Bruises happen when small blood vessels found under the skin tear or rupture, caused by a bump or fall. The blood will leak into the tissues found under the skin and will cause a black-and-blue color. Bruises or contusions heal within 2-4 weeks while their colors turn purplish black, reddish blue or yellowish green. A bruise on the leg takes longer to heal than a bruise on the face or arms.
Older people acquire bruises easily from minor injuries to the forearms, hands, legs and feet. This is due to the fact that their skin is less flexible and thinner due to reduced fat found under the skin.
After an injury, there is a collection of blood found under the skin which is also known as hematoma. It gives the skin a characteristic feeling like spongy, lumpy and rubbery.
A blood spot found under the skin can be purpura or petechiae. These are tiny, flat and red or purple spots found in the skin, but they are different from the tiny, flat red spots or birthmarks or haemangioma that are always there all the time.
Bruising or blood spots under the skin can be caused by the following:
- An infection that causes the buildup of toxins found in the blood or tissues or sepsis.
- Some medications such as aspirin or blood thinners as well as anticoagulants.
- Hemophilia or von Willebrand’s disease and thrombocytopenia which are considered as bleeding or clotting disorders.
Treatment and home remedies
- Rest and protect the affected areas
- Apply cold compress immediately in order to prevent or minimize the swelling for 10 to 20 minutes for three or more times a day. If you want to more about ice therapy, read here.
- After the injury, avoid doing activities that can cause an increase in swelling like taking a bath in hot showers, hot tubs, hot packs or alcoholic beverages.
- If the swelling is gone, apply hot compress and start doing gentle exercises to help restore the flexibility of the muscles or apply hot and cold compresses alternately.
- Wrap or compress the affected areas with an elastic bandage like an Ace wrap since this will help minimize the swelling. Do not wrap it too tightly though.
- While applying ice compress, elevate the affected area on a pillow anytime while sitting or lying down and keep the affected area at the level of the heart.
- Massage the affected area to minimize pain and for good circulation
- Take an over-the-counter pain medication like acetaminophen and ibuprofen.
- Apply natural products to the bruise like witch hazel since it can help heal veins that are damaged or arnica which is used to stimulate the healing.
Preventing bruises and blood spot under the skin
Avoid deficiency of Vitamins C, K, or B12 or folic acid since it can affect blood clotting. Avoid taking dietary supplements that can cause worsening of bruising, especially blood-thinning medications and foods such as fish oil, garlic, ginger, Vitamin E and gingko biloba.