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How to Get Rid of a Hickey
Did someone get a little overly romantic last night? Find out how to get rid of a hickey in record time and cover up the evidence while your love bite heals.
Many of us prefer to keep our personal lives private. That can be difficult to do when your partner has recently given you a huge hickey on your neck or another highly-visible part of your body.
Suddenly, everyone knows what you’ve been up to. Your friends, your coworkers and maybe even dear old grandma (yikes).
Needless to say, you want to get rid of your hickey fast. In this post, we’ll help you eliminate the signs of your overly-enthusiastic make-out session.
Here are three things you need to know about how to get rid of a hickey:
- Hickeys are bruises that are caused by ruptured blood vessels.
- Treating your hickey with ice and then heat can help speed up the healing process.
- Common hickey removal “hacks” may do more harm than good.
What Is a Hickey?
A hickey is simply a type of bruise that occurs when your partner sucks too hard on the skin, which causes the blood vessels to rupture. The neck, shoulders and chest are common areas for hickeys to develop because the skin is more sensitive in these areas.
How to Get Rid of a Hickey
Bad news—hickeys don’t go away overnight. Like any other type of bruise, you’re looking at around 10-14 days of healing time.Try men's skin care
Don’t panic! There are a few things you can do to speed up the healing process and get rid of your hickey faster.
First, Apply Ice
Apply a cool compress on your hickey as soon as possible. The cold temperature will constrict the blood vessels, which slows blood flow to the area.
A cool compress will also help prevent excessive leakage from the blood vessel. If you don’t have a cool compress handy, a frozen bag of peas or ice wrapped in a towel will work just as well.
Then Switch to a Warm Compress
After two or three days of icing the area, switch to using a warm compress. Heat will open up the healthy blood vessels around the hickey and clear away trapped blood.
If you don’t have a warm compress, use a cloth soaked in warm water instead. To avoid drying out your skin, make sure that the water isn’t too hot. Apply your warm compress to the hickey several times a day.
Apply a Nourishing Night Cream
Before you go to bed, apply a nighttime moisturizer with nourishing ingredients to your hickey. Specifically, you want to seek out a fragrance-free moisturizer with anti-inflammatory ingredients such as Aloe Vera Extract and Green Tea Extract which can reduce redness and soothe inflamed skin.
Use a Topical Bruise Cream
During the day, you may want to try using bruise cream to reduce the appearance of your hickey. Look for a cream containing arnica, vitamin K8 or bromelain, which research suggests may increase healing time of bruises (see claim: “The topical application of arnica, vitamin K8, or bromelain can lead to a reduction in the development of a bruise and may also increase the speed of resolution.”)
Arnica in particular has been studied for its potential uses in bruise healing and is widely available over-the-counter in the form of creams and gels. While the research is still inconclusive, arnica is generally safe for use if you feel like giving it a shot.
Cover It Up
Trying to figure out how to get rid of a hickey fast? Unfortunately, there is simply no way to make your hickey disappear overnight.
However, there are plenty of ways to disguise your love bite. You could cover it up with clothing by wearing a scarf or a turtleneck.
Another easy way to hide a hickey is by using makeup to conceal it. When choosing a concealer for your hickey, pick one with yellow tones to neutralize the redness. Be sure to blend it in gently to avoid irritating your hickey further.
3 Hickey ‘Hacks’ to Avoid
The internet is a godsend for those embarrassing questions you can’t ask anyone else (like, how to get rid of a hickey). The major downside to the internet is that it’s rife with misinformation that could spell trouble for your skin.
There are many so-called “hickey removal hacks” on the internet, some of which are downright silly. While some of them are harmless, others can make your hickey worse.
To save you and your skin the trouble, here are a few hickey removal hacks that you’re better off avoiding.Take the skin care quiz
Massaging the Area
Although massage therapy can help promote blood flow and reduce pain, it’s not recommended for your hickey. Rubbing a bruise too aggressively can break more blood vessels, making your hickey even larger.
Using Peppermint Oil
Peppermint oil is another commonly-touted “hack” for getting rid of a hickey, despite there being no conclusive evidence that it can help heal a bruise faster. On the contrary, peppermint oil can do your skin more harm than good.
Just like any other essential oil, peppermint oil can cause allergic reactions. If you insist on trying this hack for your hickey, at least be sure to dilute the oil beforehand and test a small part of your skin first.
Dabbing Toothpaste on Your Hickey
Putting a glob of toothpaste on your love bite isn’t going to do it any good. In fact, you might irritate the skin further.
Toothpaste contains a bunch of ingredients that can irritate your skin and clog pores. If you don’t want to end up with neck acne or red, inflamed skin, we recommend staying far away from this so-called hack.
The Bottom Line
Hickeys can last an agonizingly long time. Your best course of action is to do everything in your power to speed up the healing process while covering up the evidence with clothing and concealer.
King, Martyn. “The Management of Bruising following Nonsurgical Cosmetic Treatment.” The Journal of clinical and aesthetic dermatology vol. 10,2 (2017): E1-E4.