Procedures

Hickey Removal

Many people who have received an unwanted hickey seek to remove the mark once it is discovered. Though the best way to “remove” one is to never allow anyone to place the mark on your body in the first place, there are a few strategies that will lessen healing time, break up the clotted blood under the skin and even cover the mark to conceal it from the view of others.

What Exactly is a Hickey?

The word “hickey” is actually a slang word that describes a bruise or abrasion created on the skin from suction applied to the surface area of the skin by the human mouth. Bite marks may also cause one. They may also be called a love bite, slag tag or a kiss mark. These marks often represents possession of one person by another, and quite often, it indicates that the recipient has been engaged in some sensual behavior. When one person applies a hickey to the neck, shoulder, arm or other area of another person’s body, they are often attempting to convey to the world that they have possession over the person. Such markings also may represent sexual foreplay and sexual activity. Sometimes, they may be inadvertently caused in the heat of passion. However, in most cases, creating such a mark requires deliberate action on the part of the giver.

A hickey is really just a simple bruise on the surface of the skin that is created by sucking on the skin. The negative force of the sucking action creates a mark in the shape of the mouth. Bruises may be purplish, pink or blue in appearance, depending on how the recipient’s skin reacts to bruising. The shape of the bruise will depend on the shape of the mouth of the person who created the mark. The intensity of the color is the result of the amount of negative pressure put on the skin. The more suction that is applied, the deeper the color of the mark. The deeper the color of the mark, the longer the healing time, in most cases. Hickeys may swell on and around the bruised area, causing a puffy appearance. Over time, they fade to a brown or tan color, and then eventually disappear.
Pictures of Hickeys on a Girl's Neck, by Janek B.

The Anatomy of a Hickey

Three layers of tissue surround the organs and bones of the human body. The first layer, the top layer of skin that is exposed to external elements, is called the “epidermis.” Under the epidermis is the second layer, the “dermis.” The third layer is the “subcutaneous” layer. These three layers combined compose the organ known as human skin. The skin is the largest organ of the human body.

The Epidermis

The epidermis consists of three sub-layers: The Stratum Corneum, the Kerotinocytes Layer, and the Basal Layer. These three layers cover and protect the dermis, as well as generate new skin cells and shed old cells. These layers also include melanin cells, which provide skin color and pigment. When someone gets a mild sunburn, it is the epidermis that is affected. The epidermis actively protects the second and third skin layers from damage.

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The Dermis

The dermis is perhaps the most active layer of the skin. The dermis is the layer that contains sweat glands, blood vessels, lymph vessels and sensory receptors. The dermis is perhaps the most “active” layer of the skin.

The Subcutaneous Layer

The subcutaneous layer of the skin contains fat which allows the body to retain body heat. The fat in the subcutaneous layer also cushions and protects vital organs from the external elements.

Another name for a hickey is a subcutaneous hematoma. Like bruises, they will heal when the blood under the skin dissipates and is absorbed back into the body. Healing time is greatly determined by genetics and the condition of the skin.

Another factor that affects healing and will cause some people to heal faster than others is good nutrition. If a person eats right, and consumes healthy foods, the body will heal from injuries quicker than if the body is not getting the nutrients it needs.

Finally, getting enough sleep is another factor that will influence healing. Natural healing occurs when the body is at rest. Make sure to get plenty of sleep if healing from an injury.

The Hickey’s Effect on the Skin

A hickey is created when tiny blood vessels, or “capillaries,” in the dermis are ruptured by suction force applied to the epidermis. To “rupture” is simply another way to say “to break.” When the capillaries are broken, blood flows into the space between the epidermis and the dermis, termed the interstitial space. This escaped blood is the substance that provides the color, which forms in the shape of the applicant’s mouth.

The negative pounds-per-square-inch of pressure that is applied to the top layer of the skin determines how much blood is released into the interstitial space, and how dark the coloration will be as a result. The more pressure that is applied, the darker it will be. Generally, the darker the mark, the more healing time will be required in order for the mark to completely disappear.

