How To: Make Black Eyes, Bruises & Hickeys Fade & Heal Faster in 5 Different Ways

Make Black Eyes, Bruises & Hickeys Fade & Heal Faster in 5 Different Ways

I've never had a black eye, but I was in a car accident that turned my entire ear dark purple a few years ago. Believe me, it was enough to get more than a few funny looks.

Walking around with bruises is never fun, and it's even worse when they're on your face or neck. A black eye is basically an invitation for anyone you meet to ask what happened. It's one thing if you actually have a good story, but most black eyes happen in ways that we'd probably rather forget.

There really are no miracle cures that instantly make bruises disappear, but there are a few things you can try both before and after they appear to mitigate the damage and save some face (yes, pun intended). And if you're the type of person that bruises easily, try taking less aspirin or reduce other drugs that thin your blood, because they make bruising easier.

Right After It Happens

When you have an incident you know will cause a bruise, you'll want to put a cold compress on it immediately. This helps to keep the swelling down and prevent the damage from getting as bad.

Ideally, you want to use an ice pack, but if you don't have one, a bag of frozen vegetables, ice cubes, or whatever else you have in the freezer works just as well. Whatever you use, wrap it up in a dish towel to cover any sharp edges and make the temperature a little more bearable for your skin.

Image by Matthew Wilson/Flickr

Apply the cold compress to the bruise for anywhere from 10-30 minutes, then take it off for 15 to rest. Repeat the cycle several times within the first 2 to 3 hours after the injury and try to keep your head elevated as much as possible to reduce pressure.

After 24 to 48 hours, you'll want to switch from cold to a warm compress to help increase blood flow to the area, which will speed up the healing process. You can make this super simple by using warm water to dampen a towel and holding it over the injury until it's cool.

Once a Bruise Has Already Formed

After the discoloration that comes along with a bruise has already shown up, it's a little harder to deal with, especially if you weren't able to prevent any of the damage by treating it early.

Applying the right kind of pressure to a bruise can help make it heal faster by stimulating blood circulation. You can use all kinds of different items to do so, like a comb or toothbrush, by brushing over the surface of the bruise in a circular motion.

However, if you're looking to speed up the healing process even more, try or (or all) of the following home remedies. There aren't extensive medical studies on any of these home remedies, but some people have had success with them.

1. Vitamin C

Eating foods that are high in vitamin C can "help the body reabsorb the collected blood more effectively" and thicken the walls of the blood vessels, helping the bruise heal faster. Stock up on citrus fruits, strawberries, peppers, and dark greens.

Not big on fruits and veggies? Just take a supplement instead.

Image by Dean Shareski/Flickr

2. Bromelain

Pineapple and papaya both have high levels of vitamin C, but they also contain a certain type of enzyme called bromelain that helps break down blood clots and reduce swelling. You won't be able to get enough just by eating the fruit or drinking its juice, but taking a supplement of 200-400 milligrams can help make that bruise disappear faster.

There's no scientific evidence to support it, but some people also swear by making a mask of the fruit pulp and applying it directly to a black eye. Just think of it as a fruit facial and imagine you're at a spa being pampered.

Image by Foundry Park Inn/Flickr

3. Tube of Lip Balm

Redditor discomfiture used a tube of lip balm and was able to significantly lighten the color of her black eye in a couple of hours. She alternated between applying pressure using the cap and applying ice to reduce the swelling (a frozen spoon also works really well in place of the ice).

Images by discomfiture/Reddit

4. Cayenne Pepper

Hot peppers contain a substance called capsaicin that can help reduce the pain and visibility of bruises. An ancient remedy used in China and Taiwan is to mix one part ground cayenne pepper with five parts melted Vaseline and apply it to the bruise.

Image by You as a Machine/Flickr

What Do You Use?

Got any other clever home remedies for getting rid of black eyes and bruises? Share them with us in the comments below.

Cover photo by Berents/Shutterstock

8 Comments

Can't be that ancient of a secret. Chili peppers have only been in china for a few hundred years.

Calamine lotion always works for me for hickeys. It is also good to take the red out of a pimple and aid in drying up acne. It contains zinc oxide, which is used in other OTC medicines, Desitin and some of the acne medicines.

Witch hazel works well on bruising to diminish the discorloration, keep down swelling and speed up the healing process. It's used by many pro fighters during fight. Look the stuff up it can be used for many things......

Just out of curiosity, I was wondering how the ancient chinese remedy of cayenne pepper and Vaseline was possible, since Vaseline, being invented in 1872 is far from ancient

Bio oil works wonders!! For bruises and to lessen the appearance of scars. I had my hips replaced at a young age and because of bio oil the scars are barely noticeable!

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