Most people have bumped into something or fallen at one time or another and experienced a nasty bruise as a result. Bruising can happen following a fall, other injury or after a surgical procedure. Bruises can take on a multitude of colors and may change hues as they progress through the stages of healing. Those colors come from the leakage of blood from damaged blood vessels into the surrounding tissue. Unfortunately, they can take up to two weeks to heal.
What Causes Them?
As mentioned above, any type of blunt trauma that damages blood vessels and causes them to leak can cause a bruise to form. Older people usually have thinner skin, which makes them more likely to bruise. Women are also more susceptible to bruising. In some cases, easy bruising can be a sign of a medical problem such as a low platelet count or abnormalities in clotting factors, which requires medical evaluation. Bruises usually look more prominent on people with a lighter skin tone.
A bruise will usually heal on its own without treatment, but most people want to speed up the healing process as much as possible, especially when a bruise is in a visible location.
After experiencing a bump that could lead to a bruise, it’s a good idea to apply cold compresses to the area for the first two days to limit swelling. A pack of frozen vegetables works well for this purpose.
Left to the natural healing process, most bruises heal in about 14 days. There is evidence that applying vitamin K cream to the bruised area can speed up this process. In a double-blind, placebo-controlled study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, researchers discovered that application of a vitamin K cream decreased bruising in patients who had undergone laser surgery. It is also important to get enough oral vitamin K through diet. Good sources are green, leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach, collard greens and broccoli. A dietary deficiency of vitamin K can contribute to bruising.
Some topical products can be applied immediately after a surgical procedure and re-applied twice daily until the bruise has healed. These treatments are also a good choice to have on hand after facial injections involving Botox or fillers.
Another natural treatment that helps with bruising is arnica. Arnica is an herb that’s been used for medicinal purposes since the early 1500’s because of its anti-inflammatory benefits. As it turns out, it’s also useful for treating bruising. In a study published in the Archives of Facial Surgery, arnica decreased bruising and swelling in women who had undergone facelift surgery better than a placebo did. It is safe to use on all skin types, although it should not be applied to open wounds.
There are topical products which contain vitamin K and arnica into a single cream to diminish the appearance of bruising and promote healing. Some products also contains natural oils and hyaluronic acid that help to improve the appearance of stretch marks, scars and spider veins.
The Bottom Line?
Bruises are common after a fall or injury, creating an unsightly blemish that can last for two weeks. Fortunately, there are safe and effective ways to speed up the natural healing process and make bruises appear less noticeable. These treatments can be used to lighten dark under-eye circles as well. These products offer a great way to wake up weary eyes with dark circles that that give the face a tired appearance. It is reassuring to know there are treatments that can take the “black and blue” out of bruising a little faster.