Bruises are also the result of blood flowing into the interstitial space between layers of the skin. Hickeys are similar to other bruises in this respect.

How is a Hickey Created?

Man Kissing a Girl's Neck.
When an individual sucks on the skin, pulls the skin into the mouth & applying negative suction pressure for about 30 or more seconds a mark often appears. Discoloration of the skin occurs when the small blood vessels just under the skin, in the layer known as the “dermis,” are broken from the suction applied to the surface of the skin.

Marks may last from five up to 12 or more days. The recipient’s genetic makeup, skin color and their ability to heal determines how long it will remain visible on the skin. While they do not cause permanent damage to the skin, they may be visible for an extended period of time.

Are Hickeys Good or Bad?

They are not inherently good or bad. There is usually very little health risk involved in getting one. However, people with certain medical conditions may be advised not to create any instance of bleeding, such as those who suffer from hemophilia. Determining whether a hickey is a good thing or a bad thing really depends on the beliefs and feelings of the recipient. If the person receiving it views the mark as a positive, then that’s a good thing for them. However, many people do not want to have “love bites” on their bodies to be seen by others. Before giving one, first make sure the person receiving it wants such a mark on their body. Giving someone a mark against their will is akin to sexual harassment or sexual abuse. Just like you would not walk up to someone and randomly smack them to cause a bruise, you should not apply a hickey to another person without first gaining their consent. If the recipient is amenable, then consider that the mark should perhaps be in a location on the body that is easily concealed.

Some people may openly display marks they receive from their partners with pride. Depending on the circles of people that the individual interacts with, such markings may be considered acceptable and even desirable. However, not everyone views them as a good thing. Most people would not attend a job interview or an important meeting with a visible hickey, as they are not accepted in the corporate environment. Make sure to always cover or conceal the mark if there is any possibility it may be seen by anyone in a business setting.

Parents of teens & teachers are likely to take a dim view of hickeys, as they may indicate that the individual is sexually active. Marks may also represent sexual promiscuity and others may think that a hickey that is visible for all to see is an indication that the person sporting the mark is “trashy.” Just like a person would not go to court hung over with a black eye from a bar fight, most people probably would not want to attend a church service with a visible hickey for all to see. On the other hand, among certain peer groups, they may be seen as a badge of honor. Acceptability is really determined by the people around the recipient, as well as the recipient themselves.

Are Hickeys Harmful to the Body?

Common belief has always stated that hickeys are no more harmful to the body than a standard bruise. The area around the discolored skin may be tender and sore due to the broken blood vessels just under the skin. Discolored areas may be bruised, but may also have slight abrasions on the surface of the skin, as well. These minor injuries are typically believed to be the extent of the harm done.

However, this common notion that hickeys are not harmful was challenged in 2010, when a New Zealand woman, 44 years old, suffered partial paralysis as the result of a stroke. The stroke was caused by a hickey that was given to the woman on top of a major artery. Due to later trauma to the affected area, a small blood clot was formed and the clot later dislodged from the affected area, and then traveled through her heart and on to the brain, causing the stroke. Though this occurrence was an anomaly, this event challenged the widely-held belief they’re completely harmless. A similar incident happened to a Mexico City teen in August of 2016, though the stroke was more severe & killed him.

The bottom line is that, even if it is not located on or near a major artery or blood vessel, hickeys do cause temporary damage to the skin, and definitely bruise and cause minor trauma to the area on the skin. However, in most cases, the skin heals and the mark will disappear in its own in time. As a rule, they typically do not cause any permanent or lasting damage to the skin or epidermis.

Do Hickeys Cause Cancer?

