I’d love to say that hickeys “just happen” when you get caught up in the heat of the moment. But the truth is, you never “accidentally” get a hickey. Sucking violently on someone’s neck until it turns purple is a conscious choice. You totally knew what was going on, or at the very least, your hookup did.

You probably got a hickey because:

  • You’re not his girlfriend. He doesn’t care about you, or the fact that you’re going to spend the next week looking like you belong at a battered women’s shelter.
  • He wanted to mark his territory. He’s boldly telling the world that you’re his, while simultaneously assuring that you don’t hook up with other people.
  • He’s getting revenge. Maybe you gave him a hickey first (or a bad blow job).
  • You genuinely didn’t know that having someone suck on your neck gives you a hickey (aka: you’re fucking 13 years old).
  • He had a misguided attempt at passion. Lip biting, hair pulling, and light pinning quickly escalated to vampirism. No one’s sure when the line was crossed.
  • You were totally out of control, nearly black out, and didn’t give a fuck. My favorite.
  • A combination of any of the above, if you’re doing it right.

The tramp stamp of the neck is nothing to be ashamed of. It’s a sexy symbol and reminder that you got some, and it was damn good. If only this reminder weren’t so public. Don’t get me wrong. You should wear your hickeys proudly, revel in your scandalous memories, and gleefully share your war wounds with your girlfriends. But, if you’ve got my luck, your hickey probably happened right before your first day of school, a major presentation, that important meeting with your professor, interview with a boss, and/or Father’s Day. Now, not only do you have a constant reminder of your weekend hookup, but the whole world knows about it, too.

A hickey just an elaborate, slutty bruise. Like all bruises, it just needs some time to heal…  but obviously, it’s in a pretty public place. So, if you don’t want to wear a turtle neck for five days, or say you got hit in the jugular by a golf ball, here’s a few tricks you can use to make your hickey fade and disappear faster. (By the way, there’s tons of methods online that include scraping, combing, pinching, and putting weird not-FDA-approved chemicals on your skin, but I’m not a fucking sadist, so here’s shit that won’t hurt you and actually works.)

How Hickeys Work

When someone sucks on your neck, the small blood vessels close to your skin break.  Blood seeps out and spreads into the surrounding tissue, collects, and clots, giving you a reddish bruise. It turns dark purple or brown over time. Eventually, the blood dissolves and is reabsorbed, and your hickey disappears. Depending on your body, this usually takes five days to a week, but you can speed up the process.

1. Ice Pack 

As soon as you notice your hickey, apply an ice pack or cold compress immediately (within the first 12 hours). The cold will constrict blood vessels, reduce blood flow, and keep your hickey from growing. Press firmly and slowly, and move the ice around to make sure you get all affected areas. Keep the ice on 20 minutes, then off 20 minutes. Repeat as much as possible during the first day.

2. Cold Spoon

Similar to an ice pack, a spoon fresh out of the freezer can reduce blood flow to your hickey. You can also rub or massage the frozen spoon on the hickey area with gentle pressure to break up the blood. Once the spoon is no longer cold, return it to the freezer. Have a few spoons in the freezer so you can switch then out as they get warm.

3. Moist Heat

Once your burst blood vessels have healed, it’s time to get circulation going. If it’s been more than 48 hours, heating up the area can dilate blood vessels, increase blood flow, and help your body to reabsorb, disperse, and remove blood from the area. Place a warm water bottle, towel, or compress on the area for 10 to 20 minutes. The moisture will help the heat to sink beneath the skin. Just make sure it’s not too hot!

4. Massage the Area

After the first 48 hours, massaging your hickey can help to break up blood and promote circulation. Apply a moist heat for a few minutes to open your blood vessels. Then, using gentle pressure, massage in a circular motion starting from the center of the hickey outwards to the surrounding areas. Similar methods say to comb it out with a toothbrush, find toothed comb, coin, lipstick cap, or other objects… but no matter what you use, the concept is the same. Just make sure you don’t massage too hard or scratch the area, which would make it worse.

5. Toothpaste, Medicine, and Creams

Peppermint oil, mint oil, mint-based lotions, and mint toothpaste can help to increase blood circulation. Apply a layer to your hickey. It will begin to tingle, which means its working to stimulate circulation. Once the tingling has stopped, remove the toothpaste with a warm damp towel. This method works well, but should be used sparingly, because it could irritate your skin.

There are also a few medications and creams that can help get rid of a hickey:

  • Aspirin, Excedrin, or Caffeine All of these methods help to thin blood, dilate blood vessels, and increase circulation. If it’s been over 48 hours since you got the hickey, these methods can help to reduce the appearance of a hickey
  • Vitamin K Cream Used to treat bruises and prevent blood clots by helping your body reabsorb blood.
  • Vitamin E Often found in Aloe Vera, Vitamin E can help blood vessels heal within the first 24 – 48 hours.

6. Stage, Tattoo, or Scar Makeup

When you need you hickey to disappear fast and without a trace, professional makeup is your solution. Choose a thick, liquid concealer that is lighter than your skin tone. We recommend Dermablend Tattoo Concealer, or any concealer that is used to cover tattoos and scars.

To make sure the job is done right, before applying your concealer, cover the hickey with green corrector makeup. Hickeys are red, and since green is on the opposite side of the color wheel, using green corrector will immediately make it less visible. Then, use a make up brush to paint your concealer over the outline of your hickey. Make sure your concealer is slightly lighter than your skin tone to help lighten the appearance. Dab the area to spread the concealer around and blend it with your surrounding skin. Finish with a light layer of foundation that matches your skin tone, and check to make sure the area looks blended.

7. Clothing and Accessories

Sometimes, there’s not enough makeup in the world to cover a hickey. So, you’ve got to hide that bitch with anything you’ve got. Sweaters, turtle necks, scarves, hoodies… if you can put it over your neck, wear it. Avoid the gym for a few days, and prepare yourself for class, work, or anywhere you might be expected to take off your winter jacket. But, you can only pull this move off if it’s cold out, or maybe if it’s a chilly day. If it’s summer, you have to get creative. You could put on a bandaid and make up a story, like “I burnt myself with a curling iron”, “I got scratched by my cat”, or something that seems fitting… just hope they don’t ask to see the mark. You can also cover a hickey with your hair, though be careful not to reveal it when moving around. Finally, avoid wearing jewelry that draws attention to your neck, like necklaces and earrings. Opt for chunky bracelets and big rings, or an elaborate shirt that will move their eyes elsewhere.

Get Your Shit Together

You have at least a couple of days, or max two weeks, for this war wound to disappear. Take this time to chill out, and consider saving that steamy neck sucking for your next vacation. It’s one thing to wear your slut badge with pride, and another to be leading the parade. Ladies never kiss and tell, but hickeys speak for themselves. Unless you’re in high school (God bless you, you little slut), you’ve got to get your shit together, and fast. You have classes to attend, a job to look professional for, family to impress, and life to keep living. You’re a little too old to wake up playing the game, “Hickey or bruise?” It’s just not fun anymore. That fifteen minutes of pleasure (and I’m being generous) doesn’t feel so good when you’re hiding like a leper. It’s not sexy. You literally look like you’re covered in bruises. Violent mouth bruises. Hickeys might feel hot, but they are never appropriate in the real world, and could interfere with other aspects of your life, like your job.