8 Tricks for How to Get Rid of a Hickey, According to Dermatologists
Let's be real: Hickeys aren't just reserved for inexperienced teenagers making out in their cars. Unfortunately, they don't discriminate when it comes to making their mark on skin—anyone is vulnerable to the horror of a hickey. Whether you notice one on your neck the night before an important meeting or a hickey lingers during dinner with your grandparents, no one enjoys dealing with these love bites. So, you've probably reached a point in the past when you wondered how to get rid of a hickey.
Unfortunately, there's no magic cream or clear-cut trick that will instantly get rid of a hickey. Remember, hickeys are actually bruises, so like any other mark, it will take some time to disappear. However, dermatologists and skincare experts offered some tried and true tips for how to get rid of a hickey. (And if all else fails, reach for your makeup bag.)
What is a hickey?
If you've woken up after a passionate night in bed, looked in the mirror, and noticed bruised skin on your neck (or hey—anywhere on your body), we're guessing you let a few curse words slip out. Your next train of thought might have been annoyance at whoever branded you. But have you ever stopped to think, "How did this even happen?"
"A hickey is a deep red or purple bruise on the skin that is caused by suction," Board-Certified Dermatologist of Riverchase Dermatology, Dr. Stacy Chimento, tells HelloGiggles. "Intense suction and pressure on the skin can result in bursted blood vessels. These blood vessels release tiny amounts of blood when broken, which gives a hickey its red/purple color."
How to get rid of a hickey:
So, you've accepted that you have a hickey to deal with. Now, how do you get rid of it? (Because turtleneck tops aren't always an option during warm weather days.) Above all else, timelines are key; Dr. Chimento recommends tending to your hickey as soon as possible to prevent it from growing darker and bigger.
"As soon as you see a hickey forming on your body, you should apply a cold compress, like an ice pack or a spoon chilled in the freezer," Dr. Chimento advises. "Cold temperatures can help reduce the blood flow from the broken blood vessel into the skin and stop a bruise from getting darker or larger. Hold a cold compress on the hickey for 10 minutes as many times as possible for the first one to two days."
Below are five tricks for how to get rid of a hickey, stat.
1. Give yourself a mini massage.
"Massaging the skin where a hickey is present can regulate blood flow to the area and may be able to help the bruise fade quicker," Dr. Chimento says. "Try massaging a hickey in circular motions for two to three minutes at a time as many times a day as possible—if the bruise is still prominent after the first two days."
2. Apply a cold compress.
As Dr. Chimento mentioned, a cold compress can help stop the hickey in its tracks, preventing it from spreading across more skin. So, the whole spoon-in-the-freezer trick isn't a myth after all. Anything cold, like a bag of frozen food or an ice roller will do the trick, too.
3. Use Arnica gel.
"Arnica gel helps speed up the body's healing process and stimulates circulation which aids in reducing swelling, bruising, and pain," Dr. Chimento explains. "Applying arnica gel one to two times a day to a hickey may reduce its discoloration and help it heal at a faster rate."
4. Moisturize with aloe vera.
"To help the healing rate of a hickey, you need to use something that will help the skin heal and repair, like vitamin E cream, aloe vera gel, or essential oils," aesthetician Alison Angold tells HelloGiggles. "Lavender, chamomile and marjoram are particularly good at healing bruises, while clary sage and bergamot are good for reducing the redness and inflammation in the area, and sandalwood specifically reduces the redness of broken capillaries. Remember to dilute the essential oils in a carrier substance before applying to the skin."
5. Eat helpful foods.
Surprisingly, there are certain foods that help bruises heal faster. For example, pineapple contains an enzyme called bromelain that helps bring down swelling and inflammation. Plus, vitamin K helps your body absorb clots of pooled blood (like those in a hickey), so fuel up on foods rich in Vitamin K, like kale, broccoli, spinach, and brown rice. It can't hurt, right?
How to hide a hickey:
If you have no luck with the tricks above, you might have to resort to concealing rather than healing until the hickey goes away on its own.
1. Use your hair.
If you have long enough hair to cover a neck hickey, take advantage of it. Simply position your hair so it hides the hickey, and make sure you keep it there while you talk to other people.
2. Cover it with clothes.
If you don't have long hair or it doesn't reach the spot where the hickey is, you might have to opt for a turtleneck, scarf, or thick necklace to hide the love bite.
3. Grab your makeup bag.
As a last resort, reach for your makeup bag to get the job done. "Concealing a hickey can be a little tricky but not impossible," makeup artist Desireé Delia tells HelloGiggles. "First, you want to prime the area with your favorite primer. Then, apply a layer of green color corrector to cancel out any bruising, and then finish by applying concealer and foundation to smooth out area and complete coverage."