A rumor is spreading around the Internet, and gaining some momentum, especially among teens. The rumor suggests that hickeys may contribute to or cause cancer. There is no medical or physiological evidence to back this claim. They do not cause cancer & are simply broken blood vessels that discolor the skin. Cancer is caused due to genetic mutations within the body.

Though genetic mutations are a daily occurrence in the human body, the human immune system generally fights off the effects of these mutations and, most of the time, the mutations do not materialize into cancer. However, when the immune system does not fight off the mutation, cancer may develop. If left untreated, cancer may spread to various organs within the body. There is no evidence they contribute to or cause the development or spread of cancer. Though some well-meaning adults may claim cancer risk to discourage children from giving them to one another, the facts are clear that cancer is not caused by the bruising of or abrasions to the skin.

Additional Facts About Hickeys

A few additional interesting facts:

  • Hickeys will be more prominent and will last longer on women than on men. This is because women tend to bruise more easily than men. Also, marks on the thighs, buttocks and upper arms will tend to last longer on women than on men.
  • They will last longer and heal more slowly when on older people than on those individuals who are younger. Older individuals’ skin is thinner, exhibits less elasticity, and is less flexible than the skin of their younger counterparts. The subcutaneous tissue in older people tends to hold less fat than those who are younger. These factors combine, which allows blood vessels to burst more easily, and marks to last longer on those who are more advanced in years.
  • Most will completely heal and disappear from view within two or three weeks. However, some skin types and certain medical issues may cause the effects of bruising to last longer on some individuals.
  • Marks located in the upper portion of the body tend to heal more quickly than those on the lower body or lower extremities.

Strategies to Hide Marks

Covering Them

Treating a hickey is similar to treating a simple bruise. There are several methods for treating the affected area on and around the mark. However, many people choose to simply hide it until the area heals.

A turtleneck, a scarf or another strategically placed piece of clothing can be effective measures to cover marks. Sometimes, a shirt, blouse or jacket with the collar turned upward will hide the affected area. However, during summer and when engaging in certain activities, clothing may not be an appropriate or desirable way to cover. For example, wearing a turtleneck in the summer will surely arouse suspicion and make observers wonder what the wearer is attempting to hide. Luckily, there are less obvious strategies.

Make-up that is specially formulated to cover scars and skin lesions can be exceptionally effective. Brands of cover creams, concealers and foundations, such as “Dermablend,” will cover while the recipient waits for the area to heal. Dermablend and other such cover make-up is a bit pricey, but if coverage is important, the price is well worth it.

Stage make-up, otherwise known as theater make-up, that is the color closest to the natural color of the skin surrounding the affected area, is also an option for covering marks. Stage make-up tends to be dense and provides effective coverage for blemishes and bruises. Stage make-up tends to be fairly costly. However, again if the recipient absolutely needs to cover the area, the make-up is worth the cost and is very effective for covering unwanted marks and spots.

Make Sure You Use The Correct Complimentary Color


Certain brands and types of concealer may cover more effectively than others. For example, some concealers with a greenish tint are available. These greenish concealers are effective for covering the redness of hickeys. If the bruise is more purple or blue in color, use a concealer with a yellowish tint. Tinted concealers are very effective in covering the redness or purplish/bluish skin color. However, just like other forms of make-up, concealers wear off, rub off and disappear over the course of a day. If you use concealer or other make-up to cover the mark, make sure you have the concealer or other make-up with you throughout the day to reapply as needed.

When using a foundation as cover, select a shade lighter than you would use for your face if the mark is located on the neck. Skin on the neck is usually a lighter color and tone than facial skin as skin on the neck is somewhat shielded from the sun.

Other cover creams, cover sticks, concealers and foundations, such as those purchased at department stores or drug stores, may temporarily cover effectively in dim light at night. However, professional cover make-up is usually more effective and lasts longer than standard foundations and cover creams or concealer sticks.

