Everyone has bruises from time to time, and people who do a lot of manual work or take part in contact sports such as martial arts or rugby are obviously more at risk than others. They occur when a blow damages the tiny blood vessels in the lower layers of the skin. This allows blood to seep out into the surrounding tissue where it can be seen as the familiar dark mark of a bruise.
For healthy people, the vast majority of bruises give no cause for concern. If left alone they will gradually fade away over two or three weeks as the body’s own defences repair the damage. But they can be painful in the early stages, and if they are on your face or another visible part of your body you might want to try to speed up the healing process.
Natural Healing for Bruises
The most effective home treatments are the simple ones that use natural ingredients.
Cool the skin: The first thing to do is to cool the skin. The sooner you do this after receiving a blow that might result in bruising, the better. Cooling reduces the blood supply to the area and so limits the amount of bleeding. A commercial ice pack used for sports injuries is ideal, or improvise one by putting ice cubes in a plastic bag and then wrap it in a clean cloth. Never put ice directly on the skin as it can cause a freeze burn. If ice is not available use a face cloth or towel rinsed in cold water.
Apply the cold compress for 10 to 15 minutes, remove for the same length of time, then repeat. This won’t always prevent a bruise forming, but it will minimize its spread.
Natural remedy to promote healing: After cooling, you can use a natural plant-based remedy to promote healing. A number of herbs including arnica, calendula, parsley, St John’s wort and comfrey are all useful for treating bruises. If you have the fresh herbs they can be crushed and applied directly to the skin, but it is probably easier to use a cream or gel containing extracts of the same herbs.
Shea Butter: One of the Best Natural Healers for Bruises
One of the best natural ingredients to use on bruises is Shea Butter. In the West, Shea Butter is mostly known as an excellent skin moisturiser, but in its native Africa it has also been valued for centuries for its soothing and healing properties. The creamy butter, extracted from the nut-like seeds of the Shea or Karite tree, contains a range of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents that aid healing and stimulate skin cell regeneration. Its light texture enables it to sink easily into tender skin without rubbing, and it is safe to use on all skin types including the most delicate or sensitive.
If a bruise does not fade in the normal way, or bruises appear for no apparent reason, you should consult a doctor in case they are symptoms of a medical condition. But for fast treatment of everyday bruises always keep some Shea Butter handy at home, in the workplace, or in your sports bag.