I should have known better. My long-time friend, Laurie, invited me to join her and a walking buddy for a quick 3-mile walk around a lovely hilly Bremerton WA neighborhood. My husband and I had come up from the San Francisco Bay area on an impromptu vacation. It was a rainy week and we ‘girls’ needed to get our walk in before the next chilly downpour.
My hubby was napping, so I decided not to go into the guest bedroom to get a second pair of socks. Boy, was that a MISTAKE! I have very flexible feet that move a lot in my walking shoes. Also, have my feet get sweaty & hot (major factors for developing blisters) and sensitive skin that gets abraded easily. Less than halfway through our brisk hike I knew I had nasty blisters under the balls of both feet.
When we got back to the house, I put some of my essential oils blends on the sore (but unbroken*) blisters right away. And protected the injured skin with band-aids. My strategy was to use both anti-inflammatory as well as analgesic essential oils to soothe the skin and minimize pain.
Blister PAIN Reduction
I was dealing with different types of blisters on each foot. My left foot, which is more problematic, had a huge fluid-filled blister. The right foot had a very sore, large red “pre-blister” but no fluid, yet. The essential oils I used were German Chamomile, Peppermint, initially followed by alternating applications of several of my custom GAIA’s PHARMACOPEIA blends: Cool Blue™, Revive™, and Sweet Balm™. (It wasn’t necessary to use all these essential oils. I use my own first aid injuries as experiments to see how quickly essential oils relieve discomfort and speed healing.)
The painful fluid-filled blister stopped hurting almost immediately, within an hour or so, if not faster. The red pre-blister was more pain tenacious and took a couple of days of 2-3 times a day applications for the pain to completely disappear when I pressed/rubbed the skin firmly. But I never was the slightest bit uncomfortable wearing the shoes I had been walking in.
Blister FLUID Re-Absorption
My next concern with the fluid filled blister, was to help the skin reabsorb the fluid and heal without breaking. The main danger with an *open blister is infection, in addition, to the discomfort of extremely sensitive, damaged tissues. I continued to use the German Chamomile for its anti-inflammatory properties, followed by applications of my special REVIVE™ blend, excellent for preventing and healing infections plus speeding recovery from surgical wounds.
NOV 1st (Intro photo)
The blister flattened out within a day or two, at which point I stopped using the band-aids. Continued to apply the essential oils for a week or so, and then left the skin to heal on its own.
The damaged skin is beginning to show signs of readiness to peel. I left it alone to let the body heal at its own pace.
The skin from the large blister started peeling yesterday, after a soaking bath. I carefully trimmed the loose skin away, so its edges wouldn’t catch on my socks. The new skin underneath is healthy and ever-so-slightly more sensitive than the rest of my foot. It will toughen up quickly. Did an hour-and-a-half Tai Chi class last night without a hint of discomfort. And my foot is fine this morning.
TORN BLISTER Essential Oil Treatment
Damaged skin under a torn blister is VERY vulnerable to infection and as we all know, extremely TENDER! I would have taken a different approach to handling that sort of situation. My go-to choice of essential oils would have been the excellent anti-infectious, but mild, Young Living blend MELROSE.** I have used it on small open wounds without discomfort.
GERMAN CHAMOMILE, perhaps, could be used this same way. I haven’t applied it to an open wound, but think it would be okay to use due to its non-irritating properties. Generally, non-sensitizing, though better diluted with a carrier oil for sensitive skin, babies & small children, the elderly, and infirm. I’ll do a bit more research for this article to see what other essential oils would be options.
Additionally, any open blisters would need to be well covered with sterile band-aids, changed several times a day to keep the area totally clean. I would also recommend cushioning socks as a barrier from further damage and sources of infection.
The BEST sock fabric for preventing blisters = Acrylic, NOT natural fibers like cotton and wool! Surprised me to find this out. So…I’m planning to purchase acrylic sock liners to wear under my favorite padded hiking socks.
Cynthe Brush ~ Certified Clinical (Medical) Aromatherapist, Therapeutic Essential Oils Practitioner & Self-Care Health Educator has used therapeutic essential oils for personal, family, & client health issues since 1999.
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