Certain powders may be used as well. Mineral powder will lessen the appearance of reddish or purplish bruising. Powders combined with foundation, concealer or cover cream will camouflage the mark for a time. The moisture of the foundation or concealer provides a base and the powder will adhere better to the skin. However, the coverage of powders do not last for long. For a short-term solution, though, powders applied over a base of foundation or concealer will cover the mark from sight. Use loose powder and apply the powder with a powder brush for best results.

Depending on where it is located on the body, a band-aid may be used to cover the mark. Covering with a band-aid is particularly convenient for men, as they may use the excuse that they cut themselves while shaving.

While covering is only a temporary way to deal with visible marks, if coverage is only needed for a short duration around certain people then it may not be hard to conceal or cover the mark until it has healed. However, some people desire to remove them as quickly as possible. Certain topical treatments, as well as vitamins and other methods, are commonly used to hasten the healing of bruises.

Hickey Removal and Treatments

Cold Pack Treatment

One way to remove a hickey is to apply a cold pack to the affected area as soon as possible. A cold pack may be created using some ice cubes, a plastic bag and a hand towel. If a cold pack is applied to the affected area immediately, the cold pack will lessen the discoloration, reduce any swelling and speed the healing process for the affected area.

  • Step 1: Place several ice cubes in a plastic sandwich bag and seal the bag. This will keep the moisture from getting on your skin and clothing as the ice melts.
  • Step 2: Wrap the bag of ice cubes in a hand towel to create a cold pack.
  • Step 3: Place the cold pack and hold the pack in place for at least 30 minutes. The cold pack will slow the broken blood vessels from spilling the blood into the interstitial area between the skin layers. This will lessen discoloration of the skin and reduce any swelling that may have occurred due to the trauma to the skin.

Pressure Treatment

Immediately after receiving a hickey, the recipient may try applying direct pressure on the affected area. This treatment is believed to lessen the bleeding from the capillaries into the interstitial area and reduce swelling of the affected area. This method used in combination with the Cold Pack Treatment will get the best results if performed immediately. However, if a day has passed, try one of the other methods instead.

Cold Pack Plus Pressure Treatment

Using the Cold Pack Treatment and applying pressure to the affected area immediately after the mark is noticed will dissipate the appearance of the hickey. However, these treatments will only work if it is treated shortly after receiving the mark.

Vitamin C and Vitamin E Treatments

Certain vitamins will hasten the healing process for skin injuries. Taking Vitamin C helps the body generate cells rapidly, which in turn speeds the healing process. Take a Vitamin C supplement at least once per day to heal the affected area. Make sure to check with your doctor regarding the dosage of the vitamin that is safe for you to consume.

In addition to Vitamin C, Vitamin E improves skin health and hastens healing of the skin. Vitamin E also enhances the skin’s elasticity and will decrease it’s healing time. Again, be sure to check with your doctor to find a safe dosage of the vitamin for the purposes of healing the skin.

Vitamin E oil may also be applied directly to the affected area to decrease healing time. Vitamin E capsules contain Vitamin E oil. Simply puncture the capsule and squirt the oil directly on the impacted area. Rub the oil into the skin on and around the affected area. Repeat this procedure about three times per day to treat the affected skin.

Combine these vitamin treatments by taking Vitamin C and Vitamin E internally, and then apply Vitamin E oil directly to the affected area.

Aloe Vera Treatment

The aloe plant contains a substance that hastens the healing process for skin wounds. Aloe Vera is available in many forms, from Aloe Vera gel to Aloe Vera skin lotions. Additionally, the aloe plant contains the pure aloe liquid that may be applied directly to the skin.

Apply an Aloe Vera gel, lotion or liquid from the plant directly to the affected area. Aloe is a succulent dessert plant that is known for its healing properties. Native Americans have used the aloe plant for centuries to treat skin wounds. For example, aloe is often used to treat sunburn and other burns. Aloe will hasten the healing process for the hickey and make any abrasions disappear in a much quicker time than if left to heal without any treatment. Apply an aloe solution to the affected area every two to three hours for best results.

