fast bruise healing
August 11, 2008 11:54 PM   Subscribe

I have a large bruise below my knee which needs to go away quickly. Tell me how!

My brother’s getting married in less than a week (on Sunday). I am one of the bridesmaids, and our dresses are knee length. This bruise is VERY visible. I am fine with using makeup to cover day-of, but of course would much rather avoid that, not to mention we will be on a fairly tight schedule as it is and worried about it rubbing off on the dress.

Some (maybe relevant) info:
- I got the bruise 2 nights ago (Saturday night)
- It is not painful, mildly painful when massaged, and the cause of it was not really painful (I bruise easily I guess). So I didn’t even discover the bruise until several hours later.
- Growing up I used to massage my bruises all the time, so I did that as soon as I discovered the bruise. And have done so several times since.
- I also put some RubA535 on it last night and will be putting some more after I post this
- This morning, Google seemed to suggest that massaging was not a good idea, so I stopped. And started applying ice packs.
- Some Google results say to switch to a warm pack after 24 hrs, some say 48 hrs, some say 72 hrs. Which is it? Or should I be going by colour rather than time? If so, at what colour should I be switching?
- It was a fairly bright pink this morning, but at the moment, it's quite a bit darker, and is turning brown.
- The cause wasn’t any one large impact. It was more repeated pressure against the bruise area.

What should I be doing to make this owwie go away?

Will also be happy to get cover-up tips.

Thank you!!!
posted by cheemee to Health & Fitness (20 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Dye the dress to match. (I keed!) Someone posted the following to

Assuming we are talking about an ordinary bruise, and you don't have ANY clotting disorder or other medical problems going on:

Take extra Vitamin C, and B Complex for a few days (stay within healthy doses!). Apply warm moist heat pack or pads and take aspirin 2-3 x a day to help disperse the hematoma under the skin faster so it will fade. Don't use the heat for more than 15-20 mins. every 4 hours or so 4 x a day. If it is on a leg, elevate the leg while you have the heat pad on it. Soaking in a warm bath will also do the same thing. Also, if it is in the legs or arms, using those muscles more (walking is good as is lifting things with the arms) will help to disperse the hematoma and get it to filter out into the other tissues faster.

Just do not do the exercise if the bruise is NEW or if it is getting larger, or if when you do the exercises with arms or legs it hurts more than MILDLY. You don't want to re-injure the vessels and tissues. Let Mother Nature do the rest.
posted by longsleeves at 12:20 AM on August 12, 2008

nice thick foundation and maybe a pair of pantyhose if possible. anecdotal google evidence says "Arnica" might help
posted by silkygreenbelly at 12:21 AM on August 12, 2008

The color of a bruise is due to red blood cells that leaked out of injured blood vessels into the surrounding tissue. Over time, the hemoglobin from these RBCs break down, causing the different colors. Finally, these breakdown products travel out of the tissue via the lymph system back into the circulation to be filtered out by the spleen, liver, and kidneys.

The first 72 hours after an injury, ice packs are applied to constrict vessels and reduce leakage out of blood vessels. After about 72 hours, hot compresses are used to increase the lymph drainage.

So, you can use the hot compresses to speed things up but with two days to go make-up is probably your best bet.
posted by ebellicosa at 12:24 AM on August 12, 2008

You might find this howto on removing hickies useful (or at least amusing) - particularly the part about combing the bruise away... ew...
posted by wfrgms at 12:29 AM on August 12, 2008

Dermablend leg and body cover
posted by netbros at 12:29 AM on August 12, 2008

I have no idea if arnica actually works or not, but the last time I had a hideous bruise -- on my breast of all places, from a car accident -- I rubbed it in a few times a day and it made me feel like I was doing something.

As far as covering it up goes, Dermablend is a good choice, as netbros mentioned. I have used Keromask with much success to cover black-inked tattoos. It's a far less pasty product than Dermablend and a little goes a long, long way.
posted by houseofdanie at 1:19 AM on August 12, 2008

My husband (accident prone) has had some success with this product, Hirudoid.
posted by b33j at 1:35 AM on August 12, 2008 [1 favorite]

I second the recommendation for Keromask, although Dermablend is a good second choice if you can't get Keromask for some reason. And houseofdanie is right, a little goes a long way.
posted by thejanna at 3:55 AM on August 12, 2008

I have successfully healed bruised with a bunch of therapies. Do these all at the same time and I think you may see quick results.

#1 Topical Therapy with Arnica gel or arnica oil or arnica tincture or Traumeel (a homeopathic ointment with arnica and other homeopathic ingredients) I don't know what your budget is but Traumeel is a little pricey.

