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Love bites

-Arati Gurung

'Is that what it is? Is that? Oh. It is. Is it? It is. A hickey!' The statement then leads to various thoughts and images of the person with the hickey and his partner entangled in different angles. You can't help it, it's natural. That’s what people generally think of when a person with a hickey passes by.

What's a hickey? Hickey is a discoloration of the skin, a bruise actually, caused by prolonged suction of the mouth against the skin. Giving a hickey is pretty easy, but removing one is not.

Some people will be embarrassed when they are spotted with a hickey while some flaunt it as if it were a medal (sheesh!).

Yes, it seemed a good idea when he or she was doing it, but (for many) when in front of families and friends, suddenly the hickey is a point of embarrassment and one wishes the earth would swallow him right into the core.

Or maybe you are about to attend an important meeting or interview. Worse, attending your girls' family wedding party! You're now going up and down to remove the hickey from your neck - so what are you going to do? Oh how you wished it never happened.
Well fear not, your friend's collected some of the best tried tips (not by me, but by some friends who've volunteered for the cause), that will help you remove the hickey within an hour.

1.    Apply an icepack to the hickey. The sooner you do it, the better. You can wrap some ice in a towel or use a pre-frozen ice pack. Never apply ice directly to a hickey. A frozen spoon works well too. Gently hold the cold compress to the skin for several minutes (up to 20 minutes, if it doesn’t feel too uncomfortable), remove the compress for several minutes, and then apply it again.

2.    Then there's the toothbrush or comb method. Many people swear by it, but it’s important to remember that a hickey is a bruise, and most bruises just take time to disappear, so don’t expect a miracle.

    • Lightly brush the hickey and the area around it with a stiff-bristled toothbrush or a comb. Doing this breaks up the blood clot and gets circulation going again.
    • Wait about 15 minutes. The redness and swelling will spread, but will be less obvious after about 15 minutes.
    • Apply a cold compress, as explained above.
    • Repeat if necessary. Depending on the magnitude of your hickey this method may work, or it may just spread the discoloration a bit (it can make it worse if you press too hard.)

3.    Conceal the hickey with makeup. The most effective makeup will be the green-tinted concealer, as it is designed to negate red skin tones. Apply a foundation that’s a little lighter than your skin tone. Apply it directly on the hickey and all around it so it doesn’t look obvious that you’re trying to conceal something. You can try an eye-shadow that’s lighter than your skin tone if you don’t have a concealer.

4.    Cover the hickey with something. Wear a turtleneck, a collared shirt or blouse, or a scarf (appropriate for the weather of course), around your neck. If you have long hair, style it so that it hangs down over the hickey. Frequently check the positioning of your shirt or your hair to make sure the hickey is still covered.

5.    Use a coin. This method is probably the most painful, but has proven very effective. First, stretch the skin flat (pulling away from the hickey on two opposite sides works well for this). Then, use the edge of a large coin to scrape the skin. Use the coin as if the red area of the skin was butter on toast that needed to be spread outward. The only difference is that you must press quite hard (do it as hard as you can, but not so hard that you break the skin or cause bleeding). What this does is push the excess blood, which has escaped from the capillaries, out of the surface skin. There will be redness from the scraping of the coin, but that will go away much faster than the hickey. And in any case, a scrape is much less conspicuous than a hickey.

6.    Put a spoon in the freezer for a few minutes. Apply pressure and slide the spoon along the hickey. The pressure and coldness help disperse the blood that has formed. You will need to repeat freezing, if the spoon starts getting warm it does not work. You will also need to use quite a bit of pressure with the spoon but you will see results over a few minutes of doing this.

7.    In the future, try to remember not to get or give hickeys where they can be easily seen.

8.    Hickeys will usually fade naturally in a couple of days to a week. There’s no sure way to get rid of one other than waiting, so be patient, and try to minimize and hide the appearance of the hickey as much as you can in the meantime.

9.    If someone notices your hickey, play it off. The excuse of the "curling iron burn" is a common one, but it doesn't work because a burn and a bruise look nothing alike. Try a different excuse, one that would cause a bruise. Explain that you got hit with a ping-pong ball or some other projectile. People probably won’t believe you, but at least it’s plausible. 

Be careful though, 

Applying too much pressure to the hickey will cause the blood to go away but can leave a lasting bruise. These bruises often have a greenish cast and are more humiliating than hickeys.

If someone suggests a hickey "cure" that sounds dangerous or stupid, don't try it. Use common sense; a hickey really isn't a big deal.

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