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Booze for Blisters?

My grandfather told me many years ago that using rubbing alcohol on your feet a few weeks before a backpacking trip will help prevent blisters. Have you heard this before?

Question:

My grandfather told me many years ago that using rubbing alcohol on your feet a few weeks before a backpacking trip will help prevent blisters. Have you heard this before?

Submitted by - Patrick - Cleveland, OH

Answer:

Yes, I have heard that before. Theoretically, since rubbing alcohol dries out skin, it would encourage tougher skin and therefore reduce blistering. I have never tried it, and no one I know has either. On the other foot, so what if I haven’t tried it—it might work and it is unlikely to cause harm. I am guessing it would take a couple of weeks of daily applications of the alcohol for it to work—if it does indeed work.

1 Comment

  1. Jim Foster

    Just a cautionary word. I used to work with a small backpacking camp. One of the kids decided to toughen the skin on his feet. I’m not sure what he used, but the soles of his feet were really, really tough. He got a blister on the bottom of his heel. It might have been minor had he not toughened his feet, but instead it blossomed into a silver dollar size monster that had him in agonizing pain. It took a little campfire surgery to remove the “leather” that was trapping the fluid. My hunch is that toughening the skin on your feet is only an advantage if you are going to hike barefoot.

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