How long will my hickey last?

One minute, your neck is clear after an intimate moment with your partner. The next, it’s covered with a big, round, purple mark. Hickeys form when the tiny blood vessels under your skin are broken, leaving a noticeable bruise.

Hickeys can last anywhere from 2 days to 2 weeks. So if you’re trying to hide one, you may spend a long time in turtlenecks or touching up the area with concealer. But there are a few ways to speed up the healing process. Of course, nothing will make a hickey magically disappear in minutes, but these 10 techniques may help it clear up a few days faster.

1. Start with a cold compress

A cold compress may help reduce the swelling of a brand new bruise. The cool temperature helps slow the flow of blood from the vessel into the skin. You could also use an ice pack, a cloth dampened with cold water, or even a chilled spoon. Whatever you use, apply the compress to the hickey for 10 minutes several times per day for the first 2 days.

Learn more: How to make your own cold compress »

2. Then try to boost blood flow with a warm compress

After two days of using a cold compress, it’s time to apply some heat. A warm compress can increase your circulation in the bruised area. This may help the hickey fade sooner rather than later.

Starting on day three, apply a warm compress for 10 minutes several times per day.

3. Massage the area

Massages are known to relieve pain and stimulate blood flow. Gently massaging or rubbing your hickey for a few minutes per day may speed up fading. A light touch is key — applying too much pressure could actually make the bruise worse.

4. Add peppermint essential oil to your massage

Peppermint essential oil can help stimulate blood flow to the area. This may help reduce the size and severity of your hickey.

Be sure to use essential oil, not the extract that’s used for cooking. And always use diluted essential oils. A general rule of thumb is to add about 12 drops of a carrier oil, like coconut or olive oil, to every 1 to 2 drops of essential oil.

You should also do a skin patch test first. Apply a small amount of diluted essential oil to the inside of your forearm. If you don’t experience any irritation within 24 hours, the oil should be safe to apply elsewhere.

Once you know it’s safe to use, massage a small amount of diluted peppermint essential oil onto the hickey. You can do this as often as you’d like.

5. Apply topical vitamin K

Topical vitamin K has been shown to clear up bruises more quickly and speed up skin healing. This is because the vitamin plays a key role in your body’s blood-clotting process.

Apply a good amount of vitamin K cream to your hickey as needed to reduce the appearance of the bruise. You could also take vitamin K supplements or eat vitamin K-rich foods to further boost production. Try leafy greens or brown rice.

Check out: 11 outside-the-box ways to eat kale »

6. Try a banana peel mask

The inside of a banana peel is rich with vitamins and nutrients that can help reduce the appearance of a bruise. Rub the inside of a peel from a ripe banana on your hickey for up to 30 minutes or until the peel turns brown. Repeat this technique at least twice per day until your hickey has faded.

7. Apply topical vitamin C

Vitamin C is essential to keeping your skin healthy and smooth. It has great antioxidant properties and may help boost your skin’s collagen production. In fact, vitamin C may even strengthen the skin tissue around your blood vessels, which could help heal your hickey.

Apply a vitamin C-enriched cream to the affected area daily. Eating more citrus and plant-based foods may also be beneficial.

8. Smooth some cocoa butter on

Cocoa butter, a fat derived from cocoa beans, is a staple in many skin care regimens — and with good reason. Cocoa butter has been shown to smooth scars, stretch marks, wrinkles, and other skin marks. That’s because it’s rich in fatty acids and phytochemicals believed to help nourish skin, improve elasticity, and slow aging.

You can apply cocoa butter lotion to your hickey once or twice per day to help speed up healing.

Check out: Everything you need to know about cocoa butter »

9. Apply aloe vera

The aloe vera plant has anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce skin swelling and pain. To treat a hickey, apply a thin layer of aloe vera gel or cream to the bruise at least twice per day.

Learn more: 7 amazing uses for aloe vera »

10. Use arnica

Topical and oral arnica are widely available over the counter at most pharmacies. Using arnica can help speed up the healing of the bruise from a hickey.

Learn more about arnica and healing »

The bottom line

Hickeys won’t go away overnight, no matter how hard you try. These 10 tricks may help speed up the healing process by a day or two, but they aren’t foolproof methods. There’s always a chance that some of these techniques may not have any effect at all for you.

In the meantime, covering the hickey up is your best bet. It may mean two weeks of scarves, but in the case of hickeys, time really does heal all wounds.

Learn more: The 4 best vitamins for your skin »