Bruising, also called contusion or hematoma, occurs when the small blood vessels break and leak, in the soft tissues under the skin. A bruise looks like a reddish, bluish or purplish scar on the skin and one often experiences swelling and pain along with the bruise. Helping to reduce bruising is one of the first steps of first aid.
Causes of Bruising
There are three kinds of bruises, the most common are the subcutaneous ones which occur beneath the skin. The second are intramuscular ones, which occur under the muscles. The last are periosteal or bone bruises, which can last for long, and cause the most severe pain.
Listed here, are the bruise causes:
- Injuries while playing sports
- Blows from objects or other people
Medicines like aspirin or warfarin, which are blood thinners and are often given for treatment in heart disease are also one of the causes of bruising. Some people are more susceptible to bruising than others. Elders are more prone to them, because they have thinner skin.
Reducing Bruising and Swelling
A person experiences pain and swelling in the bruised body part, which makes the movement of the body part difficult. Whenever trying any remedy, make sure you don't use any of the major remedies around the eye, mouth and the nostrils area.
Also, it is important that you don't drain out the bruise by inserting anything sharp in it, and avoid any strong physical activity to further aggravate the bruising. Here, are some treatments which you can use at home to reduce bruising on face and body parts:
One of the easiest and most effective ways of reducing bruising is by using an ice pack. Take some ice and wrap it in a cloth, you can also freeze ice in a bowl, wrap the bowl in the cloth and use it.
Press this pad on the bruised area for 15 minutes every 1 hour, for reducing bruising fast. This will also help to bring down the swelling of the bruised part, and provide good relief from the pain.
Like ice compresses you can try hot compresses to reduce bruising. Make a hot compress and press it to the affected area, to decrease bruising and the pain. Remember that cold compresses work good for recent sprains, swellings or bruises, and should be used accordingly. While hot compresses are used to treat old injuries and muscle sprains.
Do not take painkillers like aspirin or warfarin on a long-term basis, instead to reduce pain take acetaminophen (Tylenol). This medicine you can find over-the-counter and it will help in skin, muscle and bone bruise treatment.
Vitamins or other supplements can increase your chances of getting bruises, hence talk to your health care provider if you are on supplements and tend to get bruises easily. The health care provider might recommend you to discontinue such supplements.
Arnica is a homeopathy medicine that is used for treating bruises, which you can buy over-the-counter. For dark or swollen bruises, apply Arnica gel after every 3 hours to the affected bruised area. This will help to decrease bruising, swelling, stiffness and the coloration of the affected area.
However, after the first use, if you experience any redness or itching, this means your skin is allergic to Arnica and you should discontinue using it.
The foodstuffs rich in vitamin C are lemons, black currants, strawberries, oranges, etc. and the foodstuffs rich in vitamin K are dark green vegetables like spinach, broccoli, cabbage etc. Include grape seed in your diet, as it has strong antioxidant properties which helps to reduce chronic bruising.
Also, if possible keep the injured body part elevated, so that the blood flow decreases to that part. This will reduce the skin coloration. For example, if you have a bruise your thigh, then place that particular leg on a table and prop it using pillows.
Tips for Avoiding Bruising
Bruises are mostly caused due to physical injuries, so follow these precautions to reduce the occurrence of bruising:
- Children should be made aware about child safety, so they can avoid injuries.
- Wear helmet and while riding a bike or when involved in other physical activities like sports.
- You can use protective pads like arm pads and knee pads, to prevent injuries and bruises.
- Be careful to avoid falls in or around the house, and especially careful when climbing up or down the ladder.
- Arrange the furniture in your house in such a way, that it allows you to move freely in the house so that you can avoid any bumps or hits.
- Do ensure you wear safety belts, when inside a car.
You can consider taking an over-the-counter painkiller to cope better with the pain of a severe bruise. Sometimes, the bruise might take many days to fade away. If you wish to cover it with make up then use a concealer which matches with your skin tone. If you have cuts on the bruised skin region, then avoid applying make up, as this might infect the skin.
Home care measures can help to reduce bruising. However, one must seek medical help - when there are large and painful bruises, or bleeding along with the bruise, or when you are experiencing bruises without any apparent reason.