You got a little hot and heavy in the heat of the moment — and now there’s evidence of it for all to see, right there on your neck.
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A hickey is a bruise caused by trauma to the skin, such as by sucking or biting. And although they aren’t serious injuries, they can be pretty embarrassing! So how can you get rid of a hickey ASAP?
Dermatologist Alok Vij, MD, explains how to minimize a hickey while you wait for it to fully fade.
The truth sucks (hickey pun intended): There’s no quick and easy way to get rid of a hickey. Like other forms of bruising, they need time to heal.
There’s good news, though. Most bruises last anywhere from three days to two weeks, and hickies, which are a superficial form of bruising, don’t take as long to heal as other types.
“The amount of trauma to the skin that creates a hickey isn’t as great as the trauma that causes, say, a black eye,” says Dr. Vij, “so hickies can heal earlier on the spectrum as compared to other causes of bruising.”
And while the internet is full of DIY tips that claim to get rid of a hickey overnight, Dr. Vij says there’s no real science to most of them. Instead, he shares his top tips for minimizing your hickey’s appearance as it heals.
Your best bet is to treat your hickey with good old-fashioned warm compresses.
“Warm compresses can help open up your body’s blood vessels and break down the stain, taking away the red blood cells that have spilled out from the blood vessels and into your skin,” Dr. Vij explains.
You can do the following method as many as four times a day throughout the duration of your hickey:
And though cold compresses can help in cases of more substantial bruising, don’t bother putting them on your hickey. “The trauma to your skin is minimal enough that cold won’t do much good,” Dr. Vij says.
Instead, jump right to warm compresses and repeat as necessary for as many days as it takes the mark to fade.
In addition to the warm compress method, you can apply the following gels or creams to your hickey to help speed the healing process:
Some sources suggest aloe vera, which can calm skin inflammation (as in the case of sunburns) — but Dr. Vij says it’s not actually much help on hickies. “With a hickey, there’s not that much skin inflammation,” he says. “It’s just slight trauma.”
If you have a big event coming up, you can ask your doctor about laser removal for a hickey in the 24 to 48 hours after it first appears. Beyond that, though, even lasering can’t help much, and you’ll just have to wait out the healing process.
With no real way to remove a hickey, your best bet is to keep it covered, whether by clothing or with light makeup. Time to stock up on scarves!