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Itchy blistering skin rash: Blisters: Pictures, Causes, and Outlook

Blisters: Pictures, Causes, and Outlook

Warning: Graphic images ahead.

1. Herpes simplex

The herpes virus causes painful blisters that occur alone or in clusters, weep clear yellow fluid, and then crust over. On the mouth, it is known as a cold sore. On the genitals, it is known as genital herpes and is a sexually transmitted infection (STI).

Most often, the viruses HSV-1 and HSV-2 cause oral and genital lesions, respectively. Less commonly, HSV-1 can also cause genital herpes.

The blisters may be triggered by stress, menstruation, illness, or sun exposure. The infected site often starts to itch or tingle before the actual appearance of blisters.

Learn more about cold sores and genital herpes.

2. Impetigo

Impetigo is a common bacterial infection in babies and children. It causes an irritating rash and fluid-filled blisters that pop easily and form a honey-colored crust.

The rash is often located in the area around the mouth, chin, and nose.

Read more about impetigo.

3. Burns

This condition is considered a medical emergency. Urgent care may be required.

Burn severity is classified by depth and size: first-degree, second-degree, and third-degree. The blisters will usually form if it is a second-degree burn.

Read more about burns.

4. Contact dermatitis

Contact dermatitis appears hours to days after an area of skin has been in contact with an allergen or irritant.

The skin becomes itchy, red, scaly, or raw. Blisters can form, which weep, ooze, or become crusty.

Read more about contact dermatitis.

5. Aphthous stomatitis

Aphthous stomatitis is also known as a canker sore. it can be triggered by an infection, injury, stress, and other diseases.

The ulcers are round or oval with a red, inflamed border and yellow or white center.

Read more about canker sores.

6. Frostbite

This condition is considered a medical emergency. Urgent care may be required.

Frostbite is caused by extreme cold and can affect fingers, toes, nose, ears, cheeks, or chin.

The symptoms include numbness and discoloration of the skin, along with blisters filled with fluid or blood in severe cases.

Read more about frostbite.

7. Shingles

Shingles is caused by the varicella-zoster virus, which also causes chickenpox.

It’s a very painful rash of fluid-filled blisters, typically appearing in a linear stripe pattern on one side of the body, often accompanied by low fever, chills, headache, or fatigue.

Read more about shingles.

8. Chickenpox

In chickenpox, clusters of itchy, red, fluid-filled blisters in various stages of healing all over the body.

The rash is accompanied by fever, body aches, sore throat, and loss of appetite. Chickenpox remains contagious until all blisters have crusted over.

Read more about chickenpox.

9. Dyshidrotic eczema

Dyshidrotic eczema is a condition that causes itchy blisters to form, often on the hands or feet.

The cause is unknown, but it may be related to allergies. Symptoms include dry, red, scaly skin and deep cracks.

Read more about dyshidrotic eczema.

10. Pemphigoid

Pemphigoid is a rare autoimmune disorder causing a skin rash and blisters on various parts of the body.

There are various types of pemphigoid that are based on where and when the blistering occurs.

A red rash is often the first sign of pemphigoid. Later thick and large blisters form, containing clear fluid or blood. If they burst, they typically hurt.

Read more about pemphigoid.

11. Pemphigus vulgaris

Pemphigus vulgaris is a rare autoimmune disease that affects the skin and mucous membranes of various parts of the body, including the face, genitals, and even the lungs.

It causes painful, itchy blisters that break and bleed easily and can cause pain when eating or swallowing.

Read more about pemphigus vulgaris.

12. Erysipelas

Erysipelas is a bacterial infection in the upper layer of the skin.

It’s usually caused by the group A Streptococcus bacterium (GAS). Symptoms can include fever and chills, swelling on the skin, and blisters on the affected area.

Read more about erysipelas.

13. Dermatitis herpetiformis

Dermatitis herpetiformis is an itchy, blistering, burning skin rash that’s associated with celiac disease.

The symptoms include extremely itchy bumps filled with clear liquid that form and heal in waxing and waning cycles.

