No one likes them. It shows up, all blue and purple, sometimes even a ghastly yellow. Where did it even come from, anyway? It could’ve been a result of absent-mindedly banging your knee on a piece of furniture or walking into a door frame (it happens to the best of us). Whatever the cause, now you’ve got a bruise.
Is there anything you can do other than wait for it to go away? Turns out, yes. There are different ways you can get rid of bruises faster if you’re willing to try a few at-home remedies.
We’ve compiled some of the best and most highly touted remedies so you can give a few a try and see what works best for your bruises — no more hiding your bruised shins on a date night or wondering about that mystery bruise on your elbow again.
What is a Bruise?
Before you can start to eradicate the odd bruise or two, you need to know what a bruised area is because we’ve probably all forgotten a few details since fifth-grade health class.
Broken down to the absolute basics, a bruise is internal bleeding — albeit usually internal bleeding that’s nothing to worry or stress over. According to the NHS, bruises appear when you cause yourself some injury that then causes the capillaries beneath your skin to burst. When the capillaries burst, the blood leaks out into your skin, causing discoloration. Depending on how thin your tissue is or how fragile, you may bruise more quickly and easily than others.
Most bruises disappear within two weeks. The typical bruise will follow a pattern:
- A bump that’s red or purple almost immediately after your injury
- A reduction in swelling
- A blue or black color over the next several days as the color of the blood flow fades
- A green or yellow color in about a week
- A light brown color as it fades completely around the two-week mark.
When is a Bruise Serious?
Of course, while getting rid of the stray bruise from an awkward moment is fine, it’s worth noting that some bruising can be severe. While it’s not uncommon for bruises to be sore, tender and show a whole swathe of colors over the healing period, you don’t want to allow a bruise to linger too long. If your bruise has remained the same for more than two weeks, see a doctor.
Additionally, the NHS recommends that you also see a doctor if you’re suddenly bruising a lot and for no reason. This might be a sign of something a lot more serious, or it could just be the case that you’re on a new medication that makes bruising more of a problem for you (such as a blood thinner or even certain types of birth control). Whatever it is, it’s worth checking out.
Beyond this, bruises can impact more than just your skin. Beyond skin-layer bruises (known as subcutaneous bruises), some bruises affect your muscles (intramuscular bruises) and bruises that impact your bones (periosteal bruises). If you suspect your bruise is beyond skin-deep, you should likewise see a doctor.
Ways to Get Rid of Bruises
But if you’re just dealing with the random, run-of-the-mill bruises from exercise, hobbies like dance or hiking or just sheer clumsiness, you can do a few things to get rid of those bruises and speed up the healing process.
Prevention, Prevention, Prevention
Of course, the first thing you’ll want to do is prevent the bruise from appearing in the first place.
If you feel like you’re at risk for a bruise — maybe you had a challenging sports practice, or you took a tumble down your front stoop — rest up. The more blood that pumps through those damaged capillaries, the more blood that can pool up underneath your skin, causing a bigger and more dramatic bruise. The best way to rest during this time is with the impacted area elevated.
If you can, immediately after the potentially bruise-causing incident, ice the area where you think a bruise may occur. After 24 hours with an ice pack or cold compress, you can switch to a warm compress or a heating pad. You can take some ibuprofen or a similar pain reliever as well during this time.
Don’t Touch It!
It’s going to be tempting, but whatever you do, don’t touch your bruise. While you might think massaging the injured area to get a little relief from the pain is a good idea, doing so can actually spread that leaked blood around, leaving you with a larger, more sinister bruise.
Additionally, some think that, by pushing on a bruise and moving the trapped blood around, you can diminish the appearance by diluting the color over a more significant amount of space, but doctors have said that’s simply a misconception.
Adjust Your Diet
If you find that you often bruise easily (and you know it’s nothing abnormal or worrisome), you may want to slightly adjust your diet so that you see fewer bruises moving forward. Zinc, Iron, Vitamin E and Vitamin C are all essential for preventing bruises, as those with anemia or an iron deficiency are more likely to bruise, and Vitamins C and E help to strengthen your tissues.
You can get many of these necessary vitamins and minerals by eating citrus fruits, lean proteins and a wide variety of leafy green vegetables and legumes. While you may not be able to get all the vitamins and minerals you need or want from your daily diet, you can certainly make up for any slack by taking a daily vitamin supplement.
Look at Your Lifestyle
Just like diet can impact how often and easily you bruise, certain lifestyle choices, like smoking, can also be at play when it comes to frequent bruising. Additionally, if you’re overweight or obese, you may experience bruise-like spots on your legs, where the extra weight is causing the blood vessels to leak.
Take Your Vitamins… From the Outside?
Like Vitamins C and E, Vitamin K is known for helping to get rid of bruises, but you don’t take Vitamin K orally (at least not when you want its help for bruising). Instead, you can purchase a Vitamin K cream or gel for topical use, both online and at many pharmacies.
While vitamins and minerals are natural remedies, if you’re looking for even more natural help to get rid of your bruises, you may want to consider some herbs, supplements and other natural items.
