What is A Hickey and How Do You Get Rid of It?
Hickeys (or love bites, kiss marks) are caused when your partner kissing you and, essentially, sucking on your neck, shoulders, or chest.
If you have a hickey, then you may be in an awkward position.
Depending on your personality type, the social and cultural norms of your area, and how much your family gets on your case, this may or may not be an emergency situation for you.
If you have darker skin, this might be easily hidden and covered up. However, for Caucasian and lighter-toned people, this can be a glaring reminder of last night’s fun and enjoyment.
Whatever your situation, there is a help!
By employing some of the most widely known cures and covers, you can be well on your way to a nice, flawless complexion once again.
How Do You Get a Hickey?
Hickeys (or love bite, hickie, kiss mark) are caused by your partner or spouse kissing you and, essentially, sucking on your face, neck, shoulders, or chest.
This concentrated action in one location creates a “light wound” without breaking the skin.
It creates a sort of blood clotting situation where the blood forms into loose (safe) clots in one location and stays there for a while.
What Hickeys Look Like
Hickeys are often in the shape of lips, teeth, a small oval, etc. They mimic the shape of your lover’s sucking or biting which occurred there.
They should look like a much redder or pinker version of your natural skin tone. If you see any blackening or purpling effects, go to your doctor immediately.
Is it a Love Bite or a Rash?
A rash is typically less defined, covering a larger area, and may have some splotchy coloring in it.
A hickey, on the other hand, is far more likely to be a well-defined area of red with a definite edge to the red area.
It is also less splotchy and more uniform in redness or pinkness.
Are You Embarrassed?
The truth is, hickeys are safe, social, and a part of necking with your boyfriend or girlfriend, husband or wife. If you are a quiet individual, this can still be very embarrassing. If you are outgoing and headstrong, then hickeys are just a simple fact of life to you.
Either way, you are likely to suffer some small embarrassment of your boss, coworkers or siblings point it out to everyone else.
Raise your eyebrows, look casually at the questioner, and nonchalantly say, “So?”
Whatever the response, simply shrug your shoulders like you just never gave it a thought and probably won’t in the future, either.
Is There a Social Stigma?
If you are from a heavily hierarchical culture or you are living at home and are deemed too young by your family, there can be a very real social stigma attached to this type of mark.
Be sure and read the tips below for getting rid of it or hiding it, whichever is more doable for you.
In the meantime, try not to make any comment on it, tell anyone about it, or act like you are self-conscious at all. If someone points it out, be curious and matter-of-fact about, “Hm, what Is that?” but not obvious or over-the-top about it.
Is There an Age at which Love Bites are Completely Inappropriate?
Since everyone knows where hickeys come from and that older people are judged more likely to be proper and dignified, this can be an interesting situation.
There is no actual age when love bites are considered to be completely off-putting and plenty of people in their 70’s are seen with one.
Because, by this age, skin spots can be more prominent, something as innocuous as a hickey may not even be noticed.
In addition to this, your age will give you the respect and sense of humor to laugh it off or to smile mysteriously if the subject is broached.
By all means, you have earned the right to wear your love marks as prominently and as often as you please.
How to Get Rid of Hickeys
Before you try any of the remedies below, be sure and try them on a much larger area than the hickey covers.
Think 4 to 6 inches across the area. This will hide the obvious nature of the love mark and will at least protect you from any hounding, teasing, sly winks or open stares.
Now, if you happen to make a much larger area red, then you may still be asked politely about your health or your “skin condition.”
At this point, you can cite anything from a sunburn to an allergy to cover your tracks if you deem this necessary.
Whatever the case, the remedies will, in the worst case scenario, hide the hickey itself.
Ice and Heat
According to Dr. Finney and Dr. Shah, dermatologists hired by Self, both cold and heat are cited as effective methods of masking the size and shape of a hickey.(1) NOTE: Do NOT apply ice or heat packs directly onto your skin.
This can damage your skin and leave a bruise, which is far more worrisome than a love bite.
Instead, wrap ice or a microwavable heat pack (the kind you put on your sore muscles) in a towel and place the whole pack on the area of your hickey, somewhat off-center to mask it further.
Leave the ice or heat pack, whichever you have chosen, on the area for about twenty minutes. If you feel discomfort, remove the pack and allow your skin sensations to return to normal.
You can then repeat, as long as you take away the pack at the next point of discomfort. In no way should you be in pain or put yourself in danger in any way.
Essential oils are 100% pure, therapeutic grade oils which might assist in regulated blood pressure, body temperature, headaches, minor illnesses, and lack of balance in kinetic energy.
