Dear Levi B.,
Can you tell me a little bit about hickeys? Are they dangerous? Is there a way to get rid of them?
Ah, yes, the ever controversial hickey. A sweet indication of your lover’s affection? A brag-worthy badge of your irresistible sex appeal? Or a tacky display of immodesty circa 9th grade? How you feel about hickeys is up to you, but here is some information to help you make up your mind (and answers your questions).
A hickey is a mark made on the skin, customarily the neck, though not necessarily. A hickey is made when someone sucks on the skin and breaks capillaries, forming a minor hematoma, which is basically internal bleeding. It sounds serious, but really it’s just a bruise (but doesn’t it sound really badass to call it a minor hematoma or internal bleeding?). Hickeys are also sometimes referred to as love-bites, and can also be formed through biting (rather than sucking), as this alternate name indicates. On sensitive skin, such as the neck, the sucking or biting needn’t last long – around 30 seconds (though every body is different). On tougher skin (like your elbow?), it takes longer. The process of getting a hickey can hurt and for many people does hurt. Having your blood vessels broken and bleeding internally is not necessarily the most serene or pleasant activity for your body. It generally doesn’t hurt much, though. Many other people, on the other hand, find the experience quite pleasurable and without pain, or simply enjoy the pain. The first time I got a hickey, I didn’t even realize it until a day later, because the process was so short and felt really good (as in: no pain).
Though a hickey is the result of destruction to your capillaries, it is not dangerous. Your body is capable of healing bruises, and there are no long-term consequences that I am aware of.
How do you get rid of them? BFFs and the internet have been full of advice on this subject since as long as each has existed. Most of the advise has to do with reducing swelling, constricting blood vessels so that the color fades, or, most often, dispersing the blood collected under the skin. Suggestions include warm compresses, cold compresses, a toothpaste rinse, rubbing crushed aspirin on it, scraping the edge of a penny over it, brushing a toothbrush or a comb over it, or rubbing a spoon from the freezer over it. Unfortunately, none of these really work, and some can actually make it worse. The best way to get rid of a hickey is time. Depending on the size and severity of a hickey, it can take anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of weeks for a hickey to fade completely. To help your body heal faster, take care of yourself. Eat good, healthy food, including lots of dark leafy greens. Take vitamin and mineral supplements. Drink plenty of water and get plenty of sleep and try to do something active every day. Supporting your immune system and your body’s regenerative processes is the best thing you can do to make a hickey go away.
In the meantime, you can cover it up with make-up, fashionable scarves, shirt collars, or strategic hairstyles. Or, you can wear it with pride, as a token of your wild DIV experience. If you’re worried what your family will say when you go home for break, just say, “Oh! That? It’s just some internal bleeding. I had a minor hematoma, but I’ll be fine.”
Lusting for You,
Since Antioch follows the path of least resistance and honors only Christian holidays with scheduled breaks, I have decided to follow suit and provide you with a list of appropriate internet resources to inform and enlighten you during this semester break. Hope you enjoy!