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In a moment of passion, you and your partner got carried away, and you just woke up with a round, purple-red bruise, better known as a hickey, on your neck.
A hickey is the result of ruptured blood vessels or capillaries under the skin's surface. They break because of sucking or biting on skin, and the spilled blood pools, creating a dark bruise.
Rest assured that many horrified hickey-wearing lovebirds have come before you, which means a lot of people have tried many treatments in order to find ones that can remove that bruise more quickly.
If you need swift and immediate cover, you can always play around with scarfs, collars, or turtlenecks. Concealer will work in a pinch, too. These won't help the hickey disappear more quickly, but it might spare you a few quizzical looks.
No treatment will make a hickey go away overnight, but these quick hickey treatments might take a day or two off the bruise's longevity.
In the first day after a new bruise, you can apply a cold compress or chilled spoon directly to the hickey. This will slow down the flow of blood from the broken capillaries, and it may help reduce the size of the bruise.
Place a spoon in a freezer or fridge for 30 minutes. Then, apply it directly to the spot. Leave it for 10 minutes, and repeat several times through the first 48 hours or until it begins to lighten. If you have an ice pack, you can do the same. A washcloth dampened with cold water is also a good option.
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The thick, gelatinous pulp inside an aloe vera leaf may reduce inflammation, skin swelling, and pain. Apply a thin layer of the pulp directly to the bruise two times per day. If the pulp causes irritation or your skin seems sensitive to it, stop using it.
This essential oil, whose main component is menthol, may help stimulate blood flow where it's applied, which could speed up bruise healing. But peppermint oil can also irritate skin.
You'll need to dilute it with a carrier oil. A ratio of 1 or 2 drops peppermint oil to 15 drops of carrier oil, such as jojoba or almond oil, is recommended.
Massage the oil into the area with light pressure. Too much pressure could make the bruise worse.
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Cocoa butter is used in a variety of topical skin treatments. While research on cocoa butter reveals mixed results, many swear by cocoa butter for smoothing scars, reducing stretch marks and wrinkles, and eliminating or decreasing other superficial marks on skin. Cocoa butter may also help with skin elasticity, which may improve appearance.
Apply the thick cream to the area one to two times per day. Don't use a lot of pressure, or you risk making the bruise bigger.
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Pineapple is rich with a type of enzyme called bromelain. It's been known to reduce pain and soreness, and when applied to skin, it may help ease ease inflammation and swelling.
Using this treatment is as simple as applying a slice of pineapple right to the effected spot. You can do this four or five times a day, but watch for irritation. Pineapple is a very acidic food, and the delicate skin of your neck may become irritated quickly.
Vitamin K plays a role in helping your blood clot properly. In cream form, it may speed up bruise healing. Apply vitamin K cream directly to the skin one to two times per day.
You can also boost your vitamin K levels by eating foods rich in the nutrient, like leafy greens, soy beans, pork, and poultry.
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The banana fruit isn't the only beneficial part of a banana. The peel hosts a great number of vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants, and it can have a soothing and calming impact on skin.
You can apply the peel directly to your hickey, and it may help reduce signs of bruising and irritation. Leave the peel in place for up to 30 minutes, or until the banana peel turns brown. You can do this two to three times per day, but stop using it if your skin becomes irritated.
Vitamin C may be best known for its ability to boost the immune system, but it also plays a vital role in the production of collagen, a protein that helps skin stay strong and gives it its elasticity. Applying a vitamin C cream directly to the bruise may also speed up skin healing and eliminate the bruise quickly.
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If left alone, a hickey will fade on its own in about 10 days to 2 weeks. Your body will slowly break down the bits of blood that sit under the skin and reabsorb them. The bruise will darken a bit after the first few days and begin to change colors until it fades entirely.
Some of these treatments may speed up the healing by a day or two, but you could also prolong the hickey by aggravating the bruise with too much pressure. Be gentle when applying any of the treatments or massaging the skin.
A hickey takes only a few seconds to form, but requires several days to more than a week to heal. You might be able to help ease irritation and inflammation, and some self-treatment techniques could even help speed up the healing time by a day or two.
Ultimately, however, the body just needs time to repair the broken capillaries and reabsorb the blood.