20 Effective Home Remedies For Bruises November 3, 2016

Bruises are common. Children stumble and fall all the time, starting with their first steps. They run, they fall. They play, they get bruises. Most children are rather proud of them, and display those blue-black bruises turning to yellow-purple like badges of honor. As adults, we are too busy to be careful. Some bruises we acquire as grownups are minor, some are not. Not all hurt, and can speedily and easily be done away with. And for most others, there are simple remedies. Running to the chemist or the doctor for every bruise is not practical. The best thing to do is to take care of them at home.

But before we delve into the best home remedies to remove bruises, let us understand what exactly is a bruise and what happens under the skin to form that distinctive mark on the surface.

What Is A Bruise?

Being the largest organ system in the body, the skin’s primary function is protection. Often, it gets caught in the middle and experiences cuts, bumps, and blows. ‘Bruise’ is the term used to identify the effect of any traumatic incident on the skin. It is a common type of injury in which discoloration of the skin occurs.

What Is A Bruise

Image: Shutterstock

This discoloration is because the blood vessels beneath the skin burst and leak blood into the surrounding tissue. This blood collects near the surface of the skin, resulting in a black/blue mark (1).

Home Remedies For Bruises

The home remedies for bruises in this article are effective in treating subcutaneous bruises that affect the superficial layers of the skin. Hematoma and inflammation are the two most common forms of subcutaneous bruising. Hematoma refers to the discoloration of the skin, wherein the capillaries in the underlying layers are injured, and the skin turns a range of colors from blue to red, yellow, and purple. Inflammation refers to swelling, which may or may not accompany a bruise (2).

Some of the remedies that can be used for subcutaneous bruising are listed below.

How To Get Rid Of Bruises Overnight

1. Ice Or Heat

a. Treat Bruise With Ice

Treat Bruise With Ice

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You Will Need

Ice pack or ice compress

What You Have To Do

  1. Apply the ice pack for 15 minutes. Repeat this thrice a day.
  2. The best method of applying an ice pack is to move it continuously around the bruised area in a circular motion, so as not to freeze a vein or increase the pain.

When You Need To Do This

Do this for two to three days.

How This Works

If the skin is inflamed after injury, an ice pack can help reduce the swelling. An ice pack can also be made by wrapping an ice cube in a piece of soft cloth. Applying an ice cube on a bug sting or insect bite also aids healing, reduces irritation, and decreases the inflammation (3).

b. Treat Bruise With Heat

Treat Bruise With Heat

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You Will Need

  • A hot pack
  • Hot water

What You Have To Do

  1. Pour hot water carefully into the hot pack.
  2. Steadily move it over the area in a gentle manner while applying some pressure.

You can also use a soft cloth dipped in hot water. Wring out the excess water and keep it over the bruise.

When You Need To Do This

Do this several times a day.

How This Works

A warm compress acts on a bruise by inducing blood flow to that area, speeding up the healing process. This can be used on bruises after the inflammation subsides. A warm compress also releases shock and the pain of the injury (4). You can also rub a warm hard boiled egg on the bruise.

2. Essential Oils

Essential Oils

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You Will Need

A few drops of lavender oil or tea tree oil

What You Have To Do

Take one to three drops of the essential oil and gently massage it into the bruise. You can use either one type of essential oil, or mix both of them in equal quantities and then use them.

When You Need To Do This

Do this every few hours.

How This Works

Lavender oil has soothing effects on the body, along with being an analgesic and having healing properties (5). Tea tree oil sinks into the deeper layers of the skin and speeds up the healing process (6).

3. Vinegar

Vinegar

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need

  • A few drops of white vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup of warm water

What You Have To Do

1. Mix the vinegar in the water, and gently massage this mixture into the bruise.
2. You can also dip a cloth in the solution and apply it to the bruise.

When You Need To Do This

Repeat this twice a day for five to six days.

How This Works

Vinegar, when mixed with water, forms an effective solution that increases blood flow and aids the healing process. Applying this mixture on the bruised area allows the blood that has gathered below the skin to circulate and prevents blood spots (7).

