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How to Get Rid of a Hickey?
While a hickey is the popular term for the telltale mark of love on the skin - most commonly on the neck or shoulders - it is medically speaking simply a bruise. And like all bruises, it is sure to disappear with time. However if you are due for a conference at your workplace or have a family barbecue scheduled on Sunday afternoon and don’t want to end up as the butt of jokes, here are a few tips on getting rid of a hickey.
When you get a hickey, blood flowing through the area leaks out through ruptured blood vessels and clots under the skin, showing up as a light bruise. So one good way to stop more blood flowing to the area and thereby reduce the size of the hickey is to use a cold press since making an area colder reduces blood flow. To do this you can use an ice pack - wrap ice in a paper towel and place it on your hickey. Press firmly and slowly move the ice around the surface of the hickey and the areas just around it. Try to leave the ice on for twenty minutes and then remove it for twenty minutes. Repeat as much as possible for the first day.
A more popular alternative which uses the same idea of a cold compress is to use a frozen spoon. Place several metal spoons in the freezer for at least ten minutes. Take a spoon and rub it against your hickey. Once the spoon is no longer cold, return it to the freezer and use the next one. The cold helps stop blood flow to the area and the rubbing can move around and break up the blood that has already coagulated in the area.
However take care never to put ice directly on to the skin which can lead to ice burns. Also the cold compress method only works if the hickey is new - The sooner, the better, though within the first twelve hours is generally the best.
If it has been more than 48 hours since you got a hickey, using a hot compress can usually make it go away. Once the burst blood vessels have healed, what is left is the blood that has collected under your skin. That blood will slowly disperse and be reabsorbed into your body. Heating up the area of the hickey will increase blood flow to the region, quickening the re-absorption of blood and helping to remove the hickey. To do this you can place a hot water bottle or warm compress on the area of the hickey for 10-20 minutes. Alternately you can heat water, soak a towel in the hot water, wring out the excess and apply it on the hickey – only ensure it is not too hot or you will get scalded. You can also use a hot compress and massage the area of the hickey with it. With the warm towel or compress, rub in a circular motion from the inside of the hickey outwards, breaking up the blood clot and pushing the blood away from the center of the hickey. Most importantly, keep in mind that warm compress works on hickeys are that at least two days old. If you heat up the area right after you get a hickey, it can get sore or much worse and make it much harder to remove it eventually.
Scrape it away
Another set of tips on removing a hickey focuses on breaking up and spreading the blood around, making it easier for the body to clear away the signs of the hickey. Some people use a stiff comb or toothbrush to do this while others use the cap of a lipstick, pen or any other small cylindrical object. The idea is to break up the blood that has coagulated beneath the skin and increase blood circulation which will remove signs of a hickey. A slightly more painful way of doing this is to stretch the area of the hickey and lightly scrape with a coin. After doing this for five to ten minutes, you had better apply a cold compress for ten minutes and then repeat as necessary. For these methods though, ensure that you do not apply too much pressure or you may end up scratching the area or causing more damage and swelling.
Apply peppermint oil
Some people find Peppermint oil and mint-based lotions useful in getting rid of a hickey since these are known to increase blood circulation and thus may help remove a blood clot. If you don’t have access to either of these, than a mint toothpaste can help as well. Apply a layer to the area of your hickey. This will begin to tingle. Once the tingling has stopped, remove the toothpaste with a warm damp towel. However avoid this option if you have a known allergy to peppermint products – in any case do not use too much or your skin may be irritated and inflamed even further.
Since medically, a hickey is just a bruise, you can treat it with medicines as is done with other cases of bruising. Aspirin can be quite effective since it not only helps with pain, but also thins blood which increases blood circulation and thereby gets rid of the hickey. However do not take aspirin right after getting a hickey as it can make things worse. Twelve to twenty-four hours after you receive the hickey, taking an Aspirin can help to make it disappear faster. Excedrin could be another choice since it not only contains Aspirin and Acetaminophen which are known pain-relievers but also Caffeine which helps thin blood and increase circulation. To be on the safe side though, always take drugs, even OTC ones, after consulting your doctor first so as to rule out sensitivity or contra-indications.
In order to get rid of a hickey, look for a cream or ointment where the main ingredient is Vitamin K since it prevents coagulation and is used to help treat bruises by helping your body reabsorb the blood that has accumulated. Other ointments that you can try are those prepared with Vitamin E and/or Aloe Vera. The latter is a herb that acts as a natural moisturizer and thus helps reduce the sensitivity of the area. Vitamin E on the other hand helps the burst capillaries under your skin heal faster. Ointments containing these components are best used as soon as possible after receiving the hickey. Arnica Salve and Witch Hazel are again well-known homeopathic ingredients that are used frequently for treating bruises and inflammation. While Arnica is a widely-used pain reliever, Witch Hazel is thought to contract blood vessels that have been damaged back to their normal size.
The right makeup
However if you have done your best to treat a hickey with all the above methods and still been unable to get rid of it by the time of a date or workplace meeting, you had best bring out your makeup box. Apply green corrector liberally to the area of the hickey. Hickeys are red and since Green is on the opposite side of the color wheel from red so using green corrector on a hickey will immediately make it much less visible. Or else, Mix together a yellow concealer and skin tone concealer until you get a color that matches your skin tone. Apply this mix to a makeup brush and carefully paint it over the outline of your hickey. Once you are done, dab the area to spread the concealer around and get a natural look that blends with the surrounding skin. If you want an extra touch, you can set it with some foundation or pressed powder. While it is easier for girls to use makeup to cover a hickey, even guys can try their hands at it or better still, ask their sister/girlfriend to help out.
However if makeup is just not your scene, you can try and hide a hickey with the right accessories like a turtleneck sweater, collared shirts, a scarf and most practical of all with a band-aid and a good accompanying story – like you nicked yourself while shaving or burnt yourself with a curling iron.
In the end though you may just want to let Nature take its course and wait for it to disappear on its own, as all bruises eventually do; in fact if you are not reporting to work or meeting your granny, you can even wear it with pride – after all it is a badge of love and only a fortunate few can lay claim to it.