Dyshidrotic eczema (also known as pompholyx) can be horribly persistent, with fluid-filled blisters causing considerable discomfort. A mild case might come and go fairly quickly, but if you’re unlucky enough to suffer a longer-term case, with blisters getting bigger and skin getting sorer, you might end up wondering whether or not to pop them to ease the itch.
The blisters in question tend to start as tiny, fluid-filled bubbles under the skin of the hands, fingers, feet and toes; in most cases they resolve by themselves in 2-4 weeks, but occasionally they can get bigger, more persistent, and intensely itchy. When large blisters form, the effect can be painful and debilitatingly distracting. The temptation to pop a large, incredibly itchy dyshidrotic bubble can be overwhelming!
But does popping them help or not?!
The advice you might find online varies. Most sites advise that you don’t scratch or pop dyshidrotic blisters at all, others that you get a doctor to drain large bubbles, and others still suggest that you can pop blisters yourself, but must do it safely.
The risk in popping blisters yourself at home on purpose is that you introduce the risk of infection to very sensitive, vulnerable skin, and can also end up damaging the skin more than it would otherwise be damaged. Popping blisters deliberately can potentially make things worse, especially if they do get infected, but it’s also true that blisters can pop by themselves, and that draining the fluid-filled vesicles can provide some very welcome relief from the itch.
Following advice from the National Eczema Society, if you do feel the need to pop pompholyx then do so very carefully, and with totally sterile equipment! Sterilise a needle and pop a blister at the side if you possibly can, to preserve the cap of the blister, which should help the skin to heal. Afterwards, wash your feet or hands with a non-irritant, SLS-free, unscented wash and dry with a soft, clean towel. Then moisturise the skin with a rich, unscented balm or cream.
You might find it helpful to cover affected hands or feet with clean thin cotton socks or gloves. Keep the area meticulously clean, dry cool and moisturised.
If you suspect the skin is infected, get it treated immediately! Skin infections can be dangerous. If you’re finding your dyshidrotic eczema is affecting your day-to-day life, see a doctor, who may be able to offer more intensive medical treatment.
Choose products that won’t exacerbate the condition, ie moisturisers and washes that are scent-free and nourishing to the skin. From our range, we’d suggest washing your hands and feet with our Natural Shampoo & Body Wash, and moisturising your skin with Skin Salvation if it is very cracked and sore. If it is itchy but not broken, try our Cooling Cream to take the heat down a notch, or our tea tree-rich Scalp Oil to keep the area clean.
If you require medical advice we recommend you always contact your healthcare professional. If you or someone you are caring for seems very unwell, is getting worse or you think there's something seriously wrong, call for emergency services straight away. For general medical advice, please contact your healthcare professional, this article does not contain or replace medical advice.
Do not delay getting help if you're worried. Trust your instincts.