Summer is almost here, so you have no excuse to take off your running shoes and try barefoot running to better your running form. The next aim for your feet is to build a beautiful layer callous for added protection and comfort for barefoot running. Unfortunately, some may get blisters during this process, which is perfectly normal as blistering is fundamental in the process of developing good callouses that are just as durable as the rubber soles on your shoes. Luckily, I have explored the research on natural ways to treat a blister and here’s what I found for you!
Natural Ways to Treat a Blister From Barefoot Running
These natural remedies not only speed the healing process, they also contain natural anti-fungal properties, so that your blister doesn’t get infected.
Eucalyptus Oil – Eucalyptus oil comes from the Australian evergreen leaves and was found to prevent skin infections and skin irritations. One study found that eucalyptus oil healed cuts in half the time. How to use it? According to Laurie Steelsmith, N.D (naturopath), all you need to do is dilute 2 drops of eucalyptus oil in 1 teaspoon of unpasteurized honey, then apply the mixture onto your blister two times a day for about three days.
Echinacea – If you have a blister that is on track to healing, but is very itchy, try applying some echinacea. Aside from providing itch-relief, it also shortens healing time by nearly 50%, according to Canadian researchers. You can apply it directly to open, oozing blisters, too as it is very useful for preventing infections and also protects collagen from free-radial damage as well as halting bacterial induced-inflammation (Facino et al. 1995; Sharma et al. 2010). Apply it two times a day until your blister is gone.
Yarrow – Aside from being an effective way to nurse you back to health from the common cold or the flu (Hausen et al. 1991), yarrow takes the sting away from blisters, reduces inflammation (Wichtl 2004), and it also stops the bleeding, too (Applequist et al. 2011). If your blister is bleeding, try applying some dried yarrow directly to it to stop the bleeding quickly. For pain relief, apply some cold yarrow tea compresses. How does yarrow work? Yarrow is high in alkaloids which are natural chemicals that repair blood vessels, thereby reducing bleeding. How to properly apply it? All you need to do is open a tea bag of yarrow and sprinkle the herbal content directly to your bleeding blister. Or for blisters that are scabbing and sore, steep the yarrow tea bag in hot water for 15 minutes, then apply the yarrow tea bag directly to your blister.
Witch Hazel – Another effective pain-reliever, anti-inflammatory and blister-shrinker is witch hazel. Most notable, witch hazel is highly effective at treating sunburn, but is also a handy astringent (Vukovi, L). Here’s how to apply it: dab some witch hazel to a moistened cotton ball and hold it on your blister for about 10 minutes, or you can just strap it on your blister with band-aid. Repeat this method two times a day until the blister is scabby.
More From Run Forefoot:
Applequist et al. Yarrow (Achillea millefolium L.): A Neglected Panacea? A Review of Ethnobotany, Bioactivity, and Biomedical Research, Economic Botany, 2011 65(2): 209–225
Facino et al. Echinacoside and caffeoyl conjugates protect collagen from free radical-induced degradation: a potential use of Echinacea extracts in the prevention of skin photodamage. Planta Medica, 1995;61(6):510-514.
Hausen, B. M., J. Breuer, J. Weglewski, and G. Rucker ¨ . 1991. ®-Peroxyachifolid and other new sensitizing sesquiterpene lactonesfrom yarrow (Achillea millefolium L., Compositae). Contact Dermatitis 24:274–280
Sharma et al. The potential use of Echinacea in acne: control of Propionibacterium acnes growth and inflammation. Phytother Res, 2011; (25)4: 517-521.
Vukovi, L. Skin Soothers. Delicious Living, 2006; 22(6): 57-58.
BSc Neurobiology; MSc Biomechanics candidate, ultra minimalist runner & founder of RunForefoot. I was a heel striker, always injured. I was inspired by the great Tirunesh Dibaba to try forefoot running. Now, I'm injury free. This is why I launched Run Forefoot, to advocate the health & performance benefits of forefoot running and to raise awareness on the dangers of heel striking, because the world needs to know.