Bruises are purplish, red or black-blue spots on the skin that are caused due to an injury. When any of your body organs gets hurt hard, the small blood vessels under the skin in that area get damaged. Sudden blood leak from the blood vessels to the surrounding tissues usually cause the black-blue marks (1). Bruises are medically termed as contusion. It only takes minutes for your skin to turn dark with bruise after a hard hit, but the spot takes a couple of days to fade away. You may also feel pain and inflammation on the affected area. Bruises heal in around 12-15 days. However, if you follow the below listed remedies on how to get rid of bruises quickly, you can even chuck them out overnight.
Home Remedies for Bruises
The following are some useful home remedies to get rid of bruises before they turn into a major scar.
1. Ice Therapy
Application of ice pack is the best first aid for bruises. Ice packs actually cool down the damaged blood vessels and control the blood leakage. Keep the ice cube on the bruise for 10 minutes for an immediate relief. Do not exceed the time to apply cold pack for more than 20 minutes (2, 3).
- Alternatively, if an ice pack is not available, then soak a cotton cloth in ice cold water and place it on the affected area. Repeat it several times a day for about 10 minutes (4).
- Moreover, frozen vegetables can also help you get rid of bruises overnight. Wrap them in a soft cotton towel and place it on the bruise (5).
- Another option is to take two stainless steel spoons and put them in the freezer for 15 minutes. Later, place them on your bruise. This helps reduce the blood clot.
2. Elastic Bandage
You can use an elastic bandage to stop bruise from spreading. Whenever you find a bruise on your body, immediately wrap a plastic bandage to control the blood leakage in the tissues. This not only prevents bruise from spreading, but also makes the healing process speedy (6, 7). You can also use a cloth to tie around the affected area (8).
3. Hot Water Bottle
Take a bottle and fill hot water in it. Keep it on the injured area. Hot water will certainly reduce the blood clot and slow down the blood flow to the affected tissues. In case of swelling, first apply cold compress and then hot compress. (9). Moist heat works better on bruised tissues in comparison to dry heat therapy, as it goes deeper and spreads quickly. Apart from hot water, you can also use hot bath, hot water soaked towel or a warm Jacuzzi (10).
Note: Water used should be warm, not too hot and it should have consistent temperature.
Vinegar has the efficiency to drive away the blood that has pooled in the affected area. Once bruises appear, mix vinegar with warm water and apply it on the affected area to treat blood clot instantly.
Pineapple has an enzyme called bromelain (11). This enzyme when consumed can reach the damaged blood vessels to digest the protein that causes bruise and skin inflammation (12, 13). Taking at least 500 milligrams of bromelain each day can fade away bruise faster.
6. Vitamin K
Vitamin K is an effective remedy to treat blood clotting and tissue damage in the body (14). To treat bruises quickly, eat vitamin K rich vegetables. Add Brussels sprouts, broccoli and leafy green vegetables to your meal.
- Alternatively, buy vitamin K cream from the nearby drug store and apply it on the bruises to treat them faster.
Chocolates contain cocoa bio active compounds that have anti inflammatory property that prove very beneficial for skin health (15).
Melt some chocolate and keep that warm melted chocolate on the bruised area. Now cover it with a bandage to let the chocolate dry over the affected area. This hot chocolate pack compresses the damaged blood vessels to control the blood flow. This also reduces bruises instantly.
Note – When trying hot chocolate pack, do not apply too hot chocolate on the affected area as it may hurt you more.
This fruit contains an enzyme called Papain which is used to treat many skin problems (16). Therefore, eat papaya to get rid of bruises faster.
9. Vitamin C
Vitamin C rich foods such as mangoes, broccoli, peppers, sweet potatoes, and oranges also help reduce skin inflammation and bruises sooner. According to a research, this vitamin is very safe to be used in treatment of hyper pigmentation, photoageing, tissue inflammation and also for tissue healing (17).
10. Grape Seed
Grape seed fastens wound healing (18). Crush a few grape seeds to extract the juice from it. Apply this flavonoid-rich grape seed juice to heal the bruise. Alternatively, drink this juice twice a day for effective results.
11. Turmeric and Tamarind Paste
Turmeric is traditionally used in many South Asian countries as a remedy to get rid of bruises because of its therapeutic and medicinal properties. It is also a strong anti bacterial agent (19). Turmeric contains a compound called Curcumin which has many health benefits like that of reducing soreness and promote healing (20). Tamarind is also used commonly for healing wounds and cure inflammation because of its antioxidants and antimicrobial activity (21). Make thick paste of tamarind and add two pinch of turmeric to it. Now heat this pack and gently apply the hot pack on the bruise. Cover the bruise with a soft cotton cloth to let it disappear faster.
Onion has inflammatory properties and it can work well on the damaged skin cells (22). When bruises are caused due to blood vessels injury, you can extract onion juice and apply it on your bruise. Let the skin absorb juice so that it works deep within the blocked blood vessels to treat the blood clot (23).
Lemon contains vitamin C which is very useful in treating skin problems (24, 25). This could be a little painful treatment for bruises, but it is the most effective one. Apply lemon juice on your bruise and gently rub for about 5 minutes. It will soon heal the bruises.
14. Black Coffee
15. Sugar or Honey
When bacteria enter your cut or wound, it grows faster. Sugar has anti bacterial properties and it promotes wound healing. Application of sugar syrup or honey can prevent the growth of bacteria along with treating the bruise (27). Honey has anti bacterial and wound healing properties which make it an important remedy for healing bruises (28, 29).
