How to Get Rid of a Hickey (You’re Welcome)
The human race has devised endless ways to express affection. Examples include holding hands, kissing, gift-giving...and gnawing on a partner’s flesh to the point of inducing a contusion.
We’re talking about hickeys.
Contrary to popular belief, hickeys aren’t confined to the purview of horny teenagers. Madonna, the Queen of Pop herself, even said “Strong women leave big hickeys.”
Whether you begged for a hickey or succumbed to the suction in a fit of passion, you probably don’t want your bedroom bruises on display. So, what’s a dude to do if he has to walk into civilization looking like he just took a golf ball to the neck?
We scoured everything from medical journals to makeup blogs to create this guy’s guide to getting rid of hickeys.
What Is a Hickey?
If you’re reading this, you know what a hickey looks like. But what’s the story behind these battle wounds?
In layman's terms: a hickey is a bruise. Sucking on skin (especially in sensitive areas) can burst tiny blood vessels called capillaries. When that happens, blood gets trapped underneath the skin’s surface and leaves dark marks.
The word “hickey” or “hickie” dates back more than a century to 1915 when it stemmed off its previous meaning of “pimple or skin lesion.” The terminology changes from country to country. If you get a hickey in the U.K., it’s called a “love bite” (which sounds way more sophisticated).
Just like any bruise, a hickey can last anywhere from 5 to 12 days. The duration depends on what part of the body it’s on and how intense the sucking was. But don’t despair, dude. We’ve got some hickey hacks to help you hide your love scars.
How to Get Rid of a Hickey
There are two ways to approach hickeys, the first of which is to treat their underlying causes.
After a night full of neck nibbling, it’s technically not possible to make a hickey disappear, just like you can’t make any other bruise disappear. However, there are a few techniques that can reduce the swelling and help you heal faster.
Ice It Up
Rupturing the blood vessels in your erogenous zones might have seemed hot at the time, but now you gotta cool things down.
“Ice constricts the blood vessels, therefore minimizing bruising and bleeding,” Dr. Ehsan Ali, AKA “The Beverly Hills Concierge Doctor” told GQ.
As soon as you can, massage your hickey with an ice cube for about ten minutes. Another method involves pressing a cold spoon on the hickey. Both reduce swelling.
Apply Aloe Vera
Aloe is usually a sunburn remedy, but it’s packed with vitamins, enzymes, and minerals that soothe your skin.
“This will speed up the healing process,” says Dr. Ali. “Aloe’s anti-inflammatory properties can reduce skin swelling and pain, too.”
The faster you act, the better these tricks will work. Truthfully, time is the only guaranteed way to get rid of a hickey, so if you’re in a pinch you’ll need to make a trip to the makeup aisle. Seriously.
How to Hide a Hickey
When it comes to hiding hickeys, there’s no shame in the makeup game—even as a dude.
If you need a miracle hickey solution, makeup is the only viable option. But don’t just rummage through your girlfriend’s (or mom’s) makeup drawer and paint yourself like a tribal warrior. Concealing a hickey is an art. Much like wiping your ass or working out, it must be done properly to achieve maximum success.
Here’s the three-step process, according to makeup artists.
- Moisturize the hickey region. This will ensure a smooth canvas and easy application.
- Use a color corrector as a base layer. This will come in the form of a stick. Apply it with a gentle dabbing motion until the hickey is fully covered.
- Find a full cover concealer that best matches your skin tone. Blend this in using your fingers.
- Top it off with setting powder. This creates a blurring effect and locks in the makeup underneath.
If you can’t swallow your pride and slap on some makeup, you can use clothing and accessories as a last resort to hide a hickey. Perhaps you can channel your inner Steve Jobs and slip into a turtleneck. If you can pull off a scarf, that’ll do the trick too.
One DUDE user divulged to us that he got a henna tattoo to cover a hickey on his chest because he was going to a pool party with a girl who (obviously) hadn’t administered said hickey.
Desperate times call for desperate measures.
Should You Be Proud of a Hickey?
If you apply ice and makeup, your hickey will soon be nothing more than a distant, purple-ish memory. But could your hickey be a badge of honor?
Let’s get real: Whoever gave you that hickey is marking their territory. Granted, if you’re meeting your girl’s parents or interviewing for a job, you won’t want to show up looking like your neck was mauled by a bear.
Most guys have a history with hickeys (whether giving or receiving), so you’re not alone. It may be a painful and grotesque, but it’s also a sexual souvenir.