How to Get Rid of Hickeys
‘Hickeys’, as they are widely known, are bruises caused by the suction of someone’s lips on the skin. Sounds grim, but, as we know, the reality is that they are usually connected to consensual acts of pleasure.
They are formed when someone kisses or sucks on your skin with enough pressure that it breaks the capillaries underneath the surface. This results in discoloration and a bruise, usually seen in shades of red and purple. Most commonly, they are found on the neck area, but hickeys can appear anywhere on the body. Ultimately, it depends on the activities you and your partner engage in.
In younger people, perhaps those in their late teens, hickeys can be quite common, as people explore sexual behaviors. In adult life, they are arguably rarer, largely because people become aware of how difficult they can be to eradicate quickly and how socially awkward working life can be if there is an unsightly love-bite peeking out a blouse or shirt collar.
No matter where they show up, though, one thing is certain: hickeys are not particularly easy to hide. So if you ever find yourself with an unsightly ‘love bite’, or, perhaps more accurately, ‘love suck’, you’re going to want to find a way to get rid of it, and, most probably, you will want it gone fast.
Unfortunately, there are few absolutely rapid cures for a hickey, but there are certainly ways to minimize their effects and appearance.
Hickeys usually appear on the neck after heavy kissing, but you may of course have heard of, or experienced, a hickey appearing on other body parts. Certainly, they can also be found on the chest, back, and even arms, where people may use kissing.
If you are reading this as a parent, you may have had an amusing or embarrassing moment with your son or daughter, who might have appeared one morning after a night out with a notable neck-bruise! If so, read on and see how to help them and potentially save them any further social awkwardness.
While non-neck hickeys tend to be less noticeable than those on the neck, they can still be quite embarrassing. In a changing room, perhaps, or when you are sunbathing, you may feel self-conscious because of them. So if you’ve got one in an awkward spot, or in an area that’s not easy to hide, what can you do?
Let’s explore those options.
Signs of a Hickey
Red or purple area on the skin
Have you noticed a red or purple area on your skin? Maybe it looks like a bruise, but it’s not one that you remember getting, or that you associate with being hit by a ball in sports, for example.
In reality, it is likely a hickey, and it is almost certainly so if you have been with a lover. Hickeys are, in effect, passion marks left behind by love bites. They can sometimes last up to two weeks, so it is important to acknowledge them and know how to get rid of them.
So what do you do if you have one? Well, there are several remedies you can try to reduce the visibility of a hickey.
But first it’s important to understand why a hickey appears in the first place, as this may help you avoid getting them in the future.
They occur when small blood vessels near the skin’s surface break or rupture due to sucking, kissing or even biting. This causes blood to leak out and pool beneath the skin, causing its color to change from red to purple. It sounds terrible, but the truth is it is not normally painful, merely unsightly and potentially socially embarrassing.
Swelling is, as we might imagine, a common and very normal sign associated with hickeys.
One way to reduce swelling around the affected area is to apply a cold compress. This can be done by pressing a cold spoon or wrapped ice pack gently against the skin. Doing this for 10 minutes at a time every few hours can help reduce the inflammation and help make the hickey less visible.
Another approach is to use topical creams or ointments that contain ingredients like witch hazel, aloe vera, or arnica. These are renowned herbs for skin healing. Applying a thin layer of these products can help reduce the appearance of the hickey, as well as lessening any discomfort or itching associated with the swelling.
Lastly, keep in mind that hickeys usually take up to a week to fully heal and that the swelling should subside over time. But if you want to get rid of them even quicker, remember to try one of these simple remedies. Nothing is a miracle cure, unfortunately, but there are unquestionably many palliative approaches that you can try.
A hickey is arguably at the lower end of the pain scale, but it can nonetheless make you feel low, largely through embarrassment.
In this kind of pain-circumstance, distraction techniques like listening to music or playing a game can help you focus on something else instead. You can also turn to meditation, yoga, and other relaxation practices to help you refocus away from your hickey.
Finally, when it comes to treating distressing skin abrasions, such as hickeys, there are natural remedies like applying essential oils and cold compresses to localized pain points. These are discussed throughout this article.
How to Get Rid of a Hickey
Apply something cold like an ice pack, cold spoon, or cold towel to the hickey area for 10–15 minutes several times a day. This works to reduce the extra blood flow to the area, allowing the hickey to fade quickly.
In addition, a cold compress can also help reduce any swelling or soreness associated with the hickey. In that sense, it really can be an effective method of limiting a hickey’s impact on your life. Often, when we are not in pain or distress at a minor wound, we find our daily lives flow much more smoothly.
Stimulate blood circulation
One way to treat a hickey is to massage the affected area to stimulate circulation and help break down the blood clot causing the hickey. This might sound counterintuitive, as you are putting pressure on the hickey, but the truth is it can work well, so long as you remain moderate and gentle. Blood stimulation is often a really critical element of healing.
Start by applying light, circular pressure, as if you were giving yourself a massage. As we say, be really careful not to apply too much pressure, as this can lead to further discoloration of the skin, which is the very opposite of what you want.
