If things get steamy this Valentine’s day, then you may end up sporting a hickey, otherwise known as a “love bite” or a “kiss mark,” which is a bruise that’s caused when someone sucks or aggressively kisses another person’s skin. Usually, hickeys will fade away on their own within two weeks. While hickeys between consenting partners aren’t anything to be ashamed of, you might not want them on display in every situation.
If you want to hide or get rid of a hickey quickly, here are some handy hickey healing and hiding tips, according to Joshua Zeichner, MD, director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City.
The cold spoon or frozen peas trick
“The best way to heal a hickey quickly is to help the skin clear the red blood cells as effectively as possible,” says Zeichner.
The cold spoon method is a doctor-recommended treatment for bruises, and since a hickey is a type of bruise, holding a cold spoon (or frozen peas, or ice, or anything cold) can help cool down those blood vessels.
With this method, the quicker you act, the better it’ll work, so start as soon as you notice the hickey forming. Just be sure to wrap cold objects in a cloth or towel before applying them to your skin.
Dab it with arnica gel or lotion
According to Zeichner, arnica is a “botanical extract rich in antioxidants”. Though the research on arnica’s usefulness in healing hickeys is scant, Zeichner says it’s still worth a try.
“It is thought to have anti-inflammatory effects, improving conditions ranging from muscle aches to bruises,” he says. Arnica is usually found in gel or lotion form for bruises and can be applied topically to the bruise many times a day.
Apply vitamin K cream
“Vitamin K is an essential co-factor for the production of clotting factors in the blood,” Zeichner explains.
Soothe the skin with aloe vera, cocoa butter, or banana
If you’re not necessarily looking to hide the hickey, but are rather looking for some relief from the bruise, then natural ingredients can be used to soothe your skin.
Cocoa butter hydrates skin, provides a protective barrier, is high in fatty acids, and improves elasticity, so it’s a good choice if you want to make your skin feel great.
Aloe vera also has soothing properties. If you have your own aloe vera plant at home, then you can harvest the gel straight from the plant by cutting the leaf in half. Otherwise, you can pick up the bottled gel at your local pharmacy or grocery store.
The inside of a banana peel will also contain moisturizing and hydrating vitamins and minerals, along with polysaccharides to reduce inflammation.
Cover it with makeup
The most reliable and rapid solution for hiding a hickey is physically covering it up. If it’s too hot for turtle necks and scarves, then it might be time to practice your makeup skills. The hickey will either seem more red, purple, dark brown, or yellow, depending on your skin tone, and each color requires different color correctors.
To neutralize redness, a green concealer works best. Red concealer will hide dark purple or brown spots, and orange or salmon-colored correctors will work the best for bluish-purple love bites. Once you’ve applied a layer of color corrector, add concealer that’s one shade lighter than your skin tone and then blend thoroughly by gently tapping on the skin. To make sure your makeup lasts, finish with a setting spray.
Finally, (bonus tip) if you’re working from home, you can always join your video meetings with a cat-face filter and no one can see how frisky you’ve been!