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Not of all us were able to leave hickeys behind in high school. Some people possess skin that bruises like a peach and some people also just like getting them. Some of us also happen to fit squarely in the middle of both those categories.

Whether you love them or hate them, you will probably find yourself in a situation where you don’t want them on display, so how do you get rid of them?

First off, what is a hickey exactly? If you were to wiki it, you’d probably be giggling uncomfortably with their use of the word ‘suckle.’  These kiss marks are essentially bruises, caused by sucking or biting on the skin hard enough to burst the superficial blood vessels under the skin.  They can take a week or two to completely disappear, depending on the enthusiasm of the giver.  They aren’t easily covered with concealer when they first bloom, and absolutely no one believes you when you say you burnt your neck with a curling iron.

The Guinea Pig

Four hickeys were given to the right and left shoulder, under what were the mostly clinical circumstances that hickeys have ever been given, or alternatively, the giggliest lab experiment to date. Either way, one was kept as a baseline, while the three others were assigned  cures found on the internet.

The Remedies

1. Cold Method

Apply an ice cube wrapped in a towel to your neck for 5-20 minutes, ideally as soon as possible.

You’re probably familiar with icing a sports injury, or maybe even other recreational uses for ice. Whether it does anything or not, this method definitely feels the best. It is important to note that ice should never be placed on the skin uncovered, nor should it be left on for more than 20 minutes at a time.

Result:  

At the 24 hour mark, I reapplied ice for 15 minutes. As of the 48 hour mark the ice method did not appear to do much In terms of noticeability, although it did appear to mostly be red dots, without having any underlying blue bruising under it as with the baseline.

2. Toothpaste Method

Apply a thick layer of toothpaste, or other mint-based cream to the hickey and wipe off with a warm towel when the tingling stops

The claim is that the minty effect of the toothpaste will somehow soothe the skin. Why not use some sort of sports muscle cream then? We may never know.

Result:

I didn’t really feel any minty sensation on my skin when I put it on. At the 24 hour mark, there was literally no difference between the baseline and toothpaste hickeys. I reapplied,  using some of my roommate’s toothpaste which was far mintier and caused a bit of a tingle. At the 48 hour mark, it did look like a more uniform red mark rather than the bruised appearance of the baseline

3. Coin Method

Stretch the skin on either side of the hickey flat, then use the rough edge of a coin to ‘scrape’ the hickey outwards.

 Result:

Firstly, let me tell you that this is not a pleasant sensation.  Love bites rarely hurt the next day, but pressing on it with the edge of a coin and trying to push the bruise outward does not feel great. If it’s not uncomfortable, you’re probably not doing it right.

After 24 hours, this hickey had already faded to an even red mark, and after 48 hours has virtually disappeared.

And the winner is…

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It was clear from our testers that our winning method is the Quarter Method. After just 12 hours it was already having an effect, and didn’t require any reapplication.  Sure, it might require some deliberate wardrobe choices on the first day and a bit of concealer on the second, it definitely lends itself more quickly to a ‘mysterious and barely noticeable blemish’ category.

The Cold Method came a distant second, and may work in a pinch if you don’t happen to have a ridged coin kicking around. The repeated application started to mimic the spotty pattern that you see when first trying the coin method, so maybe it would catch up, however, it won’t help you in the first 3 days. It’d arguably be more useful to start introducing scarves into your wardrobe just to create plausible deniability.

Rather confusingly, the Toothpaste Method started to show some effect upon the second, stronger application. Perhaps with a pure mint oil would similarly diminish the appearance, but again its healing was much slower than the coin method.

As with many things, prevention is the best way to deal with hickey. If you don’t enjoy them, or have a very important job interview to go to, tell your partner not to give you them, move if you feel them start to build up a suction (everyone forgets sometimes) or keep your kisses under the collar.

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