When I got my first love bite, my immediate response was how the hell I was going to get rid of a hickey? Or, more specifically, how I was going to hide it from my parents? I already knew that to be spotted with such a thing on my neck at 16 was likely to give both my parents a heart attack, and not only did I not want to be an orphan, but I didn’t want to be the reason why I had become an orphan. So, I did what any kid my age would do: Started wearing a scarf… in July, as one does when one has a hickey. Nothing suspicious about that. Not at all.
In my life, I’d end up with a few more hickeys ― always accidentally. To be honest, sporting a hickey isn’t my scene, so the few times it occurred, I either tried to cover it with makeup ― making it so much worse looking ― or I’d wear a scarf… no matter what the temperature outside was. Hickeys may be very easy is to give, but trying to get rid of them is an entirely different story.
But, while there’s no magic ointment that will erase a hickey within seconds, there are a few things you can do to speed up the healing process. Here are six ways to heal a hickey.
1. Ice It
Here's a fun fact about hickeys: they're technically an injury. They’re caused by sucking the skin hard enough to bring blood to the surface resulting in broken capillaries. When you apply ice to the area, you’re helping to stop the spreading of this blood just beneath the surface. So once you’ve spotted the hickey, reach for an ice pack, a bag of frozen peas ― whatever you have in your freezer ― and hold it against the hickey for at least 10 to 15 minutes several times a day.
Some people swear by the frozen spoon technique, by putting a spoon in the freezer and applying that when it’s cold enough, but to be honest, ice is going to retain its coldness longer than a spoon.
2. Take An Anti-Inflammatory
While an anti-inflammatory, as in Ibuprofen, won’t erase the color of the hickey, it will help with any swelling. In keeping the swelling down, it can help the hickey look less noticeable and get it moving on its way.
3. Sleep With Your Head Propped Up
As is the case with any injury involving blood, you want to keep it above your heart because it helps prevent further blood from flowing to the hickey and making it worse. I’m not saying that one night of sleeping with your head on three pillows, if your hickey is on your neck, is going to make it disappear ASAP, but it will help to speed up the recovery process.
4. Apply A Topical Ointment
Depending on who you ask, everyone has a different answer for the “perfect” ointment, cream, or salve to heal a hickey. From witch hazel to peppermint oil to arnica salve to coco butter to aloe to vinegar ― there seems to be no shortage of possible “cures” for hickeys.
However, while I think all of these might help in their own way, you must remember that everyone’s body is different and what might help the healing process for one person, might not have the same effect for someone else. That being said, personally, I have tried them all and I can’t say whether or not they made a huge difference in healing the few hickeys I’ve had. At the time I thought they made a difference, but I also wonder how much of that was wishful thinking taking over the logical part of my brain.
5. Drink Some Orange Juice
Vitamin C not only protects skin cells and blood vessels, but can help get them back in shape. Since that’s the case, vitamin C also falls on the list of things that can help heal a hickey. Whether you consume orange juice by the gallon, pop ample amounts of vitamin C pills, or reach for other foods high in vitamin C, they can help in healing your hickey.
6. Just Leave It The Hell Alone
You know what's really going to heal your hickey more than anything else? Leaving. It. Alone. Don't massage it ― that could lead to more broken capillaries. Don't poke at it ― you'll just further irritate it.
While all of these tips can help a hickey heal a bit faster, honestly, your best bet in healing your hickey is to give it time, as you would with any other injury. You can apply concealer or makeup to hide it. And depending on how dark and how big it is, that time could run you close to two weeks. You actually might find after your first hickey, that it will be your last.
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