Once you’re done with the massage, you should see a noticeable decrease in the hickey’s appearance. However, it may take a few more days for the hickey to completely disappear, and you may need to massage the skin on numerous occasions. Far better is to massage gently and for brief periods, but on multiple occasions, than to have a huge massage session on the one localized area.
One solution to obscuring a hickey is of course to use make-up, specifically make-up designed to conceal unsightly marks.
The reality is that make-up can be incredibly effective nowadays in helping neutralize the impact of scars, marks, or love bites. With the right shade and an appropriate amount of coverage, a concealer can do a splendid job of covering up the color of a hickey until it fades naturally.
Choosing a concealer is of course the critical issue. The reality is that we are in a golden age of make-up, and almost every town has a shop with a wide variety of options for different skin tones. Remember to pick a concealer that is in line with your own skin tone, as you want it to blend seamlessly with the unaffected areas of your skin.
Most shops allow you to test a small sample on your skin, so make sure that you do so. It can often be tricky to get the tone exactly right, and you want to avoid wasting money on buying the wrong shade. Even a very small actual difference between your skin and the tone of the concealer can look strange.
To get the best effect, remember to apply the concealer with a brush or a sponge and blend it into the skin. Some people also find using their fingers effective, but make sure they are clean at the time!
The essential thing is to make the skin look natural and to obscure as much as possible the sight of the unsightly hickey. Once concealed, you really will feel more confident about going through your normal daily routines.
Aloe vera is sometimes thought of as a wonder herb for skin! And there is no denying its efficacy and power as a healing agent.
Its primary property is that it acts as a natural anti-inflammatory. This means it will calm down the inflammation of the skin and help soothe irritation. It also helps to provide moisture, which will protect the affected area from external hazards such as strong winds and even sharp cold.
It also naturally reduces redness. By controlling the swelling in this way, it will help to reduce the appearance of the hickey until it fades away. It is absolutely a product to have in your bathroom cabinet for all manner of potential skin complaints.
Peppermint oil can be an extremely effective way to reduce pain and inflammation associated with hickeys.
Like aloe vera, it has excellent healing and cooling properties. For maximum benefit, massage a small amount of peppermint oil into the affected area. Not only should this help to reduce the pain, but it could also help soothe the irritation.
It is important to note that peppermint oil is quite potent, so make sure to dilute it if necessary. Additionally, it’s best to ‘patch-test’ before using it on the hickey to make sure you don’t have any adverse reactions. Find an area of the skin that is not visible, perhaps on the upper leg, and try a small amount of oil on that area before you apply it to the neck, or to wherever you have the hickey. The likelihood is you will have no adverse reaction, but it is best to check.
Its scent also acts as a relaxant, which is additionally pleasing.
Vitamin K cream
People have sometimes not heard of vitamin K, but applying a vitamin K cream to the affected area twice a day can help reduce the appearance of the hickey. You can even use face creams that contain vitamin K, as long as they are designed for sensitive skin.
Vitamin K is known for its ability to help with blood clotting, which helps to speed up the healing process. It can also help to minimize discoloration, leading to an overall reduction in the visibility of the hickey. It’s absolutely worthwhile familiarizing yourself with this vitamin, if it is new to you.
When to Seek Professional Management
As with other skin issues, one of the best methods for dealing with severe pain is to apply cold pressure as soon as you notice the problem. With your hickey, this will help with the swelling and reduce the burning sensation. You can do this by applying an ice pack, taking a cold shower, or using a cold compress. As we said earlier, be careful to be moderate. Do not overload your skin with cold.
Another option is to take an over-the-counter pain reliever. These medications can help reduce inflammation and provide relief. If the hickey persists even after these treatments, it may be necessary to seek additional medical attention, but such scenarios are very rare.
As we saw earlier, swelling with a hickey is caused by a burst capillary near the skin’s surface, which is then filled with blood cells that can’t escape.
To reduce the swelling, take an ice pack and place it on the affected area for 10-15 minutes. This will constrict the blood vessels and can help reduce the swelling. Be careful to limit the time carefully. At the risk of repeating this point unduly, too much sustained cold pressure can be harmful to your skin, especially skin weakened by burst capillaries.
As with other hickey-related issues, applying a cold compress to the area immediately after you receive a hickey will help limit the bruising. It will reduce the amount of swelling in the area and cause less damage to the skin.
Additionally, you should use gentle pressure, instead of a rough sucking motion, when giving or receiving a hickey. Doing this will cause less trauma to the skin and result in fewer bruises. It is important that we continue to enjoy the pleasure of a partner, but we obviously want to limit the impact of unsightly hickeys on our bodies.
Inability to move the area due to pain or swelling
It can be especially inconvenient when a hickey causes a degree of immobility, especially in terms of moving your neck. It can then be extremely difficult to do everyday tasks, such as combing your hair, driving safely, shaving, or even talking without feeling a sharp pain.
In these cases, the best course of action is typically to reduce the swelling and tenderness through a combination of cold compresses, aloe vera gel, and over the counter pain medication, as we have discussed above.
But you should also feel able to tell your partner to be more tender or careful if you feel they are kissing you in a way that is likely to leave you dealing with a hickey for a week or two. Never be afraid to converse about what works for you when you are with a partner. That makes for a better experience for everyone.