For some people bruising occurs only after injury, for others bruising seems to be a part of daily life. In either case bruising is a natural body function that leaves us with unsightly and tender marks.
Why do we bruise?
Bruising occurs when small amount of blood leak out from blood vessels and become visible through the layers of skin. The dark color is due to the blue / purple color of the blood. This stagnant blood needs to be broken up and removed from the system like a waste product, which takes the body a few days. As the body is processing out the stagnant blood, the bruise will change colors – yellow, green, brown…and so on.
Those pesky dark under eye circles are a bit different but carry some of the same characteristics of a bruise (like stagnant blood). Read more about under eye darkness here.
How to help prevent bruising:
Take a look in your medicine cabinet. Many medications, even over the counters, can thin the blood and make bruising easier. Some common blood thinning medications include prescriptions for blood clots, steroids like cortisone, and anti-inflammatories like Advil. Less known are the natural blood thinners like fish oil and certain Omega supplements. These supplements are less likely to cause major bruising and the positive health benefits outweigh the risk for bruising. To be on the safe side, it is usually recommended to limit these oils right before surgery or injections like Botox, Juvederm and certain shots.
BIEN TIP: be sure to pick them back up immediately following surgery or injections to aid in recovery and healing.
How to minimize and heal a bruise:
Immediately following any injury minor or major, apply ice. Ice will help to reduce bruising, but is most likely to help if done promptly. Once the bruise shows up, use some of the following ingredients to help the body break up and process out the leaked blood:
Bromelain – This enzyme from pineapple is used in many skin exfoliation products because it can help with digestion of dead skin cells and the cellular glue that holds them to the very surface of the skin. To help with bruising, eat lots of fresh, raw pineapple. Having the bromelain in your system will aid in the “digestion” of the stagnant blood.
BIEN TIP: canned pineapple won’t work – for best results, use organic or locally grown whole pineapple and cut it yourself right before eating.
Vitamin K – While not as popular as some of the other vitamins in skin care, vitamin K is getting more attention for its ability to minimize dark circles and bruising. Used internally, Vitamin K helps to coagulate the blood as well.
Arnica – This plant extract is used by acupuncturists and massage therapists topically and internally to aid in calming inflammation and bruising. Many doctors even recommend taking arnica tablets daily before and after surgery.
Vitamin C – Added to the diet, Vitamin C has the ability to reduce inflammation and neutralize free radicals. It can also aid in healthy circulation, making it helpful for healing a bruise.
Want more information on the black and blues?