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How to Remove a Hickey

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Get Rid of a Hickey Safely & Easily

Almost anyone who's ever had a... romantic encounter, shall we say, has dealt with the problem of hickeys. Oh, sure, they're a lot of fun to get, and a lot of fun to give, but getting rid of them after is a problem. They're dramatic, unsightly, and tell everyone around you something you are quite possibly embarrassed about sharing with them. So if you have a job interview, or a dinner with your family, or just don't want to announce your personal life to the world, here are some steps you can take to get your skin looking blemish-free once again.

Background and Basics

First of all, what is a hickey, anyway? Well, a hickey is caused by someone sucking, and probably biting, on the skin for an extended period of time--say half a minute. When this happens, the blood vessels near the surface of the skin break--specifically the really small ones known as capillaries. To put it another way, a hickey is simply a type of bruise, and it heals the same way any other bruise heals, over time. Unfortunately, unless you're lucky enough to have a hickey on your knee, you probably can't pass it off as being sports-related. And besides, hickeys tend to look like hickeys, rather than regular bruises.

Methods for getting rid of or otherwise dealing with a hickey tend to fall into two main categories: healing the hickey, and concealing the hickey. If you're going to be trying to heal the hickey, make sure you act as soon as possible after receiving the hickey to maximize your chances of the technique working. (Note: It is unlikely this advice is needed, but there is no need to rush to get rid of the hickey until after your... Aphrodisian interlude... is over, at least temporarily.)

As Cold as Ice

The majority of methods for healing a hickey involve applying something cold to the affected area. Like any other kind of bruise, it will help to reduce the swelling and make the color less dramatically visible. There are several cold things you can use for this purpose. Here is a short list of them. Again, make sure you do this as soon as possible once you've got the hickey.

  • A cold spoon. One of the best-known methods, simply put a spoon into the freezer for five to ten minutes to get it cold. Note that if you use the cold spoon method, it will heat up from your body heat much faster than the other methods.
  • Ice pack, wrapped in a towel
  • Ice cubes in a plastic baggie, wrapped in a towel

These are the steps to follow:

  • Prepare the cold item. Put the ice in the bag, put the spoon in the freezer, get the ice pack out of the freezer, wrap whatever you're using in a towel if you aren't using a spoon.
  • Put the cold spoon / ice in a towel on the hickey, making sure to take it off after 20 minutes or when it starts to feel uncomfortable.
  • Repeat Step 2. Twenty minutes on, five minutes off is a good general rule when applying ice to a bruise or other injury. If it gets painful, even if it hasn't been on for twenty minutes yet, remove it, and leave it off for five minutes before reapplying. If using the cold spoon method, you can use those five minutes to keep the spoon cold by leaving it in the freezer while you wait.

Giving Your Hickey the Brush Off

  • Get out a toothbrush or a thin-toothed comb. Some people recommend using a soft-bristled brush, others say a stiff-bristled toothbrush is better. Either way, you probably only have one kind of toothbrush in your house, so use whatever you have around that will work. Note: Do not use a hairbrush.
  • Make sure you don't press too hard! Doing so may worsen the hickey instead of helping make it better.
  • Brush the hickey slowly, in a circular motion all around the affected area. Move from the center of the hickey outward.
  • The area around the hickey will appear very red at first. This is because you are helping to improve circulation in the hickey and surrounding skin. Wait for about ten or fifteen minutes. It might not show any signs of improvement right away, but after about fifteen minutes you should be able to tell if it is working or not.
  • Apply a cold compress as directed above after using this method. It is especially important to do this if the area heats up or gets very red after brushing it.
  • Repeat the above steps as necessary. For very large hickeys, this method may be less effective, only spreading it out and thinning the color a little, instead of making the hickey go away completely.

Change from a Coin

Take note, this method hurts. It does have the unique advantage that, even if it doesn't work, you have a much more believable excuse for what that mark on your neck is.

