as it could be causing a skin reaction
- Change the bandage as soon as it is required – once daily at the very least – to keep it clean and dry.
- If you feel scared or unsure about all this, see your GP.
How to Treat Sunburn Blisters or What to Do For Sunburn Blisters or How to Heal Sunburn Blisters
What to do for sunburn blisters is a common concern among members of online forums. Well, they typically heal on their own, but there are numerous interventions available to decrease pain and other symptoms, and prevent infection.
With that in mind, here is how to treat sunburn blisters:
Treating small sunburn blisters
As we have already mentioned, most blisters don’t merit being popped out since that is not only painful but can also lead to infection and sometimes scarring. Just leave the blisters intact and they will heal away on their own.
In the meantime, you will want to:
- Stay away from activities that might cause them to burst.
- Apply some aloe vera juice or gel on the blisters.
- Apply an over-the-counter antibiotic ointment such as Bacitracin or Polysporin on the blisters if you suspect infection. If the blisters however get itchy, stop using the ointment.
- Take OTC pain relievers such as ibuprofen to relieve pain and inflammation
What to do already for broke blisters
If a sunburn blister breaks pops accidentally or on its own, clean the area gently, but leave the flap of skin intact. Next, dab some antibiotic cream on the area and cover gently with a clean bandage.
Treating large, painful sunburn blisters
Large, painful blisters may benefit from draining according to the WebMD website. You should however be careful to avoid infection. We have already described the right procedure for draining a blister in a previous section of this article.
Once you have popped out the sunburn blister, clean the area with soap and water, apply some antibiotic cream, and cover the blister with a clean, non-stick bandage. Change it as frequently as is needed to keep it dry and clean, once every day at the very least.
When to contact a doctor:
It is important to see a doctor if you have fever or if there are signs of dehydration, heat exhaustion, or shock. Some of the symptoms and signs to watch out for are:
- Nausea, chills, and fever
- Increasing and pulsating pain
- Rapid breathing or increased pulse rate
- Feeling dizzy and weak
- Extreme thirst and sunken eyes; these may be signs of dehydration
Home Remedies for Sunburn Blisters – Sunburn Blister Remedies
If you are a lover of home remedies who prefer to seek professional medical attention as a last resort, then you will delight to know that most cases of sunburn blisters will heal in a just a few days.
You might however want to relieve symptoms, prevent infection and aid the healing process by first of all avoiding further exposure to sunlight and then adopting one or more of the following measures into your treatment routine:
- Soothe the sunburned skin around the blisters by applying cool soaks
- Apply some aloe vera juice or gel on the blisters.
- Cover the blisters with a non-stick bandage
- Drink plenty of water to stay adequately hydrated
- Take over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) to relieve the pain
Sunburn Blisters Relief for itching
Sunburn blisters often get itchy and might give you a strong urge to scratch them. You should however never scratch blisters as this not only irritates the skin further but can also lead to serious infection.
Instead you will want to keep the skin surrounding the blisters cool by getting regular cool soaks or showers. Applying some Aloe Vera may also help to soothe the skin. If you have been applying an antibiotic ointment, discontinue its use as it could be the one irritating the skin.
How to Get Rid Of Sun Blisters Naturally or What to Put On Sunburn Blisters
If you came to this page looking to learn how to get rid of sun blisters naturally, then your best bet would be to just leave them alone and avoid the temptation to break them.
What to put on broken blisters: Nevertheless you can never rule out the possibility of blister break-out. This could for example, happen while you sleep or after an accidental trauma to a blister. Should that happen wash the blisters gently with soap and water and soap, pat gently with a clean gauze, and cover them with a clean, non-stick bandage.
For intact blisters, the following measures can help to relieve them of pain and other symptoms while preventing infection:
1. Drink plenty of water: Sunburn typically steals away skin moisture. This explains why sunburned skin looks dry. Intake of adequate water and non-caffeinated fluids can help to restore skin moisture and aid the healing process
2. Cool soaks and showers: This is one of the best natural remedies for sunburn blisters. It not only reduces inflammation but also reduces pain by dissipating away the heat retained in the skin.
To use this natural remedy, soak a washcloth in cold water (never ice), wring it to remove excess water and place it on the skin around the blisters. Repeat the process 2 to 3 times a day.
3. Aloe vera: This succulent African plant has been shown to be so effective in treatment of burns, including sunburns. Applying aloe vera juice on sunburned skin, and blisters, helps to reduce pain while moisturizing the skin. This speeds up the healing process.
An easy way to use this remedy is to take a fresh aloe vera leaf and cut it down the middle to get the gel before applying it directly on the blisters. The gel will then dry and be absorbed by the skin and there is no need to rinse it off. You can as well apply one of the commercial aloe vera gel products that are available in most drugstores.
4. Potato: Potatoes are widely recognized for their pain relieving properties. To use this remedy, cut clean, peeled potatoes into thin slices and then put them in a blender to make a fine paste. Apply the paste gently on the blisters and leave it on until it dries. Finally wash it off with cold water. Repeat this process once daily until the blisters have healed.