Q:

How long does a hickey last?

A:

A hickey can last anywhere from a couple of days to two weeks, depending on the amount of bruising inflicted on the capillaries under the skin. A hickey is a small bruise caused by kissing or sucking on the skin of the neck. The act of sucking or kissing causes capillaries to break. The blood collects in the surrounding tissue and creates a mark.

Hickeys heal in the same manner as any other bruise. Over time, they disappear as the blood that pooled in the tissues disperses and is reabsorbed into the body.

Anyone who wants to hasten the healing of a hickey can try applying cool or hot treatments depending on how long it has been since the hickey was received. Within the first 12 hours after receiving a hickey, apply ice wrapped in a paper towel for 20 minutes at a time for as long as possible. Rubbing the area with a frozen spoon also helps. The theory behind this treatment is that cold makes blood flow and coagulation in the area of the hickey stop.

If a hickey is more than 48 hours old, the blood vessels that were broken should have healed, but the coagulated blood is probably still evident as a bruise. Heating the area helps speed up the reabsorption of the coagulated blood. Place a hot towel, hot water bottle or hot compress on the hickey for 10 to 20 minutes at a time.


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