Are Hickeys Dangerous? 6 Things You Didn't Know About Love Bites, Because These Bruises Leave Scars

They may seem innocent enough, but sometimes the side effects of hickeys are pretty bad. In fact, hickeys are the most common sex injury out there. Yes! While they may be proof, albeit unattractive proof, that you’ve gotten some sexy times, the downside of hickeys outweigh the upsides. Hickeys are bad news bears, to be honest, and not just because your parents grounded you for them in high school.

Hickeys are caused by excessive sucking or biting of the soft spots on the body, most notably the neck and/or inner thighs. Just below the surface of the skin are tiny blood cells known as capillaries, and when someone gives you a love bite with some extreme intensity, the capillaries break, creating what looks like an ugly bruise. Granted, all bruises are ugly, but hickeys are especially ugly, because they’re often in the shape of a mouth that has been puckered up so as to give some maximum sucking action.

They tend to last a couple weeks, slowing dulling in color as each day passes, and before long you have a nasty looking yellow-brown spot that fades completely there after. But the life of a hickey is the least of your problems.

The next time your main squeeze goes in for a bite or suck, you may want to reconsider. I mean, they won't kill you, but they're not exactly something you want.

Here are six things you may not have known about hickeys.

1. Hickeys Are Just Bruises

Although they require much more effort to get than, say, walking into a coffee table, as I said above, hickeys are really just bruises. They're caused by the same broken capillaries that come with banging some part of your body against something hard. They're really not more complicated than that, well, except for the sucking factor necessary to make them happen.

2. People With Iron Deficiencies Get Hickeys Easier

Which, of course, makes perfect sense, because those who don't have enough iron in their diets also bruise easier. Red meat and dark leafy greens, if hickeys are part of your usual sexual practices, can make help make them from appearing so easily.

3. Hickeys Can Pass The Oral Herpes Virus

If your partner has oral herpes and they lean in to give you a hickey while one of their cold sores is active, that contact against your skin can result in them giving you the virus. Of course, someone who has an oral herpes outbreak shouldn’t be engaging in sexual contact of any kind, that is if they want to keep their partner healthy, but sometimes in the heat of the moment, people forget. Don’t let that happen to you.

4. There Are No Cure For Hickeys

While there’s no “cure” for hickeys, per se, (some swear by ice, but it just reduces the swelling), it has been found that the healthier you are, the faster the little buggers will heal. Staying dehydrated and eating well are both components in a speedy recovery from hickeys.

5. Hickeys Can Leave A Scar

So, it’s pretty rare and has to do with both how fair your skin is, the severity of the hickey, and if there was some biting involved, but yes, sometimes hickeys can leave a scar. It won’t be totally noticeable and you’ll probably be the only one who can see it, because you’ll know it’s there, but it can happen. (I have a hickey scar from when I was 15. Ugh.)

But what can really cause a scar from a hickey is picking at it, instead of just letting it be!

6. Hickeys Can Cause Strokes

No joke. In 2011, a New Zealand woman suffered a stroke from a hickey. Apparently, her partner’s suck was so, sucky I guess, that it actually created a blood clot in her neck which led to not just the stroke, but paralysis of her left arm.

Although this appears to be the only documented hickey induced stroke, the fact is that it happened, and you never know when the next one can strike!

Images: Knivesout/Flickr; Giphy(6)