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Better known as a "love bite", a hickey is basically a bruise. It is usually semi-circular in shape and is caused when a person, in a moment of passion, sucks on to the skin of his partner and pulls it into his mouth for some time. This causes the blood capillaries under the skin on that spot to be broken. Blood oozes out of the ruptured blood vessels and clots under the skin. This causes a reddish-brown discoloration of the skin, just like any other bruise. The most common location for a hickey is the neck. It may take one to two weeks for the blood collected in the affected tissue to get reabsorbed and the hickey to disappear.

Although the person receiving the hickey may enjoy the moment, it can be very embarrassing later. The mark is there for one and all to see and can be taken as a sign of sexual promiscuity when seen on the neck of teens and young adults.

Ways to hide a hickey

There are various ways to hide a hickey. Some of the most commonly employed methods include:

  • Covering the area with some clothing. For example, one may opt to wear a turtleneck in order to hide a hickey on the neck.
  • Using a concealer on the affected area may also be considered a good option. However, the mark may be visible under certain lights.

Ways to get rid of the hickey as quickly as possible

Though a hickey typically takes a few weeks to disappear, certain methods, when employed at the right time, can help to get rid of it earlier. Some of these methods include:

The cold method

The cold method involves application of ice wrapped in a paper towel at the site of the mark. The ice cube is to be applied using a firm pressure, and moved on the surface of the hickey and the area around it. It constricts the blood vessels, thereby reducing the amount of blood that oozes out from the damaged capillaries. This, in turn, reduces the size of the hickey. Rubbing the ice also helps to break up the coagulated blood in the area.

This method works best when the ice is applied within two hours of getting the hickey. Apply the ice on the site for around 10 minutes and repeat the process as many times as possible. If an ice cube is unavailable, one can also use metallic spoons which have been kept in the freezer for at least 10 minutes.

The hot method

This method is used to get rid of a hickey which is more than 48 hours old. By this time, the damaged blood capillaries have already healed. Applying a hot pack on the area will dilate the vessels and increase the blood flow to the affected area. This, in turn, will encourage quicker reabsorption of the blood clots so that the skin in the affected area returns back to its normal color faster.

You can use a hot water bottle, a warm compress, or even a towel dipped in warm water for this purpose. The hot method should be employed for about 15 minutes, three times a day. One should be careful however, not to use the hot method for a hickey less than 48 hours old. This is because the heat would dilate the damaged blood capillaries, causing more blood to ooze out of them. This would result in a hickey much bigger in size.

The pressure method

In this method, subtle pressure is applied over a hickey in order to break up the collected blood and spread it around. So, the hickey is not very prominent. It also increases the blood circulation of the affected area and aids faster reabsorption of the clotted blood. One can use a lipstick, a pen cap, a comb, a toothbrush or even a coin to apply the pressure.

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