Combined Vitamin, Aloe and Cold Pack Treatment

Prompt treatment with a cold pack, combined with aloe treatments and taking Vitamin C and Vitamin E will enhance healing to remove the mark from the skin in a faster time than if the area is left untreated. Remember that the Cold Pack Treatment works best when applied to the affected area immediately or shortly after the recipient has received the mark.

Cold Spoon Treatment

The Cold Spoon Treatment requires using a cold spoon to massage the affected area to stop the blood vessels from bleeding and decrease swelling on the affected area. The Cold Spoon Treatment is believed to force the blood out of the interstitial space between the layers of the skin, lessening the redness and coloration. Though the affected area may remain red, the mark should be much less obvious after the Cold Spoon Treatment is used. Note that when the cold spoon is applied to the skin with pressure, the affected area may become a bit sore and maybe a bit raw, but the surface appearance should be significantly minimized using this method.

If the Cold Spoon Treatment is applied promptly, this method should work to reduce the appearance to a simple, red spot on the skin. This treatment should only take about 5 to 10 minutes.

  • Step 1: Place a metal spoon in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes – long enough to make the spoon very cold to the touch.
  • Step 2: Rub the rounded back of the spoon against the hickey, massaging the skin, until the spoon is warmed to room temperature. Press the spoon and apply a twisting motion on top of the affected area.
  • Step 3: Repeat chilling the spoon and massaging the skin with the cold spoon. Repeat the process until the swelling and redness begins to disappear from the affected area.

The Warm Compress Treatment

If the recipient of the mark notices the mark only after it has been in place for more than a day or so, the Cold Pack treatment will no longer be affective. In this case, applying a warm compress to the affected area will increase blood flow and make the area heal faster.

  • Step 1: Soak a hand towel in very warm water.
  • Step 2: Fold the towel several times until the towel may be easily held against the affected area.
  • Step 3: Hold the moist, warm towel on the affected area until the temperature of the towel has changed to room or body temperature.
  • Step 4: Remove the towel and gently massage the affected area with your fingers. Be careful not to pinch the affected area, causing more bruising. The point of the massage is to gently dissipate the blood that is collected under the skin.
  • Step 5: Re-wet the towel with very warm water and reapply the wet, folded towel to the affected area.
  • Step 6: Repeat the application of the warm compress, alternating with the finger massage, several times. The circulation of the blood in the affected area will hasten the healing process.

The Coin Treatment

The Coin Treatment is believed to be a method of forcing the blood in the interstitial area out of the space between the layers of the skin, back under the dermis, and fading the discoloring effect of hickeys. Forcing the blood out of the interstitial area will lessen swelling, as well. The Coin Treatment may be a bit painful, but many people swear by this method. The edge of the coin is used to lightly scrape the skin and force the blood out of the area between the skin layers. When the blood is dissipated, the coloration is lessened and the appearance of the mark fades. Make sure to apply pressure to the edge of the coin while scraping. The Coin Treatment may be a bit painful and scraping the skin may cause some rawness and abrasion to the area.

  • Step 1: Spread the affected area of the skin between two fingers to stretch the skin.
  • Step 2: Hold a coin, such as a quarter, in the other hand.
  • Step 3: Scrape the edge of the coin in one direction over the affected area. Apply pressure during the scraping motion.
  • Step 4: Repeat several times, scraping the edge of the coin over the skin. Remember to stretch the skin so the blood in the interstitial area is forced back under the dermis layer of the skin.

Lip Balm Tube Treatment

A tube of lip balm, lipstick or another small, tubular object may be used to roll over the impacted area to dissipate the blood that has gathered under the skin. Rolling the tube over the affected area dissipates the blood trapped under the skin and lessens the visibility of the marking. Roll the tube over the affected area while applying pressure. Continue rolling the tube repeatedly until the color of the area begins to dissipate.

