Whether pink, purple, or yellow, bruises are never attractive. They can also be downright painful.
Luckily, most bruises will completely heal within two weeks of injury. If you can’t wait that long, there are several home remedies you can use to reduce the swelling, pain, and appearance of a bruise. Keep reading to learn more.
What Are Bruises?
Bruises are caused by an impact or injury that damages the tiny blood vessels under the skin.
Blood escapes from these damaged vessels and pools beneath the skin, leaving a pink or red mark. Within a day or two, the blood will turn blue-ish, and your skin will display the characteristic purple-black color we so often associate with bruising.
As this trapped blood is reabsorbed into the body, the bruise begins to heal. It gradually turns pale green or yellow before disappearing completely.
To cut down on this slow healing process, we suggest you try some of the following:
Applying an ice pack to the skin immediately after the injury is a surefire way to limit the size and darkness of the bruise. Ice works by causing vasoconstriction – or narrowing of the blood vessels – to reduce the amount of blood that gets trapped under the skin.
While you should use ice therapy immediately after impact, you can also apply it periodically throughout the day. Leave the pack on the skin for up to twenty minutes at a time, as often as you like.
For even better results, elevate the affected area during and after icing.
To limit blood flow, wrap the injured body part with a compression bandage. If you haven’t got a compression bandage to hand, try pressing down gently on the skin for several minutes after the injury.
Compression won’t just reduce the bruising, it will also alleviate some of your pain and swelling.
Prevent vitamin D deficiency and heal your bruises at the same time by heading outdoors. Ultraviolet rays in the sunlight can help to break down bilirubin, a pigment in the blood that causes the yellow color of a bruise.
Expose the bruised area to sunlight for fifteen to twenty minutes a day. You should see a notable difference after just a couple of treatments.
If you want to stay outdoors for longer than this, be sure to use an all-natural sunscreen to keep your skin safe and wrinkle-free.
Arnica is an incredible medicinal herb to have on hand. It’s both an anti-inflammatory and an anticoagulant, making it one of the best bruise-healing herbs around.
You can take arnica in tablet form, although we recommend using an arnica gel for bruising. Topically applied arnica is quickly absorbed into the skin and has analgesic properties to relieve pain quickly. In studies, arnica ointment was found to effectively reduce bruising caused by laser treatments.
Apply the gel a few times daily, or as directed on the packet.
5. Vitamin K Cream
For healthy skin, bones, and blood, vitamin K is a must. While it’s essential that we get vitamin K from our diets (from foods such as leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables, and fermented soy), we need a stronger concentration when trying to heal bruises.
6. Aloe Vera
The aloe plant has been prized for centuries thanks to its healing powers. It not only alleviates pain and swelling, but it reduces the appearance of bruises too.
Immediately after the injury, apply one teaspoon of aloe vera gel to the affected area and gently massage it into the skin. Repeat this treatment several times daily until the bruise is gone. If you’re buying a ready-made aloe product, check that it doesn’t contain unpleasant additives.
For a truly organic aloe product, consider growing your own plant and harvesting its gel as you need it. You can learn more about harvesting and using aloe vera here.
7. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant with excellent anti-inflammatory properties. When consumed or applied topically, it promotes the healing of bruises and other types of wounds.
Take vitamin C as a supplement, get it from fresh fruits and vegetables, or apply it directly to the skin.
This DIY regenerating vitamin C serum will get rid of your bruises and help you look younger!
8. Pineapple & Papaya
These tropical fruits are not only rich in vitamin C, but they also contain an enzyme-based substance called bromelain.
Bromelain reduces swelling and inflammation and breaks down blood clots, which is why it’s such a potent treatment for bruises. One study suggests that taking bromelain orally improves pain and swelling after tooth extractions.
It’s unlikely that you’ll get enough bromelain from eating pineapple (especially as most of the substance is found in the fruit’s hard core) but you can take bromelain supplements or apply it topically.
Some people even recommend blending the fruit into a pulp and applying it directly to the skin. However, it’s best not to use this pulp on broken skin as it could sting!
9. Cayenne Pepper
According to some, cayenne pepper has been used medicinally in China for centuries as a remedy for bruising.
