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How are hickeys formed?
Hickeys, often called "love bites" or "kisses with teeth," are marks left on the skin as a result of passionate encounters. While some wear them with pride, others may be left wondering how these temporary bruises actually form. In this article, we will delve into the science behind hickeys, exploring their causes, effects, and possible remedies.
What Are Hickeys?
Hickeys are a type of bruise caused by suction or excessive pressure on the skin, typically the neck, chest, or arm areas. The suction ruptures tiny blood vessels near the surface, leading to localized bleeding and the formation of a reddish or purplish mark. While hickeys are not harmful or dangerous, they can be embarrassing or uncomfortable for some individuals.
The Mechanism of Hickey Formation
When a hickey is formed, the suction applied to the skin causes capillaries, the smallest blood vessels, to break. The broken capillaries leak blood into the surrounding tissue, resulting in the discoloration associated with a hickey. This process is similar to how bruises form in other parts of the body.
Factors Affecting Hickey Formation
Suction intensity: The strength and duration of the suction applied to the skin play a significant role in the formation of a hickey. More intense and prolonged suction can lead to more prominent and long-lasting hickeys.
Skin sensitivity: Some individuals have more delicate skin that is more prone to bruising. People with fair or thin skin are generally more susceptible to hickeys than those with thicker or darker skin.
Blood vessel fragility: We all have varying degrees of blood vessel fragility, which can affect the likelihood of bruising. Fragile blood vessels are more likely to rupture and leak blood, leading to the formation of a hickey.
How to Get Rid of Hickeys
While hickeys usually fade on their own within a week or two, some individuals may wish to expedite the healing process. Here are a few tips to help minimize the appearance of hickeys:
Apply a cold compress: Immediately after noticing a hickey, applying a cold compress can help constrict blood vessels and reduce the severity of the bruise.
Use warm compresses: After the first 48 hours, applying warm compresses can help increase blood circulation and speed up the healing process.
Topical creams or ointments: Certain creams containing vitamin K, arnica, or aloe vera may help reduce inflammation and promote healing.