Read more about dermatitis herpetiformis.

Most blisters require no treatment. If you leave them alone, they’ll disappear, and the top skin layers prevent infection. You can cover a skin lesion if it’s contagious, such as shingles, when there are active lesions.

Don’t puncture a blister unless it’s very painful, as the skin over the fluid protects you from infection. If the cause is friction, chemicals, or allergens, the best treatment is to avoid what’s causing your skin to blister.

Blisters caused by infections should be evaluated by a doctor. In addition to medication for the infection, they may be able to give you something to treat the symptoms.

Some conditions that can cause blisters, such as pemphigus vulgaris, don’t have a cure and can only be managed with medications. This may include steroid creams to relieve skin rashes or antibiotics to cure skin infections.

For the most common blisters — those caused by friction on the skin of your feet — you can make changes such as wearing well-fitting shoes and thickly cushioned socks. Have a bandage on hand in case they start to form.

Read this article in Spanish.

Blisters on Feet: Causes and Treatments

Blisters on Feet: Causes and Treatments

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Medically reviewed by Sarah Taylor, M. D., FAAD — By Valencia Higuera — Updated on February 2, 2023

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Having a blister on the foot is common. Fortunately, several home treatments can relieve discomfort and lower the risk of repeated blisters.

A blister is a small pocket of fluid that forms on an area of the body. These bubbles can vary in size and can occur for different reasons. You may develop one after a skin burn, infection with fungus or bacteria, an insect bite, or trauma.

Depending on its location, a blister can interfere with everyday tasks. For example, if you have a blister on your feet, you may have difficulty walking, exercising, or standing for long periods of time.

If you have blisters on your feet, friction may be the culprit. Walking or standing for several hours a day puts pressure on the heels, soles, and toes. The longer you’re on your feet during the day, the greater your risk for feet blisters.

Of course, not everyone who walks or stands for long periods develops blisters. In many instances, these fluid-filled bubbles result from poorly fitted shoes. Shoes that fit too tightly or too loosely can rub against the skin. This causes friction, and as a result, fluid builds up underneath the upper layer of skin.

Excessive moisture or perspiration can also trigger these skin bubbles. This is common during warm seasons among athletes, particularly runners. Tiny blisters form when sweat clogs the pores in the feet.

Feet blisters can also develop after a sunburn. Other possible causes of blisters on the feet include:

  • frostbite
  • allergic reaction
  • chemical exposure (cosmetics or detergents)
  • fungal infections
  • chickenpox
  • bacterial infection
  • herpes
  • dyshidrotic eczema

A foot blister caused by friction typically resolves within a few days with home treatments.

Unfortunately, some blisters don’t respond to home treatments or worsen over time. See a doctor if a blister causes severe pain or prevents walking. You should also see a doctor if fever, nausea, or chills accompany a foot blister. This can be a sign of an infection.

Your doctor can drain the blister using a sterile needle. If they suspect an infection, they can examine a sample of the fluid to determine the cause.

You may be tempted to pick at or burst a blister. But you should leave a blister intact because an open blister can become infected. Covering your blister with an adhesive bandage can help protect your blister while it heals.

If you leave a blister alone, it may eventually harden and disappear. Until this happens, the bubble may be uncomfortable, depending on its size. While you shouldn’t burst a blister, safely draining the blister may provide relief. Here are steps to properly drain a blister at home:

  1. Wash your hands with warm water and antibacterial soap.
  2. Using a cotton swab, disinfect a needle with rubbing alcohol.
  3. Clean the blister with antiseptic.
  4. Take the needle and make a small puncture in the blister.
  5. Allow fluid to completely drain from the blister.
  6. Apply antibacterial ointment or cream to the blister.
  7. Cover the blister with a bandage or gauze.
  8. Clean and reapply antibacterial ointment daily. Keep the blister covered until it heals.

Preventing blisters on your feet involves addressing the underlying cause. If you develop a blister due to friction, wearing properly fitted shoes is the first line of defense. If your feet rub along a specific area of your shoe, wearing an insole may provide extra padding and reduce friction.

