If lift weights, play field hockey, practice modern dance or are just plain clumsy, you might find yourself with a lot of unsightly bruises. Whenever a bruise pops up, you're probably left wondering how get rid of a bruise — fast! While the average total healing time of a bruise is 10 to 14 days, you can speed up the healing process. Read on to discover 12 ways to heal your bruise on the double.
If you're injured, get off your feet. That will reduce blood flow to the bruise which can help it from getting too bad. Bruises, or contusions, are the result of the trapped blood from broken capillaries pooling beneath the skin's surface. Less blood flow, then, can mean a less severe bruise.
2. Ice the Bruised Area
A bruise indicates there's a wound, so in order to heal the bruise you must heal the wound. To reduce swelling (and speed up healing), apply ice on and off for the first 24 to 48 hours. The proper way to ice is to wrap your ice pack (or frozen peas) in a towel and leave it on the area for ten minutes at a time. If you feel like icing again shortly after, wait at least 20 minutes to give your skin a break from the chill.
3. Elevate the Bruised Area
As with ice, the goal here is to reduce swelling in order to speed up the healing process. Keep the bruised area above your heart in order to drain the area of fluid and reduce pressure.
4. Apply Heat
Heat will also help reduce swelling and help blood circulate post-injury. Blood circulation is key in the days following an injury because it will help clear out the blood trapped beneath the skin. Wait 24 hours after the injury, and then apply heat on and off.
5. Take Ibuprofen
Not only will ibuprofen help with the pain, it will help reduce swelling and subsequent bruising, as well.
6. Get More Iron
If you're anemic or iron deficient, you're at a higher risk for bruising. To get more iron in your diet, consider supplements or adding more poultry, beans, beef and green, leafy vegetables to your diet.
7. Get Some Vitamin C
Vitamin C is known to help build collagen tissue around your skin's blood vessels. It also helps the body absorb iron properly. Leafy, green veggies and citrus fruits are excellent sources of the vitamin, so adding them to your diet can definitely help you heal your bruise more quickly. Getting 500 milligrams a day will go a long way to helping you ward off bad bruising by adequately building up your collagen tissue.
8. Don't Touch It
Given that the area is in pain, you might want to massage it — resist the urge. Touching or massaging the bruise may actually resulting in more broken blood vessels and a worse-looking bruise.
9. Apply Arnica to the Bruise
For those who like prefer natural remedies, try arnica. Arnica is a medicinal herb known for treating pain and swelling. You can get it in topical gel or ointment form, which you can then apply directly to the bruised skin.
10. If the Bruise is Accompanied by a Cut, Keep It Covered
Oftentimes, a bruise isn't the only problem — you can also be dealing with scrape or cut. If that's the case, you can speed up the healing of the skin by cleaning it thoroughly with soap and water, followed by an application of an antibiotic cream like Neosporin, and then bandaging it securely.
11. Don't Smoke
If you're a smoker, and you need yet another reason to quit, you should know that smoking decreases blood supply and delays tissue repair, thus causing your bruise to heal at a glacial pace.
12. Try to Avoid Certain Medications
If you find yourself getting lots of unexplained bruises, you should reevaluate your current prescription regimen. Blood thinning medications, birth control pills, aspirin, arthritis medication, diuretics and corticosteroids may be contributing to your bruises. If you suspect this is the case, talk to your doctor to see if there are alternative medicines you can use so you'll be less bruised.