Usually, hickeys are seen on teenagers’ necks, but there are times as an adult we might find ourselves with a hickey on our neck we need to get rid of quickly. There are a number of home remedies that people have tried for years to get rid of hickeys. But in order to know how to relieve a hickey it is important to first understand what exactly a hickey is.
What is a Hickey
Simply put, a hickey is a bruise that forms on your neck as a result of suction. Hickeys usually form as a result of aggressive kissing or even nibbling on another person’s neck. However, there may be other causes for a hickey, like your toddler putting a vacuum to their belly, but that is not nearly as common. The reasons hickeys seem to form so easily on the next is because the skin in this area is thinner and the capillaries are closer to the surface of the skin. The suction creates pressure on the capillaries until they burst and create a reddish colored bruise on the skin. As the area begins to heal, it will turn a brown or blue color just like other bruises on your body.
Since a hickey is essentially a bruise, one of the best things you can do is to apply cold to it. Take an ice cube and wrap it in a paper towel and apply it to the area for a few minutes. It will not make the area disappear immediately, but it can help to constrict the vessels and help to keep it from getting larger. Wait a few minutes and repeat it again. Some people have suggested placing a cold spoon on the area. With this method, it is the same concept as using ice. Simply place a few metal spoons in the freezer and then pull one out at a time and hold it onto the area until the spoon is warm. Just be careful when using cold object, especially metal. It might cause frostbite, or irritate the skin and create an entirely different problem than a hickey.
Rub with a Toothbrush
Another common home remedy is to rub the area with a toothbrush. Usually this is best done when the area is cold so it does not encourage more blood to pool. Make sure to use a soft bristled toothbrush and not to apply too much pressure. If at all possible, use a new toothbrush. Similar to a toothbrush is to use a soft newborn baby hair brush. The bristles on the hair brush and the toothbrush help to get the blood that has clotted in the skin to spread out throughout the area. Unfortunately it may make the discolored area larger, but it will make it heal and disappear quicker. Just be extra careful. If you apply too much pressure or brush the area too firmly you can actually cause more blood to pool in the area instead of helping it to thin out to the surrounding tissue.
This treatment idea should not be done in the first two days following a hickey. You want to make sure the capillaries have had a chance to heal completely before using heat or it can cause the spot to worsen instead of healing. After two days, you can use a warm compress on the area to help increase the amount of blood flow to the area. This will then help the blood that has clotted to be reabsorbed into the blood that is flowing to the area. This process will happen naturally but by increasing the blood flow to the area it will just help to speed up the process a little faster.
The most important thing to remember about massaging the area is to do so gently. The reason why massage works is because it can help to break up the clotted blood, and help to speed up the disappearance of the hickey. However, too much and you can actually end up with a much larger spot, or a darker bruise making it take even longer to heal. This concept is similar to the use of a toothbrush to help break up the clotted blood so it can be absorbed into the surrounding tissue. This concept is also one of the reasons why people often say to rub a coin on the area. The gentle pressure of the coin acts as a massage to the area, breaking up the clotted blood, helping to lighten the discoloration, and encouraging it to be absorbed quicker into the blood flowing through the skin. Massaging the area though works best when the area is warm, so it should be reserved for a couple of days after the hickey appears.
Ointments and Salves
There is no miracle cream that you can put on a hickey and make it disappear. Well except maybe some cover up makeup to disguise it till it goes away. But there are some things you can try to put on the hickey to help speed up the healing process. If the area is particularly red and inflamed, you can try putting Preparation-H on the area. While this ointment is usually used on the other end of your body to relieve hemorrhoids, it is designed to help reduce inflammation. It might be able to help reduce some of the redness and swelling on the skin. Another option is to use a couple of drops of peppermint oil in a carrier oil, like olive oil, and apply it to the area with a cotton ball or cotton swab. Peppermint can also help to reduce some inflammation, but make sure you put it in another oil to dilute it or it can irritate the skin making the area even more noticeable. One of the last things you can try is a salve made from Arnica. This is a homeopathic salve or gel that can be rubbed into the skin when it is sore or bruised. It has some natural healing properties to help the bruise heal faster and not be as noticeable. It can be found at some pharmacies and most health food type stores.
Over the Counter Remedies
There are no known over the counter remedies specifically for a hickey; however, as it is a bruise there are some things that might help the capillaries to heal faster and reabsorb the clotted blood back into your body. One of these is by taking a vitamin E supplement, or even eating foods rich in vitamin E. this essential nutrient helps the body to repair blood vessels and will make it easier for your body to heal after the love bite. Vitamin K is not as well know by people but it is an important nutrient as well for the body. One of its functions is to help thin out blood and make it more efficient at circulating throughout the body. If you begin taking it immediately after you notice a hickey has formed, it can help the body to better absorb any blood that may have clotted in the skin. Lastly, the use of aspirin is known for its ability to thin blood. It is often given to patients who are suspected of having a heart attack. Taking a small dose of aspirin may help to thin the blood and allow the blood clot to be absorbed faster.
Concealing the Hickey
It is very unlikely that a hickey will go away overnight. Even with trying a number of these home remedies, it is a bruise that is cause by suction on the skin. As a result, it will take some time to heal like all bruises do. While you wait for the hickey to disappear, there are a number of things you can do to help conceal the hickey if you need to while working or going about your regular day. One option is to use a green tinted lining to help mask the redness of the hickey. Then covering it with a yellow tinted foundation helps to further mask the area and helps to prevent the discoloration from shining through. Try to avoid makeup with a blue or red tone to it as it will likely make the area more obvious. A second option for hiding the love bite is to leave your long hair down. While you will not be able to completely cover it with your hair, if it is on the side or back of your neck, it will help to conceal it some. A final option to help conceal the area is with clothing. If it colder weather, wearing a higher necked shirt, blouse, or sweat can easily be done. If it is warmer weather though, you might be better off going for a lightweight gauze scarf you can strategically place around your neck to help conceal the area. Of course a scarf would work in cooler weather too, but they can he heavier weight and when paired with a higher neck top, no one would be the wiser. Lastly, depending on where it is located, consider using a top or dress that has a wider halter style neckline. When paired with cover-up makeup, a chunky necklace, and your long hair down, the area may not be completely concealed, but it will be camouflaged well enough that most people would never even notice.