A HICKEY has traditionally been a way of showing your love or affection for your partner or significant other.
But they can also be embarrassing – especially if you work in a public-facing job, or a relative spots a mark on your neck. So just how do you get rid of those pesky love-bites?
How do I get rid of a hickey?
Hickeys – also known as love bites in some parts of the world – occur when broken blood vessels under the skin break and release tiny spots of blood.
Caused by intense kissing or sucking of the skin – often on a person's neck and usually accompanied with a gentle bite – a collection of these spots form what appears to be a bruise.
They have long been popular with young people looking to literally leave their mark on their lover, leaving others in no doubt that the recipient is spoken for.
But here are some top tips if you need to get rid of an obvious hickey fast.
1. Apply ice or a bag of frozen food
Like with all bruises, applying something cold immediately to the area will reduce blood flow from the broken capillaries which causes the mark on the skin.
Try using a cold washcloth, an ice pack, or even a bag of frozen peas.
Apply the ice-cold treatment to the area as soon as possible for around 10 minutes and repeat several times over the first 48 hours.
You should notice the bruise lighten.
2. Vitamin C cream
Vitamin C helps boost your skin’s collagen production – which is what keeps your skin looking soft and healthy.
Collagen is also found in fish, chicken and egg whites as well as other foods.
But by applying cream directly to the skin twice a day, it can help the healing process.
3. Vitamin K cream
Another vital aspect in beating the bruise, vitamin K helps your blood clot properly.
Applying a cream directly to the affected area twice a day can help to speed up the healing process.
You can also boost your vitamin K levels by eating foods rich in the nutrient, like leafy greens, soy beans, pork, and poultry.
4. Banana peel
Yes, peely! The peel is home to a number of vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants, which can can have a soothing and calming impact on your skin.
Applying the peel of the banana directly to the hickey may help reduce the signs of skin irritation.
You should leave the peel in place for around 30 minutes – or until it turns brown.
This can be done up to three times per day, but stop immediately if your skin becomes irritated.
5. Cocoa butter
Lots of people swear by cocoa butter to help with all sorts of scars and skin irritations.
Many use it to reduce sunburn or to improve skin elasticity.
Gently apply the cream to the area twice a day – but be sure to do it gently as otherwise you risk making your hickey bigger.
The prickly fruit contains an enzyme called bromelain which has been known to reduce pain and helps reduce bruising.
And best of all – you get to eat a tasty fruit!
Simply eating a pineapple or drinking its juice will help you get your enzyme fix.
However, you can massage a slice directly to the affected area up to five times a day to further boost the benefits.
Keep an eye out for signs of irritation, though, as it is a very acidic food.
7. Peppermint oil
This essential oil can help stimulate blood flow where it is applied, which can speed up the healing process.
To use, gently massage the oil into the area with light pressure.
However, peppermint oil can also irritate skin, so you will need to dilute it with a carrier oil.
It is recommended that you use a ratio of 1 or 2 drops peppermint oil to 15 drops of carrier oil, such as jojoba or almond oil.
8. Apply something warm
Okay, this stands in contrast to the earlier "apply something cold" approach.
But if you've tried something cold, and your hickey is still there after four or five days, it might be time to change tack.
Bringing heat to the equation will allow new blood to circulate to the area – the opposite of what you tried to do when the bruise was still fresh.
This new blood will not be broken so can help the bruise heal faster.
Simply wet a facecloth with warm water and hold it against the bruised spot for around five minutes at a time.
Remember, warm water – not boiling hot.
9. Aloe vera pulp
The pulp from an aloe vera leaf can reduce inflammation of the skin.
Apply a thin layer of the pulp directly to the bruise twice daily.
How long do hickeys last without treatment?
A hickey takes only a few seconds to form, but even with all the treatments listed, can last for several days – even up to a week.
Without treatment, a hickey will begin to fade in around 10 days to two weeks.
As with any bruise, your body needs time to repair the broken capillaries and reabsorb the blood.
The bruise will initially darken after the first few days and begin to change colours until it fades entirely.
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