  • Step 1: Roll the lip balm tube back and forth over the affected area.
  • Step 2: Repeat the rolling motion several times until the color fades.

Toothbrush Treatment

Using a toothbrush, rub in a circular motion with moderate pressure. This method will lighten the hickey and dissipate the blood under the skin. Make sure to use a soft toothbrush so that the skin is not further irritated by the toothbrush.

Warm Tea Bag Treatment

The Warm Tea Bag Treatment works in much the same way as the Warm Compress Treatment. Apply a tea bag soaked in warm water to the skin. The warmth will stimulate blood flow and will fade the appearance of the mark.

Rubbing Alcohol and Aloe Treatment

Rubbing alcohol applied to the affected area is believed to lessen the appearance of bruises. Because hickeys are a type of bruise, applying rubbing alcohol to the affected area will lessen the coloration and reduce swelling. Because rubbing alcohol dries the skin, apply an aloe gel or lotion to the area after the application of the rubbing alcohol.

Witch Hazel Treatment

Witch Hazel is another rubbing compound that is believed to lessen the appearance of bruises, and therefore should lessen the appearance of hickeys, as well. Apply Witch Hazel to a cotton ball, and then rub the liquid into the skin around and over the affected area. Repeat the treatment every 2 to 3 hours.

Vitamin K Treatment

Rubbing a Vitamin K lotion or cream over and around the affected area is believed to assist in the removal of hickeys. Vitamin K breaks down blood so that the particles are easily absorbed by the body. Vitamin K is also used in the treatment of skin burns and sunburn. Apply Vitamin K directly to the skin and repeat the treatment every two to three hours throughout the day for best results.

Vitamin K supplements may also be taken internally. Vitamin K is often taken to prevent bruising. As a fat-soluble supplement, Vitamin K actually enhances blood-clotting when taken internally. However, many believe that Vitamin K reduces healing time for bruises.

Combination of Vitamin K, Warm Tea Bags and Aloe Treatment

Rubbing Vitamin K over the affected area and then treating the bruise with a warm tea bag will enhance the effects of both treatments. Use aloe to add moisture to the skin and promote healing. Using these three methods in combination will increase the chances of quick healing.

Eye Drop Treatment

Because eye drops shrink the capillaries to reduce redness in the eye, many believe that eye drops work in much the same way for the treatment of hickeys. When eye drops are applied to the skin, the drops shrink the capillaries and reduce bleeding into the interstitial area. Wet a cotton ball with a few drops of the eye drop liquid and rub in a circular motion. Repeat every 2 to 3 hours.

Excedrin Treatment

Excedrin is a pain reliever available in tablet form. Excedrin contains aspirin and acetaminophen. Both aspirin and acetaminophen reduce swelling, increase blood flow, reduce blood clotting and will even relieve pain, if the hickey is painful. Take one or two Excedrin tablets to minimize the effects of the bruise and decrease healing time. However, wait 24 hours after getting the mark to take the tablets. Make sure to apply the Cold Pack Treatment during the first 24 hours, if possible.

Elastic Wrap Treatment

If possible, wrap the affected area in an elastic wrap. Elastic wraps are those cloth wraps that are often used to treat a sprained ankle or twisted wrist. Wrapping the affected area will apply mild pressure, reducing swelling and dissipating the discoloration of the skin.

If it is located on the neck, do not use the elastic wrap treatment. Wrapping an elastic wrap around the neck is not safe, and should never been done for any reason. However, if the mark is located on the arm or leg, wrapping the affected area in an elastic wrap may lessen the healing time.

Comfrey Treatment

Comfrey is an herbal remedy that has been around for centuries. Do not take comfrey internally, or apply the herb to an open wound. However, comfrey is used to treat minor cuts, as well as bruises.

