Bruises are an inevitable part of daily life. Whether it’s caused by bumping into a table during a late night bathroom break or taking a ball to the shin at your little one’s soccer practice, these unsightly purple contusions can be a cause for distress when you want to show some skin.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to decrease the discoloration and soothe the swelling. The more quickly you act, the less severe your bruising will appear.
What is a Bruise, Anyway?
When you come into contact with something hard enough to cause a bruise, it’s because the incredibly tiny capillaries under your skin have burst. As red blood cells collect in the area of injury, they pool up under the surface, causing the distinct black-and-blue marks.
As your body metabolizes these collected blood cells and the capillaries rebuild, your bruise will fade in a rainbow of colors, from garish blue in the beginning to subtle yellow towards the end, until the trauma has completely healed.
Treating Bruises Naturally
At the first sign of a bruise, you should apply a cold compress. Doing so limits blood flow to the area, giving it time to begin the healing process. It will also help reduce swelling and pain. While this won’t completely prevent the bruise from appearing, it will significantly reduce the coloration, making it less noticeable.
You’ll want to take additional measures to help your bruise heal even faster, or if you notice a bruise hours or days after it happened. For that, we’re going to turn to nature.
These treatments, bromelain, arnica, vitamin K and emu oil, can reduce inflammation and help your bruises heal faster.
Derived from pineapples, bromelain is an enzyme mixture that can digest proteins. It’s commonly used in powdered form as a meat tenderizer, but has been shown to have several medical applications as well. When taken orally or applied as a topical cream, it can quickly reduce inflammation, swelling, and bruising.
Arnica is an herb with beautiful yellow flowers. It is mainly grown in Europe, as well as some parts of North America, where the flower extracts are used for medicinal and culinary purposes. Creams and gels containing arnica as an active ingredient have been shown to increase circulation and shorten the healing time for bruises.
Vitamin K is known to promote healing and improve the appearance of bruises. It aids the body’s ability to reabsorb blood around the injured area. Auriderm® Post-Op Gel is a product with 2% vitamin K oxide which activates the natural healing process. This gel helps to significantly reduce the severity and duration of a bruise by about 50%.
Emu oil is taken from the fat tissue of the large, flightless emu bird. For centuries, the Aborigine people of Australia, where emus are native, have used the oil for bruising, swelling, protecting skin, and pain relief. It contains both anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties, which help reduce skin damage due to injury and age. Clinicians Complex Bruise Cream contains emu oil and arnica as well as the antioxidants green tea and vitamin E. Because of its chemical composition, emu oil is easily absorbed by the skin. Its mix of essential fatty acids, vitamin A, carotenoids, and polyphenols are a necessary nutrient boost for your skin, bruised or otherwise.
Topical products that contain these ingredients are beneficial for all types of bruises. These treatments are also ideal for cosmetic services such as laser, sclerotherapy, and injectables like Botox and dermal fillers as well as surgical procedures to promote faster healing.