You have two days. Just two days to remove that large, unsightly hickey before going home to Mom, Dad, Grandma, and turkey. Worse yet, you might be going not to your own home but to someone else’s, maybe even your significant others’. The last thing you would want is for your partner’s parents to think that either of you is into strangulation. Eek!
Firstly, what is a hickey? A hickey is pretty much your average bruise, caused by the excessive sucking to soft skin. When the skin is sucked particularly hard, the blood vessels just below the surface of the skin rupture, pouring blood into the surrounding tissue. As the blood is no longer being oxygenated in this area, it loses its red coloring and as it clots and dries out, produces the purple or brown hickey we see so frequently, especially on Saturday and Sunday mornings. As the neck, with some of the softest skin on our bodies, is a particularly erogenous zone to many of us, it is the most common location for hickeys to form. It is also, unfortunately, a very visible part of the body.
So, for those who may have been feeling particularly vampirish after Halloween or in preparation for the new Twilight movie, and who want to avoid a great deal of embarrassment and awkward Thanksgiving dinner conversation, here are Monica’s tried and true tips to removing hickeys before you chow down on some turkey and stuffing:
Ice Ice Baby: Methods involving the cold are best used in the first 12-24 hours after receiving a hickey. This is because this reduces the amount of blood flowing from the burst blood vessel. So ice that puppy as quickly as possible. Continually ice your battle wound (or wounds) throughout the day if you can. Many people recommend a cold spoon, but an ice pack works just fine. Or, as my friend, Sullivan, recommends, a frozen beer. That way you can drink the beer when it thaws.
Rub One Out: Using any of these next few methods can be quite painful, but are necessary to remove the appearance of a hickey. By rubbing at the hickey, you can actively break up the clotted blood, making it easier to be absorbed by your body. Objects you can use to rub at the hickey:
-Chapstick cap (it fits perfectly on your fingertip)
-Credit card (“It hurts so good ;)” my friend Carter says)
–The edge of a coin (highly recommended!)
As with all of these methods, you must be extra cautious that you don’t cause any further bruising with your ministrations. You really want to rub at it, pressing quite hard, and you will be quite red afterwards, but you don’t want to pop another blood vessel in the process. That’s why I would recommend alternating between icing and rubbing every twenty or so minutes. Continue to at least massage the area throughout the process of hickey removal.
Slather it On: There are plenty of topical applications you can use to relieve the sight of your hickey. These help to increase blood flow to the area and help the body reabsorb the hickey blood. They also help with the appearance of swelling.
-Peppermint toothpaste or other mint-based products (don’t worry, the tingling is normal! Once it stops tingling, rub off with a warm washcloth).
-Vitamin K lotion
-Vitamin E/Aloe Vera lotion (helps heal burst capillaries)
-Arnica Salve/Witch Hazel (contracts blood vessels back to their normal size)
– Preparation H (some people swear by it, I’ve never tried this myself. But if it helps with *hem hem* inflammation…)
Pop Some Pills: After you are sure the blood vessel has closed (the hickey is no longer red but more purple or brown), you can take some medications such as aspirin or Excedrin to not only help with the pain of a particularly bad hickey, but to also help increase blood flow to the area, making it heal faster. Vitamin C is also recommended, as it helps your body repair itself. You want the hickey to go away, not turn yellow, after all. Another thing you can do is stay active: keep you neck elevated and your blood flowing!
Get Hot and Steamy: Heating up the area will increase blood flow and help in the reabsorption of the hickey blood. However, if the blood vessel has not fully healed, this will only increase bleeding and make the hickey worse. Therefore, wait to employ the heat method for at least 48 hours after receiving the hickey. You can use a hot water bottle, hot washcloth, or even a heating patch from the pharmacy if you so choose. But remember, don’t use heat too soon! And don’t burn yourself!
If these methods truly don’t work in the short amount of time before you head to your respective Thanksgiving locations, you can always cover up your hickey with makeup (concealer specifically), a nice and cozy scarf, a turtleneck, hair, this awesome neck pillow, or a WICKED AWESOME TEMPORARY TATTOO!
I wish all those with hickeys luck in your removal. Let me know how it goes! And a very wonderful Thanksgiving to you all. I am thankful for you!