How to Make a Bruise Go Away

Two Parts:Treating a Recent BruiseContinuing Treatment

Don't believe advertising that proclaims a product can get rid of a bruise overnight. The healing process takes time. The good news is that you can speed up the process with simple home treatments. Although many alternative medicines or home remedies are iffy at best, a couple of herbs can help.

Part 1
Treating a Recent Bruise

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    Rest. This is step one of the common "R.I.C.E." (rest, ice, compression and elevation) plan. If you keep using the muscles near your bruise, it may spread or take longer to heal. Avoid heavy exercise for a couple days because an increased heart rate may send more blood to the area of the bruise.
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    Ice. This is step two of the R.I.C.E. plan. Wrap ice cubes in a clean towel or shirt and put the ice over the bruise. Apply for about 15 minutes, then wait at least 45 minutes before you ice again. Repeat this often for the first 24 to 48 hours after a bruise appears. This reduces blood flow to the area, which reduces swelling and spreading.[1]
    • Do not ice for longer than the recommended amount of time or place the ice directly on the skin. This can cause skin damage.
    • You can use a cold pack or a bag of frozen vegetables.
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    Compression. This is step 3 of the R.I.C.E. plan. While icing, try to wrap a towel fairly tightly around the area. This further reduces the blood flow that causes swelling in a fresh bruise. Be careful not to cut of the circulation in that part of your body. If you feel tingling, you've made the wrap too tight.
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    Elevation. When possible, keep the bruised area above the heart so that the blood flows away from the bruised area rather than into the bruised area. If the bruise is on your leg, for example, lie down and prop your leg up on a stack of cushions.
    • Keep your head above your heart, even if the bruise is on your head or stomach.

Part 2
Continuing Treatment

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    Switch from ice to heat. Two or three days after your bruise appears, stop icing and start warming. At this point, blood flow is needed to promote healing. Several times a day, soak a washcloth in warm water and lay the washcloth over the bruise until it cools.[2] You can also stop compression and elevation.
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    Gently massage the area. This encourages blood flow, which isn't helpful for a fresh bruise but speeds healing once the bruise has started to fade. Stop if you feel pain.[3] If you're lucky, the bruise will look much better a few hours later. Don't be surprised if it takes longer, especially after a nasty fall.
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    Use comfrey ointment. Spread a thick layer of 10-percent comfrey root ointment over the bruise. Cover it with gauze or a non-air-tight bandage. Repeat daily for a few days.[4] This should speed up healing and reduce pain.
    • Never take an oral comfrey supplement. These can be dangerous.
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    Try witch hazel ointment. Rubbing this ointment over the bruise may speed up the healing. Try doing this several times per day. It's unclear how much this helps, but this is more believable than most home remedies.[5]
    • Dab a small amount on clear skin first to test for allergies. Don't use witch hazel if your skin turns red or itches.
    • Witch hazel has not been studied scientifically on pregnant or breastfeeding women. However, traditional midwives do use it.
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    Hide the bruise. If you've got a black eye and a job interview the next day, stop seeking miracle cures. Instead, use makeup that matches your skin tone to make the bruise invisible. Recruit a friend with the know-how, visit a salon or buy a commercial bruise-covering kit.


  • You can hide the bruise with makeup that matches your skin tone.
  • You can take ibuprofen for pain relief but avoid aspirin. Aspirin thins the blood, making it pool more into the bruise.[6]
  • Arnica gel most likely has no effect on bruises, despite its popularity.[7]


  • Painful streaks of red indicate infection. See a doctor.
  • Visit the doctor if you don't know why the bruise appeared. Mystery bruises are especially dangerous around the navel or if they are raised or firm.[8]
  • Visit the doctor if your bruise gets bigger or more painful and remains firm. This could be a hematoma, or trapped blood that can't drain away.[9]

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Categories: Home Remedies