We’ve all had those klutzy moments where we’ve tripped over a laundry basket (or fallen down the stairs, or walked into a cabinet) and been left with a wonky-looking purple bruise. While superficial bruises usually aren’t a sign of any major problems (though if you’re worried or have one that won’t go away, you should talk to a doctor STAT), they can be annoying to deal with for the two-ish weeks they take to heal. If you’re looking to speed up the fading process, there are a few quick tricks worth trying.
“A bruise happens when you have blood pooled under your skin,” says explains Debra Jailman, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City. In order to heal a bruise, then, you’ll want to look for ingredients that help disperse all that trapped blood. For this, Dr. Jailman says your best options are arnica and vitamin C.
Arnica is a natural anti-inflammatory that has been long-used for its bruise-healing abilities, and has been adopted by the dermatologic community to help manage post-procedure bruising. When applied topically, it stimulates circulation to kick your body’s own healing process into high gear, helping to fade your bruise faster. As for vitamin C, “it stabilizes your collagen in your skin so that’s why it helps with fading bruises,” says Dr. Jailman.
You can use these ingredients topically through creams, patches, and more. In the case of arnica, ingesting it orally may also help. Shop six options below.
Boiron Arnicare Cream — $6.00
This soothing, non-sticky, and non-greasy cream will coat your skin in arnica, helping to relieve pain as well as discoloration from bruising
First Aid Beauty FAB Pharma Arnica Relief & Rescue Mask — $32.00
For a more intense treatment, try this arnica, calendula, and centella asiatica mask. Apply a generous amount to clean dry skin, and allow it to absorb into the skin for at least 15 minutes before massaging any excess into the skin or using a tissue to remove it.
Carter+Jane Bruisefix — $32.00
New from Carter+Jane, this oil uses arnica, calendula, St. John’s Wort, helichrysum, lavender, rosemary, frankincense, and lemongrass to reduce the discoloration, swelling, and pain of bruising, quickly and effectively.
As great as these healing creams and ointments can be, your best bet for getting rid of a bruise quickly is to prevent it before it even happens. For that, Dr. Jailman recommends icing the area as soon as possible after an injury occurs. “Ice actually vaso-constricts your blood vessels,” says Dr. Jailman. “So let’s say you had injections and then we ice you it would make it less likely that you would bruise. But once you’re bruised you’re kind of done. The blood is out of the bag, so to speak.”
The good news? When all else fails, there’s always concealer.
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