4. Epsom Salt

Epsom Salt

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You Will Need

  • Epsom salt
  • Hot water

What You Have To Do

  1. Add plenty of Epsom salt to a mug of hot water and dip a cotton ball in it.
  2. Remove the excess water from the cotton and apply it to inflamed skin.

When You Need To Do This

Do this every few hours.

How This Works

Epsom salt helps relax the muscle tissue and reduce the swelling. It is easily absorbed into the body, where it reaches the damaged tissue and relieves soreness (8).

Caution

This method can only be applied if there are no open wounds on or near the wounded region. Otherwise, the salt on the cut will sting pretty badly.

5. Vitamins

Vitamins

Image: Shutterstock

a. Vitamin C

You Will Need

Vitamin C tablets

What You Have To Do

  1. If you get bruises easily, start taking vitamin C tablets daily.
  2. You could also eat foods rich in this vitamin.

When You Need To Do This

Take one tablet daily for three months.

How This Works

A diet rich in vitamin C is essential for the body’s recovery. This vitamin facilitates tissue building and recovery (7).

b. Vitamin K

You Will Need

Ointment containing vitamin K

What You Have To Do

Apply the ointment to the bruise in gentle circular motions.

When You Need To Do This

Do this twice daily.

How This Works

Creams and ointments containing vitamin K are readily available in the market. They are handy for treating cuts. The properties in vitamin K encourage blood clotting and prevent further blood loss (7).

c. Vitamin D

You Will Need

Vitamin D supplements

What You Have To Do

  1. Take vitamin D supplements every day.
  2. You could eat vitamin D-rich foods like salmon and mackerel.

When You Need To Do This

Include vitamin D supplements or vitamin D-rich foods in your regular diet.

How This Works

Vitamin D deficiency is linked to easy bruising. In combination with vitamins C and E, vitamin D promotes tissue healing and regrowth (9).

6. Arnica Oil

Arnica Oil

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need

  • Arnica oil
  • Warm compress

What You Have To Do

  1. Gently rub some of the oil on the bruise in circular motions.
  2. Apply a warm compress for better absorption of the arnica into the skin.

When You Need To Do This

Do this two to three times a day.

How This Works

One of the most popular home remedies for minor bruises and cuts is arnica. This herb is known to have many medicinal properties, and should find a place in homes where the members are prone to injuring themselves frequently. Arnica prevents infection, reduces swelling, and, if regularly applied, speeds up the healing process to a great extent (10).

7. Toothpaste

Toothpaste

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need

  • Toothpaste
  • Bandage

What You Have To Do

  1. Apply a dab of toothpaste on the bruise and cover with a bandage to avoid staining of clothes and bedding.
  2. Leave it overnight. Remove the bandage in the morning and wash with water.

When You Need To Do This

Do this every night for two to three days.

How This Works

The toothpaste helps in breaking up the clot and increasing blood flow to the bruised area. You will notice a lighter bruise mark in one night. It also helps to reduce the swelling (11).

8. Witch Hazel

Witch Hazel

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need

  • Witch hazel solution or cream
  • Cotton ball

What You Have To Do

  1. Apply witch hazel solution on a cotton ball and rub this gently on the bruise.
  2. Do not wipe off the witch hazel.

When You Need To Do This

Do this two to three times a day.

How This Works

Witch hazel is a very popular herb when it comes to healing contusions and cuts. Applying the extract of this herb heals wounds and reduces swelling. A bath with witch hazel can also greatly induce healing (12).

9. Crushed Parsley

Crushed Parsley

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need

  • Parsley leaves
  • Elastic bandage

What You Have To Do

  1. Wash a handful of parsley leaves and crush them. Apply on the bruised area of the skin.
  2. Wrap with an elastic bandage. Leave it on for seven to eight minutes.

When You Need To Do This

It should be applied at regular intervals until the skin returns to its normal temperature and color.

