All bruises are unsightly, but in serious cases they can also bring a lot of discomfort. So why go through all that pain and wait for them to naturally heal (it can take up to two weeks) when you can easily speed up the healing process?
In this section we’ll talk about the steps you need to take right away after you’ve gotten a bruise.
1. Apply ice packs
The bruise forms when you’ve damaged the capillaries under the skin. The blood seeps in the surrounding tissue and by applying ice packs you’ll constrict the blood vessels and minimize the seepage of blood. That ice is also great to reduce swelling and numb the pain.
If you don’t have flexible ice packs specifically designed for injuries there are a few other solution. You can take a bag of frozen vegetables, wrap it in a towel and apply it on the bruise for about 10 minutes. You can also take some ice from your freezer and do the same as with the bag of frozen veggies. If you have no ice and nothing frozen at hand, you can take a cloth, soak it in cold water and apply it on the bruise for 10 minutes.
After you take a 20 minute break you can repeat the process. Don’t leave the ice pack on the bruise for too long as the extreme cold could damage your skin.
To prevent capillaries from leaking into the surrounding tissue you can also wrap elastic bandage around the bruised area.
If you’ve bruised an arm or a leg, the best thing you can do is keep it above heart level, obviously while resting in bed or in a chair. Running with your hand up will not have the same effect. Speaking of, you should be avoiding any cardio activity for the first 24 hours after bruising, since increasing your blood circulation will only make the situation worse.
Obviously if the bruise is on your torso, or another area besides your limbs, the above mentioned technique won’t work. You’ll have to do with chilling the area.
Once you go through the essential steps of minimizing the bruise and the swelling as much as possible, it’s time to take other measures and speed up the healing process.
1. Apply heat
It may sound a bit weird, since during the first days or until the swelling is gone your best option is to cool the bruised area, but after that heat helps increase circulation and dissipate the pooled blood faster.
You can use either a hot water bottle, warm compress or an electric heating pad on top or below the bruised area.
Arnica gel or ointment is very effective at reducing inflammation and pain as well as increasing circulation in the bruised area. However, if your skin is broken don’t apply Arnica.
Another natural anti-inflammatory which helps the bruise heal faster is parsley. Simply crush some fresh parsley leaves and apply them on the bruise.
St. John’s wort is another herb with anti-inflammatory properties, but it’s also great for reducing mild pain such as the one associated with bruising. You can rub St. John’s wort oil onto the bruise, several times a day and to make the treatment more effective you can also drink St. John’s wort tea until the bruise heals.
Vinegar is also very effective at reducing inflammation plus it increases the blood flow below the skin’s surface. Mix equal parts of vinegar and warm water and soak a cloth with the liquid. Apply it as a compress on the bruised area and keep it there for 10-20 minutes.
While these remedies are safe and efficient you shouldn’t be using them if the skin is broken.