Shop for shoe insoles.

If you’re an athlete, make sure you keep your feet dry. Apply foot powder to reduce sweating, or wear moisture-wicking socks designed for athletes. These socks dry faster and reduce moisture.

Shop for moisture-wicking socks.

If a cosmetic product (powder, lotion, soap) or an allergen triggers blisters on your feet, avoiding the irritant reduces the likelihood of new blisters. For blisters caused by a medical condition, discuss possible treatments with your doctor. If you treat an underlying problem, you may lower your risk of blisters.

Read this article in Spanish.

Last medically reviewed on May 18, 2017

How we reviewed this article:

Healthline has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy.

  • Blisters – Treatment. (2015).
  • Causes of blisters. (n.d.).
  • Mayo Clinic Staff. (2015). Blisters: First aid.

Our experts continually monitor the health and wellness space, and we update our articles when new information becomes available.

Current Version

Feb 2, 2023

Written By

Valencia Higuera

Edited By

Stella Miranda

May 18, 2017

Medically Reviewed By

Sarah Taylor, M.D., FAAD

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Medically reviewed by Sarah Taylor, M.D., FAAD — By Valencia Higuera — Updated on February 2, 2023

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Eruptions in the form of bubbles

Vesicle (synonym – vesicle) is the primary element of skin rashes that appears on intact skin due to various reasons. It is a cavity bounded by a lid and bottom, and rises above the skin surface. It is located in the epidermis – the surface layer of the skin. The vesicle is filled with transparent, sometimes turbid (serous) or mixed with blood (serous-hemorrhagic) contents. Size – more often up to 0.5 cm in diameter. There are single and multi-chamber bubbles. Sometimes they open, the contents expire, erosions form at this place, which, after healing (epithelialization), leave no traces. Large, more than 0.5 cm in diameter, elements similar in structure are called bubbles (or bullae).

Causes of blisters:

  • prickly heat – a pathological condition of the skin, accompanied by the appearance of many blisters with transparent contents on closed areas of the body and in natural skin folds. The disease develops due to excessive overheating and sweating. Vesicles are scattered or grouped (more often in the folds of the skin – inguinal, intergluteal; in the armpits, under the mammary glands). Sometimes the contents of the bubbles become cloudy and suppurate, the elements are surrounded by a zone of redness; in severe cases, they can merge and form weeping foci.
  • herpes simplex – viral disease affects the area of ​​the lips, nasolabial folds, another part of the face, can be located in the oral cavity. Vesicles have cloudy contents and are surrounded by a reddish corolla (a zone of hyperemia). Swelling and redness visits the patient even before they appear. Rashes bring pain and discomfort in the affected area, may be merged. After some time, they dry out, crusts form on the surface, sometimes small ulcers. The disease may be accompanied by a rise in temperature.
  • chicken pox (or shingles) – a disease of a viral nature (causative agent – herpes zoster virus). The rash is staged: first papules appear (raised reddish-pink skin densities), and then they are converted into vesicles, first with a transparent, and then cloudy content. These elements subsequently dry out with the formation of brown crusts. It is localized throughout the body, occurs on the scalp, mucous membranes of the mouth, eyes and genitals. Rashes have a wave-like character, which corresponds to a surge in temperature reaction. The rash passes without a trace if it is not injured by scratching, otherwise scars may remain.
  • felinosis or cat-scratch disease – parasitic disease, vector – domestic cats. At the site of a scratch inflicted by a pet or its bite, two weeks later (incubation period), a small papule (a seal that rises above the skin surface) is formed with a zone of redness, which then transforms into a vesicle or pustule (abscess), followed by the formation of a crust. A characteristic feature of the clinic is regional lymphadenitis (damage to the lymph nodes) two weeks after the rash; axillary and ulnar are more often involved in the process, less often – cervical and inguinal. The temperature reaction is expressed.
  • scabies – a contagious disease caused by the scabies mite. The way of transmission is contact. Clinic – more often in the skin between the fingers, on the wrist, genitals, the tick makes moves; at the affected sites, a rash appears in the form of papules with a reddish corolla, which can transform into vesicles and be accompanied by itching. Scratching the affected areas can lead to infection of the rash.
  • allergic reaction (contact and food allergy) – manifests itself in the form of contact dermatitis. Rashes may look like bubbles with transparent contents, redness and swelling around; accompanied by severe itching, while, as a rule, the general condition of the patient is not disturbed. When an allergen is identified, eliminated, or antihistamines are taken, the rash is neutralized.
  • autoimmune diseases (pemphigus, bullous pemphigoid, dermatitis herpetiformis) is a pathology in which the body’s immune system fights its own healthy cells, as well as body tissues. Rashes affect both the skin and mucous membranes. Bubbles and bullae (bubbles) form, which are very itchy and itchy. In severe cases, internal organs are involved in the process.
  • insect bites (bugs, fleas, wasps, bees, bumblebees, mosquitoes). The rash has the character of vesicles or papules with a bite mark in the center. They are located asymmetrically on the body, and are accompanied by severe itching.

