Truthfully speaking, no one plans to get hurt. Injuries often occur when we aren’t paying attention, and I will be the first to admit that I can be a total klutz. From tripping up the stairs to stumbling over my own ankles, I'm no stranger to bruises. In my younger years, the temporary black-and-blue look never bothered me, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve found myself on the hunt for all-natural remedies—something to help speed up the healing process. We have the lowdown on five remedies to lighten up those unwanted bruises in no time.
Known for its anti-inflammatory benefits, arnica is a popular homeopathic favorite for vanishing bruises. Aside from treating the injury, it also helps to relieve the aches that come from arthritis and sprains. When it’s applied on a fresh bruise, the swelling, pain, and discoloration are diminished within a few hours. For best results, apply an arnica gel 3–4 times a day on the affected area, or try taking it orally in pill form such as Hyland’s Arnica Montana tablets ($6).
Vitamins C & K
Not getting enough vitamin C in your diet may contribute to bruising. To help strengthen your body’s response to bruising and cut down the healing time, try to regularly consume foods that are naturally high in vitamin C.
Vitamin K is another micronutrient known for its role in blood clotting. If you're looking to treat a bruise, try rubbing a vitamin K-enriched cream to the bruise twice daily to aid your body in breaking down the blood and reabsorbing it.
For long-term benefits, stock up on your green, leafy vegetables and fruits such as broccoli, kale, spinach, oranges, mangoes, and papayas for clear and bruise-free skin.
Hot and Cold Therapy
Hot and cold compresses along with ice packs can significantly reduce bruising when used consistently and as soon as the bruise appears. Cold applications numb the nerves and constrict the blood vessels, reducing swelling and tissue breakdown. Applying heat helps opens blood vessels to improve circulation to the area. Following an injury, apply a bag of frozen vegetables or ice to the injury and massage it in slow, circular motions. Next, switch to a hot compress (like HealthSmart TheraBeads Microwavable Moist Heat Heating Pad, $40) and repeat the same process.
Aloe vera’s healing properties will help quicken the recovery phase of broken blood vessels under the skin's surface. When applied topically to the skin, the gel and moisture in aloe give bruises an environment where broken vessels can quickly and effectively repair themselves.
For best results, break the leaves off an aloe plant and apply the fresh gel to the bruise, or invest in a gel or cream with a high concentration of 80% or more.
Bromelain is a powerful enzyme found in pineapples that digests protein, thereby flushing out fluids trapped in the tissue. With anti-inflammatory properties, it has been shown to reduce injury time altogether.
Bromelain is also available in capsule form. Of course, before adding a new supplement to your routine, you should always check with your doctor.
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National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS). Vitamin K Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. Updated June 3, 2020.
Michigan Medicine. Using Ice and Cold Packs. Updated November 16, 2020.
Mary Washington Healthcare. Proper use of Heat and Cold Therapy for Injuries.
Hekmatpou D, Mehrabi F, Rahzani K, Aminiyan A. The Effect of Aloe Vera Clinical Trials on Prevention and Healing of Skin Wound: A Systematic Review. Iran J Med Sci. 2019 Jan;44(1):1-9
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