You go home with a guy after a night out and things start heating up fast. In the heat of the moment, he sucks on your neck a little too hard and you're left with a souvenir. Shit! But don't worry. A hickey, though unsightly and a little embarrassing, is simply a bruise and nothing to worry about long-term. And if taken care of correctly—and in a timely manner—using the below tips from Dr. Doris Day, your vampire bite will be gone in no time.
1. Use the back of a cold spoon to reduce swelling.
Place a spoon in your refrigerator for eight to 10 minutes before lightly stroking it over the hickey. This technique is most effective while the hickey is brand new. "The cold will help minimize the blood seeping out of the vessels into the skin," Dr. Day says. Doing this a few times throughout the day will immediately help with the swelling.
2. Apply aloe vera to speed up the healing process.
Aloe vera is a natural moisturizer known for its rejuvenating and healing properties. Apply aloe vera herbal cream or gel onto your hickey twice a day and let it sit for at least 10 minutes before wiping it off. This will soothe the area, which can reduce any initial pain and lead your skin to a speedy recovery.
3. Use the inside of a banana peel.
This sounds ridiculous, but it actually does help. Here's how: The inside of a banana peel acts as a cooling treatment that can help shrink the hickey. All you have to do is remove the peel from a ripe banana and place the inside of the peel onto your hickey for about 10 to 30 minutes. Repeat this up to two or three times a day.
4. Apply warm compress for new blood to circulate.
If you still have a hickey after three to four days, it's helpful to bring heat into the equation to allow new blood to circulate throughout the area. This circulation will break up the old blood that has made your hickey visible by bringing fresh blood to the area. Simply wet a washcloth with warm water before placing it on the bruised area for about five minutes. Reheat the cloth if it cools too quickly.
5. Eat foods that are high in Vitamin K.
Vitamin K, which is found in foods like broccoli, kale, spinach, and brown rice, helps the body absorb clots of pooled blood, including those causing your hickey. Down a salad or other meal packed with those foods to make sure you get enough. You want to aim for at least a cup, or 4 to 5 ounces.
6. Use the bristles of a toothbrush to stimulate blood circulation.
Using a toothbrush with super-soft bristles helps with the stimulation of blood circulation on and around the hickey. Make sure to brush over your hickey using a little pressure, working the bristles in different directions so the clotted blood has room to spread. Repeat this process for five to 10 minutes. Note: The outcome of this method varies depending on how dark the hickey is.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.