#2 Topical Vitamin E - Get some 1000mg capsules or high potency Vitamin E oil and apply it to the bruise intermittently (at leat 3X/day) with the arnica gel or traumeel.

#3 Arnica pellets, Traumeel tablets, or arnica tincture on a very regular basis (every couple of hours or as directed)

All of these things have helped me.
Good luck with the healing!
posted by marlys27 at 5:17 AM on August 12, 2008

Avoid the homeopathic "treatments." They won't hurt you, but they're all completely useless.
posted by joshrholloway at 5:28 AM on August 12, 2008

Try witch hazel. Dab it on the bruise with a cotton ball a couple times a day.

This worked well for a friend of mine's face, after he got his ass stomped by the cops for passing out on his way home from the front of a church...early Easter morning.
posted by wearyaswater at 6:33 AM on August 12, 2008

particularly the part about combing the bruise away... ew...

Actually, that works on bruises and, if I remember high school correctly, hickeys.

Use a soft bristle hair brush or a body brush. Lightly brush out from the center of the bruise. You'll need to do it a few times a day. It won't instantly remove the bruise, but it will get much lighter, much faster.
posted by 26.2 at 7:01 AM on August 12, 2008

Long, hot baths.

FWIW, I've had trouble with DermaBlend. I attempted to cover a rather purple bruise and ended up looking like I had leaned up against a freshly-painted wall.

Note: I am stricken with a severe case of falling-downedness. For no reason whatsoever. Just, whoops, I've landed on the floor, via the stairs.
posted by mitzyjalapeno at 7:19 AM on August 12, 2008

Heat. Resolution of a bruise is a chemical process. Chemical processes run faster at higher temperature. Realistically, by using heat around the clock, you can probably speed it up by 50% or so.
posted by neuron at 9:03 AM on August 12, 2008

Avoid the homeopathic "treatments." They won't hurt you, but they're all completely useless.

Arnica as an herbal topical remedy is not "useless": "The thymol derivatives concentrated in the plants roots have been clinically shown to be effective vasodilators of subcutaneous blood capillaries.

If the thymol derivatives concentrated from the plant roots are being used in a normal concentration, this is not a homeopathic remedy. "Homeopathic" by definition means diluted to the point of no molecules of the substance actually being present in the bottle based on some bizarre ideas about water having memory of the molecules that touched it. If an herbal remedy is used at regular strength it is, well, an "herbal remedy" not "homeopathic".

I have no particular opinion on arnica. Some herbal remedies do things for some people and if research shows there's actually a chemical mechanism behind this one, more power to you. But homeopathy as in dilution to the point of nothing is bunk.

And heat helps old bruises heal faster.
posted by hydropsyche at 9:19 AM on August 12, 2008

@ longsleeves:
Our dresses are purple, so maybe the bruise will dye itself to match the big day. =o)

particularly the part about combing the bruise away... ew...
I'm actually more disturbed by the coin one.

@ b33j:
That name sounds familiar. I think it's what my mom used on me as a kid.

@ everyone:
Thanks for the info/suggestions!

I'll try and look around the stores for this Dermablend / Keromask. From the Dermablend website though, doesn't look like any stores in my area have it (Vancouver, BC, Canada).
posted by cheemee at 9:27 AM on August 12, 2008

- The cause wasn’t any one large impact. It was more repeated pressure against the bruise area.

This made me laugh in a nudge-nudge kinda way.

Anyway, I seem to remember Dermablend being kinda expensive, especially for one-time use.

You should try Sally Hansen's Airbrush Legs which you can get at any drugstore makeup counter in the US. I bought it for my wedding, and have used it several times since then. It won't rub off on clothing as long as you follow the directions and give it time to "set" and it was opaque enough to cover up the freckles I have on my legs, as well as some bruises (I have fair with pretty translucent skin).

There is also a product called AirStocking which is the same thing. I haven't used it and cannot vouch but here is a comparison.
posted by Brittanie at 12:24 PM on August 12, 2008

Medicinal leeches? One of my high school teachers claimed to use them to get rid of bruises quickly. (Funny, the things you remember. Don't ask me anything about the French class she taught.)
posted by hades at 11:38 PM on August 12, 2008

I thought that the medicinal leeches only worked directly after the injury happened. *infomercial announcer voice* Say you get in a lot of fistfights. Carry around some leeches with you and you'll never have a black eye! *end infomercial announcer voice*

Seriously, though, leeches? That's gross, even if it works.
posted by mitzyjalapeno at 8:43 AM on August 13, 2008

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