Bromelain is found in pineapple and is known for its anti-inflammatory properties; it’s been used for centuries in its pineapple form, but now you can purchase it as a supplement. Now, you’ll even find that it’s recommended to those that have undergone surgery, especially surgeries dealing with the face — such as sinus surgery, throat surgery or even plastic surgery. You can find bromelain in a pill form and take it up to two to three times per day.
Quercetin is a very similar substance, also derived from fruits, that can be applied as a gel or lotion directly to the impacted skin. You can find quercetin creams that also include bromelain and Vitamin K.
Arnica is an herbal remedy derived from a plant that’s also sometimes called “wolf’s bane” (cool, right?). The flower’s healing properties are reduced down to a gel or lotion, as well as a pill. Arnica gels and arnica ointments are popular for use in reducing facial bruising.
Pure aloe vera is also a popular bruise remedy, which you may already have in your home, thanks to its popularity as a burn treatment.
While you probably don’t already have bromelain or arnica in your medicine cabinet, this is one natural remedy to get rid of bruises that you likely already have in your spice cabinet or produce drawer — parsley. If you have fresh parsley, you can take the leaves, crush them into a paste and then spread that paste over your bruise, securing the crushed leaves there with an elastic bandage or plastic wrap.
A little less popular than parsley, comfrey is another plant that you can use on your bruise. Using dried comfrey leaves, you can make a compress by steeping the leaves in boiling water for 10 minutes and then wrapping the strained leaves in a compress that you apply to the impacted skin.
Traumeel, while it looks and sounds like a prescribed product, is a homeopathic solution made of 12 botanical ingredients, one animal-derived substance and one mineral substance. Ingredients range from arnica to nightshade, daisy to chamomile, marigold to witch hazel. The one downside with Traumeel? While it’s been used for bruising in some situations, it’s not necessarily targeted toward getting rid of bruises (its primary use is inflammation and degeneration due to trauma or injury). It does have to be injected into the skin.
While essential oils aren’t necessarily known for reducing the appearance of bruises, essential oils can help relieve bruise pain and swelling. Recommended essential oils for this purpose include frankincense and rosemary. You can apply the oils directly to the bruise via a few drops on a wet cloth or by diluting some oil in a lotion or carrier oil.
Over-the-Counter and Prescribed Bruise Remedies
All-natural and homeopathic not your thing? There are a few over-the-counter bruise remedies that you can pick up at your local drugstore, as well as a few prescriptions that you can request from your doctor.
Hirudoid is an ointment found at many stores and is used to reduce skin pain, inflammation and bruising. It’s not useful for large areas of skin or on sensitive or broken skin, but it’s a good option if you’re looking for something quick and readily available.
Thrombophob is similarly an ointment that’s typically intended for those with thrombophlebitis, aka blood clotting-related swelling or inflammation. And while it can help relieve pain and assist with blood clots, it also works well for treating bruises.
Pulse Dye Laser Treatments
The hands-down fastest way to get rid of a bruise? Pulse dye laser treatments. You’ll have to go to your dermatologist for this one, but if you need to get rid of a bruise fast, it’s your best bet. This treatment uses a laser to break up the hemoglobin in your bruise, reduce the bruise’s color and speed up the healing process.
Unfortunately, laser treatments may exacerbate any skin issues you’re dealing with — causing redness and irritation and even swelling — so you’ll have to weigh the pros and cons before deciding on this treatment. Go with a potentially pricey dermatology treatment that comes with its own possible side effects, or just wait two weeks for your bruise to disappear on its own?
Whatever You Do, Don’t Expect a Miracle
Unfortunately, while all of the above remedies can help your bruise go away faster, there are no tried and true methods for getting your bruise to go away completely, every time, immediately. Often, if you want to get rid of a bruise, the easiest, simplest, cheapest way possible, your best option is to wait it out. But don’t feel like you need to put your shiner on full display just because you’re not running out for a pulse dye laser treatment. You can hide that bruise.
How to Hide a Bruise
To successfully hide a bruise, use a small amount of foundation or cover-up (some people even prefer tattoo concealer or theater makeup) on the affected area. You may want to use a mix of both cover-up and foundation based on the bruise’s color. In essence, treat it like a zit.
When Not to Hide a Bruise
If you’re dealing with potential domestic abuse, you can call, web chat or otherwise talk to the National Domestic Violence Hotline. They will be there for you, to listen to your situation and learn more about your options and identify if you’re dealing with abuse, as well as ways to protect yourself and your family best.
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Holly Riddleview post
Holly Riddle is a travel, food and lifestyle writer, and a full-time freelance content creator after several years on editorial staffs for a multitude of publications ranging in topic and audience demographic. She currently acts as the editor at large for Global Traveler magazine and is a regular contributor at Trazee Travel, WhereverFamily, TravelMag, CruiseHive and more. Ghostwritten work for travel clients has appeared on Forbes, Bloomberg, Inc. and other top publications. She also manages blogs for tour providers, hotels and tourism boards.view post