This super-hot spice contains capsaicin, a natural pain reliever. Capsaicin works by reducing a chemical in the body that carries pain messages to the brain.
To use cayenne pepper for pain and bruising, just mix one part of the spice with five parts coconut oil or vegetable butter. Heat this paste until it melts, and mix thoroughly. Allow to cool before applying to the bruise several times daily. Note that capsaicin may stain pale skin, although this side effect is just temporary.
Discover more painkilling herbs and spices here.
Quercetin is similar to bromelain – it’s an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant flavonoid derived from fruits and vegetables like blueberries, cranberries, capers, and red onions.
Take quercetin in capsule form as directed and you should soon get rid of your bruises. These quercetin supplements also contain bromelain and vitamin C for triple the healing power.
It’s also possible to get gels and ointments containing quercetin that may reduce bruising.
The herb comfrey is a popular treatment for a variety of skin conditions and inflammatory ailments.
When comfrey ointment was used on patients with knee joint injuries, sprains, and bruises, the people experienced a significant reduction in pain and swelling.
Apply comfrey cream to your bruise every three or four hours until symptoms resolve.
If you would prefer to make your own comfrey compress, steep dried comfrey leaves in boiling water for fifteen minutes before straining. Wrap the leaves in a thin cloth and apply to the bruise.
Discover more uses for the fantastic comfrey plant.
12. Essential Oils
Many essential oils can reduce the pain, swelling, and appearance of your bruises. Don’t forget that you must mix essential oils with a suitable carrier oil when applying topically. Some of the best include:
Frankincense Essential Oil
Possibly the best essential oil for getting rid of bruises, frankincense is rich in antioxidants. It also aids pain relief and helps relaxation.
You can apply frankincense oil (when mixed with a carrier oil) from the moment you injure yourself throughout the recovery process.
Rosemary Essential Oil
Rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, rosemary oil has a variety of magical uses and benefits. It speeds up recovery from bruising by reducing inflammation.
Lavender Essential Oil
Use astringent lavender oil immediately after injury to limit the size and color of bruises, and to keep inflammation to a minimum.
Cypress Essential Oil
Reduce the pooling of blood under the skin by applying cypress essential oil immediately after you hurt yourself. It’s also a fantastic oil for healing cuts and wounds quickly, particularly as it inhibits microbial growth.
Geranium Essential Oil
An excellent oil for skin health, geranium minimizes inflammation and improves circulation. It also treats acne and wounds. Apply geranium oil once the bruise has become established, as it can speed up circulation to reduce recovery time.
Lemongrass Essential Oil
Lemongrass oil has a myriad of applications – from treating UTIs to healing bruises and other injuries. Its analgesic properties ensure rapid relief from pain, while the oil will also reduce swelling.
How To Apply Essential Oils To A Bruise
Most essential oils can be applied in a variety of ways. With the oils mentioned above, for example, you can:
- Make a soothing compress. Add a few drops of the essential oil mixed with a tablespoon of your chosen carrier oil to a cold washcloth and apply it to the bruised area. Repeat every four hours or as required.
- Massage the oils directly into the skin. The oils should be mixed with a carrier oil like coconut or sweet almond oil first to prevent skin irritation. A good ratio is six drops of essential oil to one tablespoon of carrier oil. Repeat three times daily.
- Add essential oils to other products. To increase the healing power of certain ointments and gels, such as those containing vitamin K or arnica, mix in a couple of drops of essential oils of your choice.
Learn more about the safe use of essential oils here.
Where To Buy Essential Oils
Our number one recommended supplier of essential oils is Plant Therapy. They offer 100% pure oils with free shipping and free returns for 90 days. You can browse their extensive collection on their official website here.
Getting Rid Of Bruises Naturally
Bruises are unsightly and uncomfortable, but they’re not forever. It’s true what they say – time heals all wounds! To speed things up, use the tried and trusted home remedies listed above and say goodbye to your injuries in record time.
While most bruises are a normal response to injury, some types of bruises suggest an underlying medical condition, adverse reaction to a medication, or a nutritional deficiency such as a lack of vitamin C.
If you experience frequent or unexplained bruises, have bruises that are slow to heal, or bruise suddenly after beginning a new medication, see your doctor immediately.