How This Works

Parsley reduces inflammation and pain and also helps in getting rid of the bruise coloration (13).

10. Crushed Ginger

Crushed Ginger

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need

  • A small piece of ginger
  • Soft cloth or gauze and plaster

What You Have To Do

  1. Without peeling off the skin, wash the ginger thoroughly, crush it and apply on the swollen surface.
  2. Hold it in place with a soft cloth/gauze and plaster.
  3. For obtaining the most effective results, this should be left on overnight.

When You Need To Do This

Repeat this for a day or two.

How This Works

Ginger is another herb that works wonders on inflamed skin. Most people who apply this method use cold compress during the day to speed up the healing process (14).

11. Vanilla Extract

Vanilla Extract

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need

Concentrated vanilla extract

What You Have To Do

  1. Apply one or two drops of vanilla extract to the bruise.
  2. Massage gently for a minute and let it be.

When You Need To Do This

Repeat this two to three times a day.

How This Works

Applying vanilla extract on a bruised area helps to prevent it from turning blue-black. The antioxidants present help in promoting regeneration of cells and thus, in quicker healing of bruises. Vanilla extract also has anti-inflammatory properties (15).

Caution

Do not apply vanilla extract on burns.

12. Papaya

Papaya

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need

A slice of papaya

What You Have To Do

  1. Place the slice of papaya on the bruise surface. This is the most effective home remedy for bruises caused by insect bites or stings.
  2. Keep the slice over the bruise for an hour or so.

When You Need To Do This

Do this as soon as possible after the insect has stung.

How This Works

This fruit contains certain enzymes that are known to neutralize insect venom (16). To treat such bites, you need to first to take out the stinger (if it is lodged in the skin) and then apply the papaya slice.

13. Onion And Garlic

Onion And Garlic

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You Will Need

  • A slice of onion
  • A clove of garlic

What You Have To Do

  1. As soon as you bump into something, immediately rub a slice of onion on the bruised surface.
  2. You can crush a garlic clove and apply it to the affected area.

When You Need To Do This

Do this immediately after you bump into something. You can also reapply the crushed garlic two to three times a day.

How This Works

Rubbing a slice of onion on a bruised surface is often recommended to prevent blood from accumulating under the skin and also to reduce inflammation (17). Garlic is also applied by many individuals for the same purpose and effect. Additionally, it promotes fresh cell growth (18).

14. Sugar

Sugar

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need

  • Sugar syrup
  • Bandage
  • Ice pack

What You Have To Do

  1. Pour hot sugar syrup on the bruise and cover with the bandage.
  2. You can also apply cooled down sugar syrup and wrap the bruise in a bandage lightly. Let the sugar syrup solidify. Then, apply an ice pack on it.
  3. Honey can also be used instead of sugar syrup.

When You Need To Do This

Change the dressing every few hours.

How This Works

While most people concerned with healthcare are not huge fans of refined sugar, a little bit of sugar, mixed with a few drops of water, works well on the site of an insect sting. Honey and sugar have antibacterial properties (19, 20).

15. Cabbage Leaves

Cabbage Leaves

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need

  • Cabbage leaves
  • Hot water

What You Have To Do

  1. Peel the outer leaf of the cabbage and dip it in really hot water carefully.
  2. Take the leaf out of the water and once it has cooled down a bit, place it over the bruise for 45 minutes to an hour.
  3. You can hold it in place with the help of a bandage.

If you are scared of the hot water burning your skin, you can simply remove the main stem from the leaf and gently roll a rolling pin or glass over it.

When You Need To Do This

Repeat this with a new cabbage leaf two to three times a day.

How This Works

Cabbage leaves work well in getting rid of bruises on the face. Dipping in hot water releases the natural juices of the leaves. The pressure from the rolling pin also has the same effect. The anti-inflammatory properties of berteroin present in cabbage helps in reducing swelling and healing bruises quickly (21).