  • Using the fingers of your off-hand, stretch the skin around the hickey taut.
  • With the edge of a coin, scrape the taut skin from the center of the bruise outward. You want to scrape hard, but not hard enough to break the skin, or cause bleeding, or hurt more than you can handle.
  • This method is supposed to help push the blood outward from the affected area. There will be redness from the scraping, but that will go away much faster than a hickey. And having a bunch of scrapes makes for much easier explaining away if you need an excuse. i.e. "I rode past a tree on my bike" vs. "I got hit with a snowball."

Your Salve-ation

There are a few substances you can apply to the hickey as a salve to help heal the hickey.

  • The most readily-available substance is toothpaste. Put a layer of it on the hickey. When it stops tingling, which should happen after a couple of minutes, remove the toothpaste with a warm washcloth. This is especially important to do as soon as possible after getting the hickey. You can repeat this method as necessary, but make sure to wait twenty four hours between applications of toothpaste.
  • There are herbal creams available, such as witch hazel or arnica salve. These herbal solutions are supposed to help both to ease the swelling and to reduce the visibility of the hickey. Apply on top of the hickey as a cream.
  • Applying Vitamin K cream may help to let your skin take the blood back into itself. Blood from broken capillaries is what causes the red and brown color of a hickey.
hickey removal

Concealing the Hickey

This section deals with various methods, tips, and tricks for covering up your hickey, rather than or in addition to the above methods for helping to speed up the healing process.

Using Makeup to Conceal a Hickey

  • Start by applying foundation that's a little lighter than your skin. You will want to apply the foundation all over the hickey and the surrounding area, so it is less obvious that there's anything for you to be concealing in the first place. Use a mineral foundation for best results, and make sure to start from the center and work outward from there.
  • A greenish concealer is the most effective color to use, because the green directly counteracts the red tone of the hickey.
  • If you don't have any concealer, you can also use an eyeshadow that's a similar color to your skin tone but somewhat lighter.

Covering Up Your Passion with Your Fashion

There are various ways to simply cover up a hickey. Here are a few of them.
  • If it's winter or fall, try wearing a turtleneck or a scarf. It's especially less noticeable if you wear turtlenecks or scarves regularly throughout the season, so if you expect to be getting a lot of hickeys you may want to get in the habit of including them as a regular part of your wardrobe. You don't want to be the one whose friends know you had a good night whenever you're wearing a scarf.
  • If it's the summer, try wearing a collared shirt or blouse, taking care to make sure the top isn't see-through. If you're pale, a hickey on your chest or collarbone is easily visible through a white shirt on a sunny day.
  • If you have long hair, you can wear it down to conceal a hickey on your neck. The biggest problem with this is that hair moves around a lot, and you'll have to be adjusting it often to keep the hickey covered. However it shouldn't be much trouble if you have a lot of hair and a relatively small hickey.
  • If the hickey is low enough down, a high-necked shirt should be enough to cover it up, as long as the shirt is not see-through in any light. Dark-colored cotton tees or polo shirts should do the trick just fine.

Other Good Tips For Getting Rid of Hickeys

  • Massage the hickey and the skin surrounding it. This should help the blood to circulate, and while it probably won't make the hickey go away completely, it will at the very least lessen the visibility of the hickey.
  • If the hickey lasts more than a couple of days, you can try applying heat to it. Take a washcloth and get it wet with hot water, squeeze the washcloth so it isn't dripping, then hold the washcloth against your skin. Once it cools off, you can repeat the process. You can also try getting a reusable heating pad from the drug store. They're fairly cheap and have the advantage that the heat lasts longer.
  • Lastly, you can always just wait it out. Small hickeys usually don't last longer than a day or two, and even the worst ones don't last much more than a week.

How Not to Get a Hickey Next Time

  • Right when things are... ahem... getting interesting, or about to start getting interesting, ask the person you're with to be careful not to leave a hickey.
  • If you need to know how not to leave a hickey so you can tell the person you're with, then just ask them to make sure not to suck too hard and especially not too long.

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This page was last modified on 16 August 2013, at 23:12.
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