Comfrey is available in oils and creams, which may be applied to the skin. Comfrey is also available in raw form as leaves. Rub comfrey oil or cream onto the skin to decrease healing time, or create a “poultice,” which is a paste, and then apply the paste to the skin.

  • Step 1: Crushing several comfrey leaves in a container of hot water to create a paste.
  • Step 2: Spread the poultice, or paste, over a warm, wet wash cloth.
  • Step 3: Hold the wash cloth with the poultice on top of the affected area and apply mild pressure.
  • Step 4: Repeat the comfrey treatment three or four times per day.

Calendula Treatment

Calendula is an herbal remedy that is available in tincture or cream form. Calendula is a natural antiseptic and is believed to contain other healing properties. Rub calendula cream or tincture over the affected area three or four times per day until healed.

Arnica Treatment

Arnica, another herbal solution, is used to reduce swelling and treat bruises. Arnica is also used to sooth sore muscles and lessen the effects of bruising. Rub the arnica herb, or a cream or oil containing arnica, several times per day over the affected area to decrease healing time.

Vinegar Treatment

Vinegar is a home remedy that is known for alleviating bruising. Pour a small amount of vinegar onto a warm compress, such as a warm, wet wash cloth. Apply the warm compress with the vinegar to the affected area. Though the vinegar may contain a pungent odor, vinegar is believed to decrease healing time for bruises.

Cabbage Treatment

Cabbage is known to have healing properties, such as agents that act as anti-inflammatories. Heat cabbage leaves in warm water to release the anti-inflammatories, and then apply the warm leaves to the skin. The cabbage leaves will decrease swelling and inflammation in the affected area.

Battery Treatment

Another method believed to dissipate the blood under the skin where the mark is located is to rub a standard C or D battery over the affected area. Use the negative end of the battery and rub the area in a circular motion.

Other Suggestions for Quick Healing

  • Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, and be sure to consume a sufficient amount of protein when attempting to quickly heal from bruises or other injuries. Eating a healthy diet supplies the body with the nutrients it needs to quickly and effectively heal.
  • Get plenty of sleep. Make sure to sleep a full seven or eight hours per night to allow the body time to heal. The body heals while sleeping, so make sure to get enough rest each night to shorten the healing time for injuries to the body.
  • Keep the affected area elevated. If possible, keep it higher than the rest of the body.

Ineffective Remedies for Hickey Removal

Due to easy access to the Internet & old wife’s tails many ineffective remedies have circulated. These methods are simply misinformation, and they do not work to enhance healing or to remove the mark in any way.

Deodorant or Anti-Perspirant

One rumor that has circulated the Internet is that applying deodorant or antiperspirant, and leaving the application on overnight, will make the mark disappear. This is simply not true. There is no evidence that any of the chemicals or natural substances in deodorants or antiperspirants lessen healing time for bruises. This method certainly will not hide or remove the mark.

Toothpaste

Another rumor is that applying toothpaste to the affected area will make the mark disappear. Again, there is no substance in toothpaste that decreases swelling, shrinks capillaries, or dissipates blood under the skin. Though mint-flavored toothpastes may make the skin feel like medicine has been applied, toothpaste does nothing to treat a bruise.

Comb Treatments

Some people advise “combing” over the affected area using a standard comb for the hair. The logic behind this ineffective method is that the comb will force the blood out of the interstitial area and back under the dermis. This method is not effective and may even make the affected area more raw and irritated.

Sunburning the Hickey

Some people believe that staying in the sun long enough to cause a sunburn is a treatment for a hickey. Not only is this treatment ineffective, sunburns contribute to the development of skin cancers. Avoid getting a sunburn, and certainly to not attempt to get a sunburn on purpose. Always wear sunscreen when out in the sun.


For most people, marks are more of an annoyance than a health threat or risk. The best way to avoid dealing with the removal, coverage or treatment is to not allow anyone to apply one in the first place. Let your partner know bruises are unwanted and you will not accept the application of marks of any kind on your body.

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