So, you’ve had a bump or hit to your body hard enough to cause a bruise? Wondering what you can do to help it fade away? When your body experiences trauma, blood will leak out of capillaries (thin blood vessels) and seep into surrounding tissue. In the beginning, you will notice black and blue coloration; however, as the blood breaks down, the color can change to purple, green and even yellow. The entire healing process from the first day of bruising typically takes 10-14 days without any treatment. Looking to speed up the process? Try these tips for treating fresh bruises at home:
Apply ice to the area as soon as possible.
Cooling the blood vessels around the area that is bruised can cause less blood to leak into the tissue surrounding the area. Spend ten minutes cooling the bruise, then wait twenty minutes before reapplying. Many stores sell flexible ice packs designed for injuries that can be reused by placing them back in the freezer. If you aren’t equipped with an ice pack, frozen vegetables wrapped in a towel or a cloth soaked in ice water will suffice.
After 24 hours of cooling, begin to apply heat.
Once you have iced the bruise for 24 hours, you should start applying heat to the bruised area. This will increase circulation to the affected area and help to break down the pooled blood. An electric heating pad works best and should be used for 20 minutes several times throughout the day. If you aren’t equipped with a heating pad, a warm compress can also work. You can use anything from a hot water bottle to a cloth that has been heated. Be careful not to burn your skin!
Choose painkillers wisely.
When people get injured, they tend to go directly for over-the-counter painkillers. This, however, can make your bruise worse. Aspirin, Ibuprofen, Advil and Motrin can all promote blood thinning, which can increase bleeding and bruising. If you must have a painkiller for the pain, try Tylenol, which does not increase blood thinning.