According to Dr. Axe, peppermint oil, in particular, is a heavy regulator of headaches, migraines, muscle soreness, and blood pressure ailments.(2)
NOTE: Never get peppermint oil on raw or broken tissue.
This means, don’t get in your eyes, don’t ingest it, and don’t allow it to get on cuts or broken skin. The normally icing and cooling effects of peppermint oil magically turn into burning fire when in contact with raw tissue.
Rub peppermint oil, or your favorite oil of choice, onto the area where your hickey is.
Rub the entire area (not just your mark), let the oil dry, and then rub in some more.
Let everything dry before putting on clothes and enjoy the aromatic and tingling sensations from the essential oils.
Rubbing the Area, Massage
Because the affected area is red due to blood clotting and stasis, rubbing the area around your mark will significantly reduce the exact outline of the hickey due to fascia release, according to Physio Works.(3)
However, you should not expect this to make the redness go away.
On the contrary, it is very likely to increase the overall redness of the area.
The benefit is in how much this can obfuscate or smudge or blur the exact edges of the hickey.
If you have see-through skin pigment, this can take away the appearance of the hickey altogether, but it will still leave you with a lot of red in your skin.
You may still get comments on that.
One of the possible ways to get rid of a hickey is to do 20 to 40 minutes of cardio workout.
Exercise can help dissolve blood clots, according to WebMD.(4)
This can be a cardio video on YouTube or in your video library. It can be running for a couple of miles in the morning before breakfast.
It can be jump roping or doing jumping jacks for 30 minutes in your living room.
Whatever type of exercise you do will balance the blood flow, increase your blood pressure, and thus begin covering up the love marks in public areas of your body.
Drink plenty of juice or water with electrolytes added.
Breathe as deeply and as slowly as you can while you are engaged in the quick, intense movement, and apply the hot and cold packs mentioned above after your workout.
Chances are, that’s all you will need to do to fix the problem.
How to Cover a Hickey
If you are unable to get rid of your hickey, you can still take steps to cover it up until it goes away. It will typically disappear in anywhere from 4 hours to 14 days.
In the meantime, you can take steps to cover your hickey.
This is a lot more feasible in winter time or in an outdoor location, but our tips below will work in all types of weather.
Whether you are a man or a woman, you can easily wrap up in a scarf if it is winter.
Women can fairly easily wrap up their necks with any type of wide scarf available.
Men can wear a really thick scarf, wrapped once around the neck, and settle their heads down into the role of knitted goodness as if they are turtles wanting to withdraw into the warmth of their shells.
Either way, mildly cool autumns, the entire winter season, and most of the spring can be the perfect time to bring out your scarf and pretend to be colder than you really are.
If you are a man or woman with long hair, then you are in luck!
Long hair can be especially brushed and/or coiffed to cover an offending mark on your face or neck.
If you are a man, then you may already be in the habit of wearing your hair pulled back into a ponytail.
Take a “grunge” day, wear as crisp and professional of a shirt as you can in order to offset your loose locks, then brush your hair down straight.
When you are unsure how to pull this off all day, do this: Part your hair down the middle, brush your hair straight down (no matter how straight or curly it ends up being), and then add some coconut oil or hair conditioner to keep it down if you are white and you tend to have flyaway hair.
Be sure to brush the small amount of oil or conditioner through your hair very thoroughly and completely so that you can have “grease streaks” through your long hair.
As a woman, there are numerous ways to use your long hair to cover up a hickey.
The more obvious ways are to brush your hair straight down and allow the sheer mass of it to cover or shadow your neck and the sides of your face.
However, you may have a hickey in a more prominent location, such as further forward on your face.
This is the time to get out the hair gel, curling iron, and styling mousse and really go to town!
Make a deep part on the side, pulling the mass of your hair over the side of your face with the hickey.
Then, create loose, purposeful curls which hide one-quarter to one-third of your face.
Use bobby pins and plenty of hairspray to keep your hair pushed forward. If you already have thick hair, it will be easy to simply rub some styling mousse through your locks and make it do what you want.
High Collared Coat or Light Jacket
Even light jackets can be worn year-round, so this is an excellent choice for those who are busy, on-the-go and don’t have time to construct careful masks for their hickeys.
Simply dig through your closet, pick out a high collared coat or jacket (or any jacket with a collar which can be turned up), and hide most of your neck and part of your face with these easy cover.
Even a guy can use this technique if he has access to his girlfriend’s makeup kit.
Just remember to not touch your face, thus rubbing the makeup off. Girls are already in the habit of not touching their makeup, so they don’t need to be told this.
