I for one don’t let my girlfriend give me hickies. There’s nothing more tasteless than having the leftovers of your make out sessions on display for the whole world to see in the form of a reddish blotched hickey. It’s like you didn’t even wash your hands. Granted, it’s proof positive that you are in fact “getting some.” But the people around you who aren’t getting that sweet, sweet lovin’ aren’t impressed, I assure you. I can’t count the number of times I’ve had to sit in with a student whose neck was covered with hickies. It is impossible to concentrate on writing, and the teaching of writing, when your student looks like they’ve been savagely beaten with a leech. So, for my sake and yours, here are some things you can do to get rid of a hickey.
What are hickies?
Hickies are like any other bruise, a hemorrhage just below the skin caused by broken capillaries, and just like any other bruise there is no “get rid of hickies fast” remedy…outside of, y’know, not getting one (or giving one) in the first place. Although the steps I walk you through in this article will help speed up the process of removing hickies, it will not actually make the hicky disappear just like that.
Steps to Getting Rid of a Hickey
Step 1: Keep your hickey elevated. This shouldn’t be terribly difficult if your hickey is on that oh-so-cliche place: your neck. Got a busy day ahead of you? Good. Walk around, go shopping, maybe go for a jog, and stay on your feet. This will help keep your blood flowing and keep the bruise elevated at the same time–two birds with one stone! If you’re too self-conscious to go out, scroll down for some ideas to cover up your hickey.
Step 2: Apply ice to the hickey. You can do this by putting some ice in a paper towel and keeping it pressed (lightly) against your skin. This works because damage done to your skin or the blood vessels in your skin is going to cause some swelling, and swelling will compress your capillaries (small blood vessels) and new blood cannot get in to help fix the damage. An icepack will help prevent swelling around the hickey, but make sure to keep the pressure against your skin to a minimum. You want to cool things down just slightly.
Step 3: Take ibuprofen, aspirin, or Tylenol. Excedrin will work too, because it contains both acetaminophen and aspirin (an anti-inflammatory drug), and this is good for treating a hickey because it dulls the pain and keeps blood platelets from adhering, thus reducing the amount of blood clots and easing the flow of subcutaneous blood (just beneath the skin). Take this right away.
Step 4: Drink some fresh orange juice or take an extended release Vitamin C. Vitamin C is an essential nutrient your body needs to help repair your skin. Have you ever noticed one of your bruises turning yellow instead of going away? That’s because your body isn’t able to synthesize collagen quickly enough. Probably because you haven’t been getting enough Vitamin C. If you don’t want to take a vitamin, remember that fresh orange juice has the highest concentration of Vitamin C.
Step 5: After 24-48 hours, apply heat. What you were doing with the ice was constricting the capillaries to stop further bleeding. Now, the capillaries have healed and it’s time to dilate the capillaries to make sure a lot of fresh new blood can come in and help clean up the mess. Do this with a wash cloth soaked in warm water for several minutes, wrung out, and then applied to the area for five minutes three times a day.
Step 6: Continue taking Aspirin until the hickey is gone. Aspirin is what they prescribe to stroke and heart patients because it keeps your blood from clotting, making it act more fluid. This is good for bruises. The more blood you can get flowing in your skin, the faster your hickey is going to disappear. Don’t take more Aspirin than the instructions tell you. If you can’t take Aspirin then acetaminophen or ibruprofen will work, too, but ibuprofen is hard on your stomach and may eventually make you more susceptible to ulcers.
Covering a Hickey
Covering a hickey, if you’re a girl, is pretty easy. You have two options open to you. You can either wear a shirt with a high collar to help you conceal the hickey (caution is recommended for those of you with a lot of neck fat), or you can use makeup to conceal the hickey. Apparently concealer, which isn’t actually a word, with a green tint is the best way to go because concealers (there goes Word again) with green tint help to reduce blemishes that are red.
For boys, things are a little more difficult, and you’re stuck to either wearing a turtle neck or finding a really cool looking bandage to put over it. Of course, if you buy the bandage, you’re going to have to come up with a really good story. And of course, the second people get wind of the fact that your story is bogus and the girl who did that to you doesn’t like you anymore, well, I’m not going to go into details but good luck braving those turbulent waters we call hormone induced social behavior.
Natural Hickey Remedies
A glass of red wine. If you’re lucky enough (or old enough) to be a wine drinker, a glass of red wine per night may actually benefit you. Red wine contains a substance called resveratrol, which prevents blood clots and protects your body from arterial damage. However, if you’re not a drinker, it isn’t recommended that you start drinking just to reduce the visibility of your hickey(s).
Strawberries. As it turns out, strawberries contain a substance called saliycylic acid (salicylates) that are natural blood thinners. Not only that, but they’re also a good source of Vitamin C.
Fish oil. Fish oil is another blood-thinning substance that you might want to try. Certain studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acids (found in fish oil) reduce inflammation and swelling. Don’t take too much. One gram per day is recommended by the American Heart Association.
Aloe is sometimes used to treat a hickey, sooth dry skin, and provide added moisture where perhaps your friend has stripped your skin of it with that vacuum for a mouth they have. Just break a stick off and squeeze the juice right out onto your hickey. Ah! Now doesn’t that feel better?
Witch Hazel is known by a small cadre of elite hickey removal specialists. Well, I wouldn’t call them specialists, more like a forum of believers I found on the internet. Anyway, they think that witch hazel will make a hickey go away faster. I can’t tell you this is true because there isn’t a lot of money being poured in to an answer for the cure to hickies, you know? Apparently Dickinson’s makes a number of skin care products from witch hazel.