How to Get Rid of Bruises
There are several steps you can take to encourage faster fading of the bruise. First, you want to reduce blood flow to the area, then encourage the pooled blood to dissipate. A few simple first aid techniques and home remedies are outlined below.
Apply something cold, such as ice, as soon as possible. When you cool the blood vessels around the bruised area, less blood leaks into the surrounding tissue. Flexible gel-filled ice packs, specifically designed for injuries, are available from sports shops and athletes will usually keep a couple of them in the freezer. For most of us, a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a towel is perfectly adequate. Or soak a flannel in ice-cold water and lay it over the bruise for 10 minutes. Whatever chilling agent you use, remove it after 10 minutes and wait for 20 minutes or so before you re-apply it so you don’t overchill the skin underneath.
2. Reduce bloodflow to the bruise to minimize discoloration. If you bruise your leg, for instance, and you can take a break, settle into a sofa or armchair with your leg up on a pillow above heart level. If your arm is bruised, try to keep it propped above heart level whenever you’re sitting.
3. Stop taking medications that make bruises worse. Consult with your doctor appropriately before stopping any medication.
* ibuprofen [Advil, Nuprin] (but ibuprofen can be taken if you need pain relief)
* naproxen [Aleve]
* Cortisone medications (e.g. prednisone) – promote bruising by increasing the fragility of the tiny blood vessels in the skin
4. Apply gentle pressure with your hand (not with a tourniquet).
5. Apply heat after 48 hours of cooling the bruise to bring more circulation to the area and help to clear away the pooled blood. Apply a warm washcloth to the bruise for 10 minutes or so 2 or 3 times a day.
6. Gently massage the bruise and surrounding area several times a day beginning the day after the bruising occurs. This will help the normal lymphatic process to clear it away. Be gentle! The pressure should not be painful.
These solutions aren’t medically tested or proven, and, like any home remedy, carry unknown risks.
* Vinegar mixed with warm water will help the healing process. Vinegar increases bloodflow near the skin’s surface, so it may help to dissipate the blood that has pooled in the bruised area. Witch hazel will also do the trick.
* Bromelain (a digestive enzyme found in pineapples) breaks down proteins that trap fluids in the tissues after an injury.
Take a handful of fresh parsley leaves, crush them and spread them all over the bruise. Wrap the area with an elastic bandage. Some experts claim that parsley decreases inflammation, reduces pain and can make a bruise fade more quickly.
* Apply arnica ointment or gel to the bruise daily. Arnica is an herb that has long been recommended for bruises. It contains a compound that reduces inflammation and swelling. See Warnings below.
* If you have access to a holistic medicine supply store or in some communities a very well stocked oriental store you can apply a live leech. It will remove the surface blood in a bruise in a few seconds. The leech’s saliva also acts as a mild pain killer so you will not feel the leech’s bite. This is only recommended if you can be sure that the leech is farm raised and free of disease. Apply rubbing alcohol or petroleum jelly to remove the leach.