Apply hot sugar syrup on the bruise and tie it with a bandage. If hot syrup sounds scary to you, then first apply thick sugar syrup on the bruise and afterwards place ice pack on the affected area. Now, let the sugar dry to tighten the skin so that bruises stop spreading all over.
16. Black Pepper, Vaseline, and Cayenne
Cayenne contains a substance called capsaicin that has tremendous pain relieving properties. Apply it directly on skin to get rid of bruises (30). Mix cayenne and pepper with Vaseline, and then apply it on your bruise to heal it quickly.
Butter has anti inflammatory properties. It has been proved through several studies that butter has medicinal properties which can cure skin problems (31). For treating minor bruises and burns, you can use butter. Apply fresh butter on the bruise and gently massage your skin.
18. Castor Oil
Rubbing castor oil on the bruise not only reduces it, but also prevents the skin from peeling off once the bruise is gone (32).
19. Raw Potato
To keep bruising under control, you can apply shredded raw potato on the bruise.
Ginger contains anti oxidants which are very beneficial for skin health (33). Slice some ginger and soak them in hot water for some time. Then, strain the water and drink it. Alternatively, rub the crushed ginger directly on the bruises.
Herbal Remedies for Bruises
21. Comfrey Leaves
Comfrey leaves (either dried or fresh) make a perfect herbal solution to treat bruises. Take dried or fresh comfrey leaves and add them to the boiling water. Let it boil for 15 minutes and strain the water to treat bruises overnight.
According to a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trial, this herb is very effective in curing bruises (36). Arnica can be applied directly on the affected area to reduce pain and swelling caused due to bruises. Alternatively, you can also consume arnica orally (37).
Deficiency of vitamin K also cause bruises. Include parsley in your diet to overcome Vitamin K deficiency (38).
Once you tie your bruise with an elastic bandage, keep some crushed fresh parsley leaves on the affected area. This not only checks bruises, but also controls blood clot, inflammation, and reduces the pain caused due to bruising.
24. St. John’s Wort
According to a Pharmacological research, St. John’s wort is an effective remedy for the treatment of dermatological disorders like bruises, wounds, sunburns, abrasions, etc. It is used in topical application in form of oils or tinctures (39). This herb has natural anti inflammatory properties (acylphloroglucinol hyperforin) and it quickly heals the wound that otherwise causes bruise on your body (40, 41).
It also helps relieve pain. Apply St. John’s wort oil on your bruise, or you can boil dried St. John’s wort in water. Strain the water and drink till the bruises are completely gone.
25. Herbal Tea Compress
For herbal tea compress, add 6 drops of essential oil to 9 oz of ice water. First add water into a bowl and then put essential oil in it. Dip unbleached muslin cloth in the water and apply it on the bruise. Essential oil like Eucalyptus, lavender, geranium, peppermint and ginger can be used (42).
26. Olive Oil and Mullein Flowers
Mixture of macerating mullein flowers and olive oil stored in a corked bottle and kept in sunlight for a long time produces an oil that can be applied directly on bruises gives relief from pain and inflammation. Alternatively, oil can also be produced by placing the flowers near the fire for several days (43).
Rub a little margarine on your wound to prevent it from bruising.
29. Arnica, Chamomile and Yarrow
Arnica is popularly used to get rid of bruises (46). Chamomile possess anti inflammatory properties that helps to get rid of wounds. It can be used both internally and externally for treating many health conditions. Tea made by mixing 3 teaspoons of this herb in water can be used as a compress to get relief from pain and inflammation (47). Yarrow is an herb which is also used to cure wounds (48).
Take arnica, chamomile and yarrow, and mix them together to form an herbal infusion. Apply it regularly on the bruise to make it fade away faster.
Bilberry contains strong antioxidants known as anthocyanosides that reinforce the blood vessels and balance the collagen, thereby, reduce the bruises. You can consume bilberry extract or can take it in the form of pills.
31. Witch Hazel
The active ingredients found in witch hazel have astringent properties which prove useful to cure bruises (49). Apply a cotton ball soaked in witch hazel on the bruise to speed up the healing process and soothe the inflammation.
You can also apply witch hazel astringent bark tea on bruises for curing pain and inflammation (50).
- Use the above remedies as many times as possible in a day.
- There are microwave moist heat packs available in the market. You can buy such heat packs to treat your bruises better.
- Soon after treating your bruise with cold or warm packs, a soothing massage is recommended. If you cannot tolerate the pain then chuck this step..
- You can combine both warm and cold bruise treatments alternately to get better relief from bruise. However it is recommended that you give at least 2 hours gap between these treatments.
- If you are living in a tropical area then expose your bruise to direct sunlight. Sunlight breaks down the bilirubin to make the bruise yellow in colour, thus, it fades away faster.
- If possible, keep the affected area elevated (51, 52).
- While treating bruise in legs and hands, always try to treat it from top and not under the affected area.
- After bruises appear, restrict moving around often. The more you walk, run, jump or move around, the bruise develops more. Avoid putting strain on affected area (53, 54).
- Start your treatment before 24 hours as the blood clot may get severe.
- Avoid intake of aspirin.
Sometime bruises may occur without fall, trip or any other injury. This is a serious condition and an indication for you to consult your doctor. Bruises can also appear due to leukemia, anemia and hemophilia that are deadly, so consult your doctor immediately.