It doesn't matter how a bruise happened, the worst is always assumed. The dark and ugly contusions are inevitable but we can optimize the healing process. A result of broken blood capillaries, bruises form after injury. Before we cover bruise-healing, let's understand the biological process underneath the skin's surface.
What the Hell is Going on Beneath my Skin?
Regardless of what caused it, our response is the same. Purpura is the rupturing of small blood vessels, called capillaries and the resulting release of blood. The blood leaks into the surrounding tissue and pools in the now bruised area. The familiar discoloration is actually blood.
All the Colors of the Rainbow
As blood flows from broken capillaries stops, the body goes into healing mode. Our body releases enzymes and white blood cells that break down the trapped blood. As a result of that process, the blood can change to nearly every color. So don't freak out and let your body do its thang.
“I Bruise like a Peach”
Yes, it's true, some people bruise easier than others. It can be a serious annoyance but there are reasons why.
There isn't really a nice way to put it – aging blows. As we get older, our skin loses its strength and elasticity. Our skin and what's beneath it becomes more fragile. More fragility equals more bruising.
Iron-deficiency is a major health risk and bruising easily is a sign of it. A balanced diet should have you taken care of
- Vitamin C
Like iron, a deficiency in Vitamin-C will increase the chance of bruising. With a modern diet, it is very unlikely to happen, unless you are a pirate.
- Family history
Genetics is a complicated part of biology that we squeaked by with a C+ at school. Some of us bruise more than others because of our family history.
Over-the-counter blood thinners like aspirin cause changes in blood flow that can account for that curious bruise.
- The PUMP
Believe it or not, it's possible to pump so hard that you bruise. Take it easy on your body, you are never going to be Arnold.
- Lost in the Sauce
Unfortunately, hitting the bottle too often causes all sorts of problems. Alcohol thins the blood and thinner blood means more bruises.
The Bruise Erasing Playbook
Once a bruise has formed, you must create a strategic plan of attack to make it disappear faster. The options are plenty but keep three goals in mind: increase blood flow, reduce inflammation and crush the blood clots. Whether they are home remedies or over-the-counter medicines, this is the stuff that works.
- Ice pack
A favorite for sports injuries, ice packs do wonders for the body. Upon the first sign of a bruise, apply ice to subside inflammation. Inflammation slows healing and we have a need for speed, baby.
- Heating pad
Wait, isn't a heating pad the opposite of an ice pack? Yes, but as covered earlier, there are three goals to reach for getting rid of a bruise. Used in later stages of a bruise, a heating pad breaks up blood clots. If you don't have a heating pad at home, a hot-water bottle will do the trick.
A legend of anti-inflammatory properties, ibuprofen is the most used pain relief pill around.
- Aloe Vera
We really can't say enough about this super plant. It is your skin's best friend. Aloe vera will quicken healing at the skin level and help with inflammation below it. There is a reason we have it in everything from Dude Wipes to Dude Powder.
- Vitamin K
Vitamin K is a set of compounds found in leafy green vegetables and other foods. A healthy dose will help break up blood clots and boost circulation.
- Elastic bandages
Applying pressure will help the body's healing process. Wrap an elastic bandage around the contusion and let it go to work. The combination of a warm compress and cold compress is even more effective.
- A healing diet
The lack of essential nutrients and minerals will slow the healing process. Focusing on a more natural diet will boost all three of the bruise healing goals. Eat your veggies, bros!
Arnica is an herb used for thousands of years for its anti-inflammatory properties. Today, it's available as an arnica ointment.
An enzyme found in pineapples, bromelain can reduce swelling and blood clotting.
Bruises are embarrassing and painful but mending the injured area is pretty easy, dudes. Bruises are a natural healing process of the body but that doesn't mean we can't juice up the speed. Remember, it's not how the bruise happened, it's how you get down to the business of helping it heal.