Which specialists should you contact if you have blistering rashes:

  • dermatologist;
  • allergist.

Blisters on the skin – a symptom of a number of dermatological diseases

Small blisters called vesicles, as well as large blisters (bulls), are cavities with transparent contents formed in exfoliated skin. The diameter of these structures can be about 0.5 cm. The presence of bubbles on the skin often indicates existing diseases – dermatitis, eczema, chicken pox, shingles, mycoses.


A simple form of dermatitis appears within a few hours after contact with an irritating factor (cosmetics, household chemicals, etc. ). In some people, the disease is limited to the presence of redness. If the inflammatory process continues its development, bubbles filled with a liquid substance form on the skin. After they burst, the skin becomes covered with an itchy crust. Allergic dermatitis develops a day after contact with the allergen (in addition to the factors already listed, some plants can provoke a negative reaction).


Signs of eczema in many ways resemble the course of dermatitis. Unlike the latter, this pathology develops after prolonged contact with an irritant. After a certain period, such a substance causes a chronic form of allergy. The disease is characterized by the presence of:

  • blistering rash;
  • crusts;
  • boils;
  • ulcers.

With eczema, dense blisters form in the affected areas, bursting over time. The liquid coming out of them dries up and forms crusts. In addition to the described signs, the disease is characterized by itching, which causes the need to scratch the skin. The areas around the most combed places often dry up. Eczema occurs with periods of remissions and exacerbations, tends to become chronic (in this case, the skin becomes dense, acquire a bluish-red tint).

Chicken pox

The disease is one of the highly contagious viral pathologies. The appearance of new rashes occurs in waves. By day 3, papules, vesicles and crusts may be present on the skin at the same time. For the disease, damage to the scalp is typical, due to which it is easily differentiated from strophulus (children’s pruritus). In most cases, chickenpox affects preschool children, but it can also develop in adults.

Herpes zoster

The herpes virus leads to the development of shingles. Rashes tend to be grouped in the face, intercostal space, on the body. Before a rash occurs, severe pain is felt in the area of ​​\u200b\u200bits future appearance. Sometimes there is a simultaneous damage to the organs of vision, the membranes of the brain.


Fungal skin diseases are associated with various fungi (Candida, Microsporum and others). As a result of their activation, numerous bubbles appear. Bursting, they make the skin defenseless against various infections. When affected by fungi, long-term non-healing wounds and cracks are formed, then swelling and erosion. Mycoses are characterized by a long course and a tendency to chronicity.

The presence of a blistering rash should not be ignored. It not only causes discomfort, but also gives the skin an unaesthetic appearance, can spread throughout the body, provoke suppuration. Late diagnosis of diseases that provoke a rash is fraught with complications and infection of other people. If there are rashes on the body, it is urgent to visit a dermatologist, find out the cause of their appearance and undergo a treatment course.

Our specialists will definitely welcome you! Don’t wait, make an appointment. The doctor will look at what these bubbles are on the skin and tell you if you should be worried about this.