Here's How Long Hickeys Actually Last

Hickeys are dark red or purple spots that appear on the skin as a result of intense suction (via WebMD). They are most commonly associated with intimate kissing. While they typically occur on the neck, you can get them anywhere. 

When your partner bites or sucks on your neck, it damages the capillaries, or small blood vessels under the skin (via Healthline). The capillaries leak blood, but since it has nowhere to go, it gets trapped under your skin — leading to a bruise.

Hickeys will clear up on their own in a week or two. Similar to any other bruise, the mark may change color from red or dark purple to yellow as it heals and the body absorbs the blood. Hickeys are usually harmless. However, you should call your doctor if it doesn't go away within a couple of weeks, the bruised area is very sore, you have a lump over the bruise, or there are bruises on other parts of your body — especially if you don't know where they came from. These may be signs of a blood clotting disorder or other medical condition.

How can I get rid of a hickey?

A hickey will heal on its own. There's not too much you can do to speed up the process or get rid of it all at once. To reduce swelling, apply an ice pack to the affected area for the first couple of days. Wrap a towel over the ice pack and hold it in place for 15 minutes. You can repeat this several times a day. After a day or two, switch to warm compresses or a heating pad. The heat stimulates blood flow and may speed up the healing process.

Avoid poking or rubbing a hickey while it is healing, as this may cause further damage to the blood vessels or irritate the skin. You can choose to cover a hickey with makeup, a scarf, a bandage, a turtleneck, or a collared shirt. The best way to avoid hickeys is to talk to your partner. If they spend too much time in one area, suggest moving to another spot. You may also want to ask your partner to be more gentle.