16. Fenugreek

Fenugreek

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need

  • Fenugreek seeds
  • Water
  • Cotton or sponge

What You Have To Do

  1. Crush a couple of fenugreek seeds coarsely and boil them in water for a few minutes.
  2. Strain the water and with the help of a cotton ball or sponge, apply this warm water to the bruise.

When You Need To Do This

Repeat this twice in a day.

How This Works

The seeds of this medicinal plant have been shown to have analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. The concoction prepared from them reduces pain and swelling (22).

17. Garden Thyme

Garden Thyme

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need

  • 15-20 fresh thyme leaves
  • Water

What You Have To Do

  1. Boil the thyme leaves in water for about 10 minutes. Strain the water and let it cool down.
  2. Add this water to your bath and soak in it for 20 to 30 minutes.

When You Need To Do This

Repeat the soaking two times a day.

How This Works

Thyme works effectively in fading away bruises (23). As this home remedy is a bath soak, it is easier for the herb to reach the bruises in difficult to reach places.

18. St. John’s Wort Oil

Johns Wort Oil

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need

  • St. John’s wort oil
  • Bandage

What You Have To Do

  1. Apply a few drops of the oil to the bruised area and massage for a minute. Leave it on for a few minutes.
  2. You can also cover the area with a bandage.

When You Need To Do This

Repeat this a few times during the day.

How This Works

This is a tested and tried method to fade away bruises. The oil contains tannins and astringents that aid in the quick healing of the bruised tissue. It can also be applied on cuts and burns (24).

19. Vaseline And Cayenne Pepper

Vaseline And Cayenne Pepper

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need

  • One part cayenne pepper
  • Five parts vaseline

What You Have To Do

  1. Melt the vaseline carefully. Once it has cooled down, mix in the cayenne pepper.
  2. Apply this mixture to the bruise and leave it on for 10-15 minutes.

When You Need To Do This

Do this once every alternate day.

How This Works

Cayenne pepper contains capsaicin that helps in fading away bruise marks and reduce the pain. It also speeds up the healing process of the damaged tissues (25, 26).

Caution

If you have a cut in your bruise, do not apply cayenne pepper as it stings badly.

20. Olive Oil And Mullein Flowers

Olive Oil And Mullein Flowers

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need

  • A few mullein flowers
  • One cup virgin olive oil

What You Have To Do

  1. Steep the flowers in the oil for a few minutes. Strain the oil once it has cooled down.
  2. Apply this oil to the affected area and massage for a minute. Leave it on.

When You Need To Do This

Repeat this every few hours.

How This Works

Mullein is a multipurpose medicinal plant that acts as an emollient and astringent and has antibacterial properties. It is extensively used to reduce inflammation due to wounds and bruises (27). Olive oil adds to the mullein flower’s emollient activity and also provides nourishment for the skin cells (28).

These remedies are tested and tried, and will work wonders in getting rid of the bruise marks. Now, let’s understand a little more about bruises by knowing about the underlying causes, signs and symptoms, how they are categorized, and a few FAQs to clear your common doubts.

What Causes Bruising?

The blood vessels present beneath the skin can burst or leak either because they have become weak or they are damaged. Some of the most common reasons which contribute to bruising are:

  1. Blows to the body
  2. Bumping on to hard surfaces like a chair, a post, etc.
  3. Cuts while dealing with sharp objects
  4. Bites (mostly animals or insects)
  5. Falling, stumbling, tripping
  6. Burns
  7. Injuries while engaging in sports
  8. Accidents on the road
  9. Side effects of medicines
  10. Viral infection or illness
  11. Allergic reactions

Another common cause of bruises is ‘thinning’ of the skin, which is a natural process that occurs when individuals age. Serious medical conditions like autoimmune disorders, leukemia, and septicemia can also result in bruising (29).

