A burn blister typically forms after a partial thickness burn, formerly known as a second-degree burn. With these burns, the tissue damage extends into the layer of skin called the dermis, which lies beneath the superficial skin layer, or epidermis. The blister forms when the damaged skin tissue separates from the undamaged skin underneath and fills with fluid. Small blister burns are common injuries and can often be safely treated at home. However, large or extensive blistering burns and those occurring on certain areas of the body require immediate medical evaluation.
Gently run cool -- not cold -- water over the affected area of skin for 5 to 10 minutes immediately after the burn occurs. Cooling the burned area helps limit tissue damage and relieve pain. Do not apply ice or cold water, which could worsen tissue damage by limiting blood flow to the burned area.
Apply a mild soap to the area and gently wash the burn. Avoid vigorous scrubbing, which will aggravate your pain and might rupture the blister. Rinse with cool water. Let the burn air dry or pat lightly with a clean cloth towel or paper towel.
A bandage is not always necessary for an intact burn blister, but you might want to apply a porous, nonstick adhesive bandage to protect the blister and keep it from rupturing. Do not apply anything to an intact burn blister, such as butter, oil, egg white, lotion, cream or antibiotic ointment. If the blister ruptures, however, apply an over-the-counter antibiotic ointment (Neosporin) and keep the area covered with a sterile bandage.
Change the bandage daily or any time it becomes wet, dirty or fails to adhere to the skin. After removing the old bandage, clean the area gently with mild soap and water. Apply antibacterial ointment if the blister has ruptured. Cover the blister burn with a fresh bandage. Continue to change the bandage daily until the area heals, which usually occurs within 2 weeks.