How to Get Rid of a Hickey—or At Least Cover It Up

Hickey drugstore treatments, home remedies, beauty products, and more.

Okay, so things got a bit steamy last night, and now you have a hickey. You might feel like you're back in high school, but you're an adult, and that love bite isn't so cute. You really don't want your friends, coworkers, or your kids to see this startling blue-purple mark on your neck.

Luckily, there are things you can do to get rid of it, or at least cover it up with makeup as it heals.

First, what is a hickey?

A hickey is caused by the application of pressure onto the skin, which leads to the rupture of blood vessels underneath the skin, causing a bruise,” Scottsdale, Arizona-based Jennifer Sawaya, MD, dermatologist and cosmetic and laser specialist with US Dermatology Partners, tells Health. The pressure on your skin came from your partner's mouth...and the resulting hickey is basically a bruise.

Typically, a bruise anywhere on your body takes three to 14 days to disappear, says Dr. Sawaya. “This depends on a variety of factors, including the cause, depth, and size of bruising, as well as the individual,” she explains.

How can I make it go away ASAP?

Nothing will make the hickey go away instantaneously. But to speed healing, some drugstore products and home remedies might help. Applying a cold compress or ice is one treatment. "I generally recommend ice for the first 24 hours and then warm compresses thereafter,” advises Dr. Sawaya.

You can also try topical creams that contain vitamin K, arnica, or bromelain (an enzyme found in pineapples). These ingredients are though to address bruising, though there’s not much data about how effective they are, says Dr. Sawaya. Another option is to use a self-massager or jade roller over the area, though there's a lack of research on this, as well.

As for home remedies, the most inventive involves rubbing a banana peel on skin for up to half an hour. If you have the time and are really motivated, you can try this. However, “to my knowledge, there is no evidence to support the use of a banana peel,” says Dr. Sawaya.

A better approach, though, is to not do things that would make the hickey worse to give the hickey an opportunity to heal. Chief among these are getting wrapped up in another hot and heavy makeout session, doing any physical activity that could affect the neck area and land you more broken blood vessels under the skin.

How can I cover up the hickey?

Camouflaging your hickey with makeup until it goes away or becomes less noticeable is very effective. Here, Chicago-area makeup artist Adriana Aude shares her step-by-step hickey-hiding tips:

• Start with a primer. A silicone-based primer will prep the skin and help smooth out the area to give your makeup staying power.

• Add a color-correcting cream concealer. Apply it with your fingers using a “tap and press motion” with your middle or index fingers, she advises. "Hickeys are bruises and bruises change color over time, typically going from purple-red to black-blue, and then yellow-green before healing,” says Aude. Here’s how to know what you need, she says.

  1. Purple-red hickey: Color corrector with green undertones.
  2. Black-blue hickey: Color corrector with red or orange undertones.
  3. Green-yellow hickey: Color corrector with purple undertones.

• Top with a regular concealer. Use the same everyday concealer (the one that matches your skin tone) that you’d use to hide a pimple, says Aude.

Set with a translucent powder. Again, use your everyday powder here. Aude recommends doing a “press and roll” motion with a sponge or puff to finish off the hickey coverage. “Use a light, fluffy brush to get rid of any excess powder so it doesn’t transfer to your clothes,” says Aude. ​​​​Now you're good to go.

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