So, you're making out with your SO, and wind up with a hickey. If you've got something important coming up, like graduation pictures, or if you're headed to work the next day, the last thing you want to do is show up with a visible bruise on your neck. Before spiraling into panic mode, know that there are many ways to get rid of hickeys, but most remedies to remove a hickey take time. TikTok and Insta are filled with tips, tricks, and recommendations for getting rid of hickeys, but we've tapped two professionals to give us the scientific tea on what really works to remove hickeys.
Before we get into the best way to remove a hickey, let's chat about what they are and how they form. Hickeys are pretty much a suction bruise. According to board-certified dermatologist and Visha Skin Care founder Dr. Purvisha Patel, hickeys develop when extruded blood flows to the surface of the skin after capillaries within are broken from suction pressure. They can last up to one week.
How to hide a hickey with makeup
Outside of wearing scarves and turtlenecks 24-7, the easiest way to remove a hickey is by covering it up with makeup. Known for slaying the face of Gossip Girl star Emily Lind, celebrity.
Outside of wearing scarves and turtlenecks 24-7, the easiest way to remove a hickey is by covering it up with makeup. Known for slaying the face of Gossip Girl star Emily Lind, celebrity makeup artist Dani Parkes recommends using thick, pigmented concealers to hide hickeys since they've been proven to cover up tattoos as well.
The first step to concealing a hickey is applying a color corrector to neutralize the color.
If you don't have a color corrector handy, Dani suggests going over the hickey with red lipstick and blending it out to hide the discoloration. Next, she recommends going in with a high-coverage concealer and letting it dry completely. Once the concealer's dry, Parkes says to lightly dust on a coat of powder that matches the skin tone to finish.
How to get rid of a hickey without makeup
Hickeys are so unpredictable, so you probably won't always have a color-correcting palette or foundation on hand when you realize you need to conceal one. When you need to cover one up and you don't have makeup, there are other hacks you can try out, but they may take a bit longer to work.
Some may say it's a myth, but surprisingly, this one is true. Ice reigns supreme as the go-to removal method. Since hickeys are just bruises that form when blood vessels under the skin break, Dr. Patel recommends using ice to "constrict the dilated blood vessels," making them less apparent if applied ASAP. Be sure not to apply ice or any other frozen object directly onto the skin to prevent further damage or potential scarring.
Use arnica cream.
Dr. Patel also suggests arnica cream, an anti-inflammatory flowering herb that speeds up the body's healing process and helps reduce swelling, bruising, and pain. You can snag this cream in the pain relief aisle of your local drugstore.
Try laser treatment.
This one's a complete shocker, but laser treatments can get rid of hickeys quickly. According to nurse Tara Adashev, APRN at Neinstein Plastic Surgery, lasers like the Lutronic Ultra, similar to the same laser you'd see when you get a facial to diminish hyperpigmentation, "break up pigmentation within 12 hours," visibly reducing the appearance of hickeys. Of all the removal options there are, this one comes with a hefty price tag. Most sessions begin around $699, so consider this if you're indulging in self-care to treat large pores, hyperpigmentation, and sun damage to make the most of your spending.