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.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 usually keep a couple of them in the freezer. For most of us, a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a towel placed on the wound, or flannel soaked in ice-cold water and draped over the bruise for 10 minutes, are perfectly adequate. 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 over-chill the skin underneath.
- Reduce blood flow to the bruise to minimize discoloration. If you bruise your leg, for instance, 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.
Stop taking medications that make bruises worse.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), which promote bruising by increasing the fragility of the tiny blood vessels in the skin
- Apply gentle pressure with your hand (not with a tourniquet).
- 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.
- 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.
- Try a home remedy. These solutions aren't medically tested or proven, and, like any home remedy, carry unknown risks.
- If you feel that you bruise too easily, you may be deficient in vitamin K, which is used as a co-factor in the synthesis of coagulation factors. If you take any blood thinners though, do not suddenly increase your vitamin K levels. Consult your doctor first.
- If the bruise spreads and becomes more painful, see a doctor. It could be a more serious injury.
- When bruises appear suddenly, without cause you should seek medical advice from a health care professional.
- Do not apply arnica to a cut or open wound.
- Make sure you're not allergic before trying any of the methods listed.
- Consult a doctor before starting any new medications or stopping any current ones.