What you’ll need: Green coverup stick, a foundation in your skin tone, and light powder that is also in your skin tone.
First, wash and thoroughly dry the area. Makeup sticks better to a clean palette.
Then, apply the green coverup stick to the red areas. This will neutralize the red so that it doesn’t show through the foundation.
Let this dry if it needs to.
Next, apply the foundation and very gently blend it into the skin tone around the hickey. Let this set for a few minutes.
Get a clean towel and cover up your clothing for the powder part. Get a powder puff, dip it in the powder, and then lightly shake it against the side of the container to get rid of all of the loose powder.
Lightly tap it onto the area where the foundation is and lightly tap in circles, dipping, shaking and then tapping until you have a very thin layer of powder.
This will keep your sweat or natural skin oils from turning the foundation oily or shiny. Also, it will set the foundation and keep it in place all day.
Remember to not touch this area throughout the day, lest you rub off the cover.
Hats, especially today’s hats, are perfect for the unobtrusive hickey coverup.
This is particularly true for love marks which are just on the side of your face or neck, near the hairline.
Simply pull a soft, wooly hat over your ears, adjust it, remembering where it is supposed to be placed to cover up your mark, and you’re good to go!
For spring and summer, use light colored hats so that they are less obvious.
Act like it’s just a fun hat you are wearing, rather than a hat out of season. If you easily get hot, switch to a non-wooly option, such as a stylish fedora or an attractive fascinator.
At What Point Do You Have to See a Doctor?
Embolic stroke and carotid artery trauma
An injury to the carotid artery, that goes to the brain and travels through the neck, potentially could cause the blood clot to form, enter to the brain, and cause a stroke.
This would be a very rare event.
We managed to find two examples:
According to the case report from Medisinsk Klinikk, “love bites on the neck are a rare cause of embolic stroke”.(5)
An “interesting case of blunt carotid artery trauma caused by a love bite”, as described in the Journal of the New Zealand Medical Association.(6)
People with some genetic connective tissue disorders that might make their arteries very sensitive should avoid love bites.
If your hickey starts behaving abnormally, you will want to consult a dermatologist or your family physician right away.
Make an appointment or go to your local walk-in clinic and have it looked at officially.
If your hickey at any point becomes itchy, then something may be going on.
Have it looked at immediately and don’t touch it until you have had professional advice given to you.
Our hands and fingernails are, by far, the most germ-ridden parts of our bodies and if something is wrong, you don’t want to increase the sickness by scratching more germs into the area.
Changes in Texture
If your skin becomes flakey on or around your mark (more so than usual), then this could also indicate a problem underneath.
Any changes in texture at the site of the mark, such as bumps, swelling, or flakiness should be immediately brought to a dermatologist.
These could indicate an infection, and infections spread if not dealt with.
We’re almost to the end of the gross part of this article, but we would be remiss if we didn’t mention pus.
Anything that remotely speaks of pus, inflammation, cysts, etc. should be brought to the emergency room or your doctor that very week.
Do not delay on this.
What if I Like My Hickey?
The Young at Heart
Teenagers and young adults are more likely to enjoy their marks and to be less self-conscious about them.
This is because the young at heart often have fewer boundaries in place between their personal and professional lives.
They care a little less about their personal lives are crossing a bit into their professional lives.
If you welcome the chance to show off your mark, then it is because you consider it to be a sign of being loved and wanted, and who wouldn’t want to show that?
Enjoy your newfound status symbol.
Enjoy being who you are and doing what makes you feel good.
This your time of life and hickeys are part of rough and tumble lives of the volatile young. Stand proud and stand strong in your passionate youth.
The Mature at Heart
Even the mature at heart are ready to show how much they are wanted. If you enjoy displaying your marks of love, it is because you know what they really mean.
They are status symbols for society, showing who is loved and appreciated. If you are mature at heart, then you have life experience and have a deep understanding of the boundaries over which you feel free to cross at appropriate times.
You answer candidly when asked about your hickeys and it’s not a big deal to you, at least talking about it isn’t.
And for those who have experienced this for the very first time, you can be assured in the acceptance of your friends and the gladness of society that you have connections and are a part of the human experience.
In conclusion, hickeys are a part of life.
None of us will go through life without several and we all know it. Whether you must get rid of it, conceal and hide, or whether you are not that bothered by it and are a little proud of it, you have a multitude of options available to you in dealing with the circumstances.
Don’t take yourself too seriously and enjoy the person who gave it to you.
A hickey is an injury to a surface of the skin, so do not hesitate to seek medical help if something seems out of the ordinary.