How To Dry Out Shingles Blisters

In our latest question and answer, the pharmacist discusses how dry out shingles blisters.

Question

I have shingles. How do I dry out the infected area?

Asked by NORM On Jun 09, 2018

Answered by
Medical Content Reviewed By PharmacistAnswers Staff

On Jun 11, 2018

ShinglesShingles is caused by activation of varicella-zoster virus (the same one that causes chicken pox).  It causes a variety of symptoms, but is most assocaied with a rash and blisters accompanied by pain that can feel like burning, shooting, or stabbing. In most cases, itching occurs as well.


Blisters that occur due to a shingles infection are often "wet", as they constantly break. It is important to realize that weeping blisters are contagious, so care must be taken to prevent contact with others.


How To Dry Shingles Blisters

Perhaps the most effective therapy for shingles are oral antivirals, which are most effective when started as soon as possible after symptoms occur. They reduce viral replication and will prevent new lesion formation. In most cases they will speed healing as well according to most studies.


In terms of drying out your blisters, be cautious as to not to dry them out too much, as this increases the chance of itching. Strategies to dry out weeping blisters from shingles include:

  • Apply a cool water compresses to the blisters. Although this will temporarily wet them, it will have a net drying effect over time as the water evaporates from the lesions.
  • Products like calamine lotion can be applied directly to the blisters. This will dry them out over time.
  • Astringents, such as witch hazel and aluminum acetate (Domeboro solution) are very effective drying and "shrinking" agents.


Remember not to pick your shingles blisters. Not only will picking break the lesions, it increases the risk of scarring.

About the Pharmacist

Dr. Brian Staiger Pharm.D

Dr. Brian Staiger is a licensed pharmacist in New York State and the founder of PharmacistAnswers.com. He graduated from the University At Buffalo with a Doctor of Pharmacy degree in 2010. He has been featured in numerous publications including the Huffington Post as well as a variety of health and pharmacy-related blogs. Please feel free to reach out to him directly if you have any inquiries or want to connect! He's answered thousands of medication and pharmacy-related questions and he's ready to answer yours! Brian.Staiger@PharmacistAnswers.com Office: 716-389-3076

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