Is there an increase in bruises on your body, making you black and blue mentally as well as physically?

Are you worried that the cause may be a sinister health problem? You’re wise to worry. Any time there are unexpected changes in your body, it’s important to figure out the reason. Fortunately, when it comes to bruising, the causes may be less scary than you fear, and relief may be easier than you imagined. Team Costhetics has important information about bruises, circulatory health, and how it affects skin beauty.

A Bruise by Any Other Name

Did you know that a bruise, depending on where (and how deep) it occurs on the body, has a distinct name:

  • Subcutaneous: Found just beneath the skin and the most common type of bruise
  • Intramuscular: Extremely painful and found within the muscles
  • Periosteal: Commonly known as a bone bruise, found deep within the body

This article focuses on subcutaneous bruises.

The Birth of the Bruise

Skin bruises occur when the small blood vessels near the surface of the skin are broken and blood leaks into the surrounding area: you bump your leg into the edge of the coffee table, bang your head on a cabinet, get an injection of a neurotoxin, drop a book on your foot. While some people will develop black and blue patches that fade to brown and yellow and green, others don’t. Why is that?

Maybelline Cosmetics’ unforgettable tag line, maybe she’s born with definitely applies to skin that bruises easily. How easily you bruise may be a function of your genetics and your gender. If other members of your family bruise easily, it is likely that a genetic component is a factor in your delicate skin. Additionally, studies show that women, in particular, are more likely to bruise than men.

Are there any other reasons that make you more likely to develop bruises? There are indeed. As you’ll see, some are nothing to be concerned about. Other bruises, however, alert you in vivid black-and-blue to potential health problems that you should not overlook.

Talk to Your Doctor about Anaemia

“Easy bruising sometimes indicates a serious underlying condition, such as anaemia or other blood-clotting problems or disease,” says the Mayo Clinic. Their website includes a useful list of symptoms to monitor and advice on when to see your doctor.

Do you dread going to the doctor? It’s a common phobia, but one you shouldn’t let keep you from getting the help you need. As far as easy bruising is concerned, a simple physical exam, a few questions, and a check of blood platelet levels, can give your doctor valuable insights into how to help you.

You’re Getting Older and Thinner

When Costhetics talks about getting thinner as we get older, we’re not talking about body weight. We’re talking about the natural thinning of the body’s collagen layer. Without collagen to provide a protective barrier, capillaries can be damaged more easily and form bruises. Until we learn how to turn back time (and Team Costhetics is definitely working on that), treatments that boost collagen production are a good fix for bruises. If you need some ideas for getting more collagen, check out these informative posts on the subject.

The Drugs You Take and the Bruises They Make

Prescription and OTC medications are often a double-edged sword. Useful for one problem, they may simultaneously cause others. Bruising is one such issue. Blood thinners are notorious for their negative impact on blood vessels. Thinners are designed to slow blood from clotting too quickly. Because of this, more blood escapes when a capillary is damaged and blood pools under the skin in a bruise. Other medications that affect circulation include:

  • Antibiotics
  • Antidepressants
  • Aspirin
  • Ibuprofen
  • Steroids

Do Supplements Cause Bruising?

Supplements, as you already know, are not all benign. These supplements have been linked to bruising related to blood thinning:

  • Fish oil
  • Garlic
  • Gingko biloba
  • Ginseng
  • Ginger

You may be confused by this list, as fish oil is a popular supplement for heart health. While it’s a good option for most people, fish oil’s ability to slow clotting makes it a possible contributor to bruising. This is particularly true when it’s taken in conjunction with blood thinning medication. If you have recently started a new medication or supplement and find yourself bruising at an alarming rate, you should consult your doctor.

How Dermatologists Treat Bruises

Most bruises heal fully and naturally in about 14 days. There are, however, ways to speed up the process. If you have a special event coming up and an unsightly bruise you don’t want immortalised in photos, a pulsed dye laser treatment can help. In this treatment, a concentrated beam of light is used to break up the blood’s protein molecules (haemoglobin), which are responsible for the dark colours.

Most people need two or more laser treatments. Unfortunately, the treatment cannot completely eradicate all signs of the bruise, but it will make it significantly less prominent. Another plus with lasers for bruises is that no down time is needed.

This painless approach to bruises is especially useful following facelifts, eyelid surgery, and cosmetic injectable treatments.

How to Get the Upper Hand on Bruises

No bruise can be made to disappear instantly. When you do get a bruise, however, you will find it takes less time to heal if you follow these tried-and-true tips:

  • Ice, please – There is no overstating the value of putting ice on a bruise. It will reduce blood flow to the area, making it more difficult for a bruise to develop. Important note: Never apply ice directly to your skin. Protect yourself from the drying effects of cold by wrapping the ice (or bag of frozen peas) in a dish towel.
  • Eat PineappleBromelain is an enzyme that occurs in yummy pineapples. This enzyme is prized for its anti-inflammatory properties. It has the ability to break down the proteins that keep blood and fluids trapped in the bruise area. If you don’t like the fruit, you can get bromelain in supplement form, or in kiwi fruit, asparagus, kimchi, and ginger.
  • Apply Pressure – A compression bandage should be applied to a bruise on the arm, leg, or torso. The bandage prevents escaped blood under the skin from spreading and helps contain the patch of discolouration.
  • Take Vitamin C – Bruises may indicate a lack of Vitamin C in your diet. If you’re not taking a multivitamin, you can start there. If multis are already part of your routine, try a Vitamin C supplement and amp up your consumption of citrus fruits, red peppers, and kale.
  • Apply Vitamin K Cream – Available over-the-counter or in a stronger form by prescription, Vitamin K improves the overall appearance of a bruise due to its effect on clotting and blood proteins.
  • Arnica Montana – AM is a homeopathic cream that users say is useful in helping bruises heal. It may also be taken in pill form prior to a cosmetic procedure to minimise post-treatment bruising. However, some researchers say, “As well as producing inconsistent results, many of the trials have methodological limitations that make the findings unreliable.”

The Expert Advice You Need is Here

There are serums that claim to contain ingredients to help reduce the risk of bruising, make bruises resolve more quickly, and improve the skin’s appearance. There are other remedies that promise to eradicate bruises within a week. There are also tinctures, creams and capsules, all promising to help. Costhetics advises proceeding with caution and considering whether your quest for conquering your bruises is a journey that wouldn’t be easier with a guide.

If your brain feels bruised trying to sort out the good, the bad, and the does-it-really-work of bruise treatments, don’t beat yourself up. (You’ll cause a bruise!)

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