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It’s frustrating to wait weeks for a bruise to heal, especially when it’s in a highly visible spot, so how can you speed up the process? Bruises form when the small blood vessels near your skin’s surface are broken. Blood leaks into the tissues under your skin and that familiar black-and-blue mark forms on your skin. However, a few simple home remedies can help your bruise fade quickly and easily. Keep reading for a list of effective treatments that’ll heal even the nastiest bruise!

Things You Should Know

  • Apply ice immediately after you get a bruise and elevate the area. Compress the bruise with an elastic bandage to reduce swelling.
  • Give the bruised area some rest for a few days and apply a heat pack 48 hours after getting the bruise to reduce its severity.
  • Use natural, topical remedies like arnica ointment, vitamin K cream, or comfrey cream to make the bruise fade.
  • Eat pineapple and food containing vitamin C, like oranges, to promote wound healing and help fade the bruise.

Ice the bruise several times a day.

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  1. Cold constricts the injured blood vessels. Wrap an ice pack, a bag of ice, or a package of frozen vegetables (like frozen peas, for example) in a washcloth or paper towel. Then, hold the bundled ice to your bruise for 10 to 15 minutes. You can do this several times a day as needed, but don’t apply ice for more than 15 minutes every hour.[1]
    • Apply an ice pack immediately after you get a bruise. The sooner you get some ice, the less blood can leak out of your blood vessels and expand the bruise.
    • While frozen veggies are perfectly safe, don’t ice your bruise with raw frozen meat. Raw meat contains bacteria, making it unsafe to hold against a wound.
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Rest the bruised area.

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  1. Using the muscles around your bruise might aggravate and worsen it. Give your muscles a break for at least the first couple of days after getting injured, and avoid doing any intense exercises or strenuous activity with the body part that got bruised. Letting your muscles rest gives the bruise a chance to heal quickly without any interference.[2]
    • For example, if the bruise is on your leg, avoid doing intense leg exercises or going on runs for a day or two.
    • Don’t massage the bruised area while resting it, as you might unintentionally break more blood vessels under your skin and make the bruise larger.

Elevate the bruise.

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  1. Lifting the bruised area above your heart reduces blood flow there. When blood flow is reduced, so is swelling—plus, it stops blood from getting to the bruised area and causing further discoloration, expanding the bruise. If your bruise is on an area of your body that you can elevate (like your arms and legs), raise it above your heart immediately after getting the bruise.[3]
    • Find a surface to rest your limb on while elevated so you can relax your muscles at the same time.
    • For example, if you have a bruise on your foot, lay down on your back and prop up the bruised foot with pillows or a couch cushion.
    • Sometimes elevating the bruise comes naturally. To treat a bruise on your face, for example, just stay in an upright position when possible and keep your head raised with extra pillows when you go to bed.
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Apply heat 48 hours after the bruise forms.

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  1. Heat helps to clear away the trapped blood and relieve pain. Wait 2 days after the bruise appears, then hold a heating pad or hot water bottle against the bruised skin for no more than 20 minutes at a time as needed. The heat can increases blood flow and circulation, which is how it flushes out the blood underneath your skin and makes your bruise fade faster.[5]
    • Soak your bruised skin in a hot bath if you prefer. Bath water will work the same as a heating pad or hot water bottle!
    • Heat also loosens tense muscles, which is why it’s a strong pain reliever.
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Rub vitamin K cream into the bruise.

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Treat your bruise with comfrey cream.

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Enjoy foods rich in vitamin C.

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Follow a healthy diet to promote healing.

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  1. The right foods strengthen your blood vessels and heal body tissues. Eat plenty of produce containing a natural flavonoid called quercetin to strength blood vessels, and lean proteins that are low in cholesterol and saturated fats.[12] Plus, foods with zinc in them can heal your body tissues faster and strengthen them in the long run, so future bruises aren’t as intense.
    • Produce with quercetin includes apples, citrus, leafy green veggies, dark berries, and red onions.
    • The best lean proteins are fish, poultry (specifically the white meat in chicken and turkey), tofu, and low fat milk.
    • Legumes (including chickpeas, green peas, black beans, lentils, and soybeans), spinach, pumpkin seeds, and shellfish like crab and lobster are all great sources of zinc.

Take acetaminophen (Tylenol) for pain if needed.

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  1. Acetaminophen minimizes your pain while the bruise heals. While acetaminophen can’t heal a bruise on its own, it makes the healing process much more bearable. If the bruise is painful, take acetaminophen for relief, following all the dosage instructions on the bottle.[13]
    • Acetaminophen is the better choice over NSAID pain relievers like ibuprofen and naproxen because NSAIDs thin your blood and increase blood flow to the bruised area, making it heal more slowly.
    • Avoid other supplements that thin your blood as well, including omega 3-fatty acids, vitamin E, turmeric, and vitamin B6.
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Talk to your doctor if the bruise doesn’t go away.

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  1. A bruise that gets worse over time might indicate something serious. In most cases, a bruise will fade away after a couple of weeks. However, several signs can indicate more serious problems like an infection, compartment syndrome, a bleeding disorder, or a broken bone. Keep an eye out for complications and see your doctor immediately if you notice any of the following:[14]
    • Extreme pressure in the bruised area, which could indicate a case of compartment syndrome.
    • Severe pain for more than 3 days after getting the bruise, which might mean you have a broken bone.
    • Painful swelling, pus, or fever, which are all signs of an infection.
    • Bruising and bleeding easily or for no apparent reason, which are both signs of a bleeding disorder. If you have a history of frequent bruising, make sure to let your doctor know as well.

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About This Article

Daniel Wozniczka, MD, MPH
Medically reviewed by:
Internal Medicine Physician
This article was medically reviewed by Daniel Wozniczka, MD, MPH and by wikiHow staff writer, Glenn Carreau. Dr. Wozniczka is an Internal Medicine Physician, who is focused on the intersection of medicine, economics, and policy. He has global healthcare experience in Sub Saharan Africa, Eastern Europe, and Southeast Asia. He serves currently as a Lieutenant Commander in the U.S. Public Health Service and a Medical Officer for the Epidemic Intelligence Service in the CDC. He completed his MD at Jagiellonian University in 2014, and also holds an MBA and Masters in Public Health from the University of Illinois at Chicago. This article has been viewed 988,640 times.
9 votes - 89%
Co-authors: 62
Updated: August 26, 2023
Views: 988,640
Categories: Featured Articles | Bruises

Medical Disclaimer

The content of this article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, examination, diagnosis, or treatment. You should always contact your doctor or other qualified healthcare professional before starting, changing, or stopping any kind of health treatment.

Article SummaryX

While it takes time for a bruise to heal, you may be able to help speed along the healing process by applying an ice pack to the bruise for no more than 15 minutes every hour. After 24 hours, apply a hot compress for about 20 minutes to help circulate the blood that has gathered under the skin. Applying arnica gel, vinegar, or witch hazel to the bruise may also help it to heal more quickly. Keep reading to learn tips from our medical reviewer on when to seek medical help for a bruise, such as if you feel extreme pressure in the area.

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Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 988,640 times.

Reader Success Stories

  • Keira Redfern

    Keira Redfern

    Aug 17, 2016

    "The ice bit and warm compress was good, it helped me a lot. Also, I tried propping the body part up, it really..." more
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