Symptoms And Signs Of Bruising

a. Discoloration Of Skin: Initially, a bruise appears red in color. Slowly, this transforms into a black and/or blue color. Other colors that have been observed are green, purple, brownish and yellowish (30).
b. Swelling: As a result of the damage the skin tissue has undergone, swelling can be seen at the bruise site.
c. Pain: The high impact with which you bumped into something can lead to pain in the area. This can last for a few hours to a few days.
d. Tenderness: The damaged tissue becomes highly sensitive to touch and tenderness can be observed.
e. Severe Symptoms: These include persistent swelling and pain in the area of bruising or a bruise that doesn’t heal even after four weeks. Please consult a doctor under such circumstances (31).

Some medications like blood thinners, as well as medical conditions like diabetes, may render some natural remedies for bruises ineffective. Besides, as bruises tend to heal themselves on a healthy body after a fortnight naturally and the entire home remedies act as catalysts to the healing process, it is important to seek medical and professional help, if pain or discomfort persists after some time. In some cases, prolonged inflammation may indicate internal injury or bruise too easily may indicate some pre-existing medical condition.

Types Of Bruises

A bruise can develop on any part of your body. We can categorize them into the following major groups:

A. Bruise On Limbs: These include bruise on the leg, bruise on the thighs, bruise on an arm, bruised heels, bruise on the shin, bruised toes, and bruised finger.

Types Of Bruises

Image: Shutterstock

B. Bruise On Main Body: Commonly seen as hip bruise, bruises on the breast, bruises on stomach, and bruises on the back.
C. Bruises On Face: Bruising around the eyes, bruised nose, bruise on the head, and bruise like spots on the cheeks are some common ones.
D. Bruised Bone: Bruises can be internal and on the bones too. Knee bone bruise, ankle bone bruise, and bruised ribs are the most common complaints received by doctors.
E. Bruised Internal Organs: When the physical impact is strong, it can form a bruise not only on the skin surface but also internally on the body organs. Some examples are bruised lungs, bruised liver, and bruised abdomen. These types of bruises can be dangerous as there are chances of internal bleeding.

Stages Of Bruising

A fresh bruise is swollen and appears red in color. After a day or two, the red color transforms into a blue/black color. This discoloration is one of the major signs of bruising. Every few days, a change in the bruise color can be seen, and this goes from blue/black to green to yellow, and finally, brown. After this, the bruise markings disappear (32).

Stages Of Bruising

Image: Shutterstock

Additionally, bruises can be scored on a scale of zero to five by of how severe they are and how dangerous the injury is.

Harm Score Severity Level Notes
0 Light bruise No damage
1 Mild bruise Little damage
2 Moderate bruise Some damage
3 Serious bruise Dangerous
4 Extremely serious bruise Dangerous
5 Critical bruise Risk of death

How Long Does It Take For A Bruise To Go Away?

On an average, it takes about 10 to 14 days for the bruise mark to go away, and also for the skin to heal completely. However, this time period depends from person to person, and can be shorter or slightly longer.

What Would Happen If You Cut Open A Bruise?

A bruise is a closed wound. Depending upon how intense and deep the wound is, cutting open a bruise can cause bleeding. Additionally, this makes it more prone to acquiring infections either from the instrument you used to cut it with or from the environment. It is highly unadvisable to cut open a bruise.

Does Massaging Help In Quicker Healing Of A Bruise?

Massage therapy helps in relieving pain from the body. In the case of a bruise, gentle massaging for a few minutes using oils or ointments can be beneficial. Please do not apply extreme pressure, as the tissue under your skin is damaged and this might aggravate the pain.

Each of the top 20 home remedies for bruises goes a long way in effectively treating inflammation and hematoma. Some of them even take care of minor cuts, stings, and bites. However, sometimes, the effects of an injury may go deeper than the surface inflammation and discoloration of the skin. When pain or swelling persist for too long, it is best to have a doctor take a look at the bruise.

For minor bruises, home remedies are more often than enough. However, this list is not exhaustive. Throughout ancient history, herbal remedies and alternative treatments for injuries and conditions have been discovered and applied. Awareness is the key to betterment. Stay safe!

Now that you know how to get rid of bruises fast, what are you waiting for? Try these remedies and share your experience with us in the comments section below.

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