Battle of the Band-Aids


So, it’s only a few days into fashion week and some of us (ahem) may have made the not-so-clever decision to break out some new kicks. Yes, I’m talking about myself again, and yes, I have new battle scars to prove it. There are days and days and days of things to come, and, sure, I could wear flats, but now even my flats hurt, because I have these painful spots from one pair of heels that shall remain nameless (because I still love them and will wear them once they’re broken in, or you know, I am). But I will not go quietly into the night! Band-Aid(s)* to the rescue. But which kind? The drugstore next to The Gloffice (aka ITG HQ) was overrun with options: medicated or unmedicated? Clear or classic? Cynthia Rowley prints?! So I decided to try a few and reveal the results in the likely event you should ever befall the same fate (and if you never do, TELL ME YOUR SECRETS).

1) Band-Aid Activ-Flex Premium Adhesive Bandages: These advertise 360-degree flexibility that ‘moves with you,’ which is an attractive proposition-- I move a lot. They have a lighter-beige center part that's supposed to be placed over the blister to form a protective bubble over it, or the wound, if you have one, and they sort of attach to your skin in such a way that you really can’t remove them until it’s healed, or you run the risk of ripping your skin off. So that’s not great, because bandages get sort of disgusting around the edges most of the time no matter what you do and I'd prefer to change them, in that case. HOWEVER, it was a great shield between my heel and my heels. So, mixed results. Best for serious wounds. Unless of course, that wound needs stitches, in which case, why the hell are you in the drug store? Get thee to l'hôpital, toute de suite!

2) Band-Aid Water Block Plus Clear: The top of this box assures me, “You’re going to be just fine! (TM)" which is not something I thought you could trademark, but is nice to hear anyways, even if it’s on the top of a bandage box in the "First Aid" aisle at Duane Reade. I like these because they’re clear and feel like they have slightly more 'grip' than the classic beige. But they're still too flimsy for the job.

3) Band-Aid by Cynthia Rowley: This happened. One of the designs is just teeny-tiny Cynthia Rowley looks in two rows, like a run-of-show screenshot. There’s one that looks like it's covered in sequins, one that looks like lace, and one that looks like gemstones and gold chain. Cynthia! You clever minx. The only issue I had with these was that, well, they’re not that great—other than visually, which is sort of apropos for Fashion Week, so, you’ve been warned.

4) Help: I have a blister: I am fond of the Help brand, because, how cute. “Help! I have a headache.” “Help! I cut myself.” “Help! I can’t sleep.” “Help! Help!” See? Cute. Their blister bandages are made out of Hydrocolloid. The box explains this “is usually used in hospitals for serious things like third degree burns and leg ulcers. But you shouldn’t feel guilty about using it on something as small as a blister. There’s enough hydrocolloid to go around.” Even more charming? The individually wrapped 'plasters' say “I have a blister on my large body part,” or “I have a blister on my small body part.” I mean, come on. Who is not charmed by that! They care about the size of your body part(s). The smaller one feels exactly like an Activ-Flex, but it's thinner, has a uniform shape, and lays flatter on the skin. WINNER, KIDS!

So go forth, and be healed. Or, find better shoes. Let me know how it goes.

—Alessandra Codinha

*Note: Band-Aid is a brand, not a type of product—think Xerox: copy machines :: Kleenex : tissues :: Q-tips : cotton swabs...not to get all standardized-testing on you. With one exception (Help), the bandage strips above are all made by Band-Aid (TM). They've got quite the monopoly. Fun fact: in the UK, people call them "plasters."

Let’s Talk About It! JOIN IN
  • newbrunette

    The other week I shredded my ENTIRE heel wearing shoes I had worn successfully all summer. My feet must have swelled in the heat or something. I soaked the foot in hot water, let it air dry, then slathered in neosporin cream (not the greasy ointment, you need the wound to dry out) before putting on the largest size fabric bandaid. Dont know if it is feasible for you, but I wore backless Hasbeens the first day after the blister happened just to avoid more rubbing. At night, if possible, leave the blister uncovered to help it dry out faster. My condolences! Sore feet are the worst.

    • Kat

      All kinds of sores need to be kept moist - letting them dry out slows down healing and increases the risk of scarring. An ideal situation for any kind of broken skin is actually the one created by a blister. The new skin is created in a wet and sterile environment, and never gets a scab (Scabs are only good for stopping bleeding and keeping out dirt, not for healing - quite the opposite. We can keep out the dirt in other ways... like band aids.) The better thing to do is use either blister band aids, which create that kind of moist environment, or on other sores, use a wound salve and keep it in place with a band aid/plaster/thing, reapplying the salve every couple of hours.

  • Deborah Lindsay

    There is a wonderful product, made by Band Aid, called something like Blister Aid. Its in a roll up tube like a lip balm, a silicone type product that is excellent for preventing blisters (sorry too late for that for you in NY)...but it also keeps new shoes from rubbing and any shoes from rubbing against a sore spot. In the Band Aid dept of the drug store.

    • tierneymarie

      It's called Friction Block and I carry it around in my purse at all times. It's AMAZING.

  • Kharina SternerJones

    Compeed is the greates invention ever. Not sure if they exist in the States, but if you have a massive and painful blister, you whack this puppy on and slide them back into the shoes of pain, and hey presto! The pain is gone and you break into your new shoes like nobody's business. They are really unsexy, but if you careful with your application, people won't notice them at all. THE BEST!

    • Lola

      Compeed are indeed the best (actually they would be better if you could buy them in bulk - why only the option to pay £5 for a pack of 5? that's a week's supply!). I like to kid myself that anyone (female, at least) that sees me in violently strappy shoes sporting a couple of these bad boys is not going to judge me too harshly. After all, no one can genuinely do a whole day in stilettos without any pain, blisters and missing skin right?

  • EllieF

    Moleskin! You can use it to prevent blisters or to keep them from getting worse. Hikers and runner use it all the time. Duct tape also works in a pinch.

  • Guest

    I'm from the UK so it was a fun-fact to know that they are officially known as Band-Aids in the States! brilliant post as always, Emily.

  • Hilary

    Moleskin is The BEST!! I can't count how many times it has saved my poor (4 inch heeled) feet!

    My advice is to apply a band-aid first and a strip of moleskin on top. Then you can keep wearing your heels pain-free!

  • kk

    Try hydrocolloidal bandages! Or silver colloidal bandages!

  • Paola

    Ha ha ha, I found this post super funny and informative. I have wide feet, so yeah, I suffer from your current ailment ALOT!

  • joannanyc

    Yeah, I agree, the ones that you can't remove until the wound has healed are kind of scary. What if they just came off and took your skin with them? Ouch! And the Rowley ones are adorable but do not stick (my finger is wearing the 4th one of the day and it's not like I've been doing anything). I agree with those commenters who have suggested putting moleskin over a bandaid (sorry, "adhesive bandage"). You can also put moleskin inside the shoe.

  • Lola

    Baby powdering the feet before you put your shoe on helps everything to slide around nicely and not rub. At least it does in general day-to-day life - I'm not sure a bit of powder would stand up to the heat and rigour of fashion week.

  • ROKderm

    Hahaha, funny yet oh so relevant this post! I feel your pain, girl! I have horrible moody feet that never seem to be satisfied with my choice of foot attire, and so I always end up stuffing toilet paper into my shoe to help me, you know, walk.

  • Hannah Johnson

    I'm horribly allergic to the glue in most bandages so I can't use them. Wondering if "Help: I have a blister" would help or if the adhesive is the same.

  • Caroline

    The best bandaids are the one with fabric like duct tape. The only ones that actually stay on.