What Is a Hickey and How Can You Acquire, Give, or Discard It?

Have you ever discovered an angry, purple mark on your neck after an especially intense makeout session? No doubt we all have, leaving us to wonder: “What exactly is a hickey, anyway? How long does it last and how can I remove it?” Or perhaps more pressing is learning how to give someone else their own hickey in return?

Truth be told, hickeys aren’t necessarily big deals. No one should shame someone for having one – as with other forms of sexual behavior, no justification is required when someone makes out with your neck – yet something about hickeys takes something private and makes it public, creating an unexpected but lasting effect. Nothing quite feels right in that moment but having it display on your neck for days afterwards can feel surreal; suddenly your private life has become public! Pride, euphoria, anxiety and acceptance: these are all hallmarks of what hickey stages one encounters along their journey!

After math class, you could find yourself sitting across from your father at dinner who, upon seeing any damage to your neck, inquires in earnest: “Did you fall?” (This statement comes from personal experience).

No matter if your goal is to avoid them altogether or give the best ones possible, we have all of the information below regarding hickeys that is required of you.

What Are Hickeys Anyway?

1. A hickey is simply a small bruise on the body.

Hickeys are broken blood vessels caused by sucking, which leads to bruises. While biting or hard kissing could contribute, sucking tends to be the more likely offenders, since its impact can rupture skin capillaries more effectively. Achieve a hickey in just 20-30 seconds of targeted sucking may do the trick and may show up quickly – you might even come out from makeout sessions only five or ten minutes later with visible evidence of it! Hickeys often form on sensitive areas like neck, shoulders or chest; though technically any part of skin can become vulnerable.

2. Most hickeys appear similar.

What exactly does a hickey look like, you ask? Upon getting one, the blood under your skin usually appears as dark red at first; once dried out it turns to darker purple or brown to form those familiar marks we all love (or hate!). Over time it may take on yellow hues typical of bruises as healing progresses (we’ll discuss that more below.).

Regarding size, most hickeys tend to be mouth-sized and shaped. That means they tend to be oval in shape and not particularly large compared to some larger models. You might get multiple hickeys at once which could give the appearance of having one large one on the neck as your love bites may cluster together.

3. Do Hickeys Hurt?

Achieved without much discomfort, the sensation is more like pressure than pain; however, due to individual differences in tolerance for pain levels some individuals may find this experience unpleasant. When trying it for the first time it might be wise to create an agreement between you and your partner regarding a safe word that allows both parties to communicate should anyone stop enjoying their makeout session.

4. They can last as long as two weeks.

There has been limited research done on hickeys, but general consensus suggests they rarely last more than two weeks and often clear up within days or even hours. How long they remain depends upon both the intensity of suction involved (read: harshness level of the mark) and health factors of those affected; in essence, more intense suction equals longer lasting marks while healthier people (think well-hydrated with adequate circulation and iron) mean shorter-lived ones.

5. How long do hickeys take to arrive?

Hickey marks can appear within minutes after inflicting physical harm; five to ten minutes is usually enough time for light bruising to appear on the skin, depending on how long or hard someone sucks at their skin; twenty-30 seconds usually suffices, although longer and harder sucking may result in darker, more intense bruises.

6. They can affect people of any age.

The neck, shoulders, and chest are extremely sensitive areas to touch – being kissed here feels absolutely amazing! When newer to kissing or still honing how to give The Perfect Neck Kiss(tm), newcomers may be more aggressive with their lips; thus hickeys often show up more among younger or inexperienced kissers. With practice and the appropriate partners however, your kissing should gradually transition away from this form. Though if you love necking you might still experience occasional love bites from time to time regardless of age!

7. Are certain individuals more susceptible to experiencing hickeys?

Actually, yes. When someone’s body lacks iron (also referred to as an iron deficiency), they will bruise more easily and less suction will be required to leave a mark. Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on who you ask), this also means it will show up darker and longer lasting marks; similar effects occur for those with thin or sensitive skin, where blood vessels often reside closer to the top surface and react faster when exposed to irritation.

8. Where can hickeys be placed?

Technically speaking, yes. But as stated before, hickeys typically appear where skin is thinner; giving someone a hickey on, for instance, their forearm or quad would likely prove harder than invading someone’s neck or inner part of an elbow.

9. Hickeys shouldn’t be taken too seriously.

Overall, if your hickey was given to you consentually and is now showing signs of bruised, don’t stress about it too much! Even if someone requested one from you (see more below), as long as both parties remain committed to keeping the situation as respectful as possible, everything should go smoothly.

How to Give Someone a Hickey

As it turns out, giving someone a hickey can be easy. After asking your partner whether or not they’d be comfortable with receiving an indelible souvenir mark – particularly visible one – warm their neck or intended site of the hickey with long kisses before placing lips against their skin and making an “O” shape with your mouth to create some sort of vacuum effect; draw in breath, suck slowly and continue suctioning for 20-30 seconds without stopping (tooths don’t need be involved) before stopping and suctioning will likely produce visible results within minutes – hopefully!

Are You Wanting a Hickey in an Inconspicuous Location? As previously discussed, thinner sections of skin make an ideal target for hickeys; not just on your neck alone. Other potential locations could include collarbone area, inner thigh region, stomach or even the crook of an elbow; for those with longer hair it may even involve less cover-up work compared to front of neck areas.

Sometimes giving a hickey is known as “marking”, a term commonly used within various BDSM and kink communities. Be mindful of it as you consider “marking” someone you care for; don’t be put off by its discussion – just focus on your goals of giving or receiving hickeys, the idea of possession comes into play, how that makes all parties involved feel? Things such as this become much more enjoyable when both partners are equally engaged and invested; take note of any elements which make you anxious or nervousness or fear so as you progress slowly – having an agreed upon safe word so things don’t escalate out of control can make for great success!

How to Eliminate Hickey Fast

Just to let you know: it is impossible to completely get rid of hickeys; there is no permanent cure. However, if time is of the essence — particularly with something special like picture day or a major presentation coming up — there are steps you can take to accelerate its removal and speed up healing processes. Below you will find tips for what can help heal them quickly as well as ways you can cover up existing hickeys.

1. Add aloe vera and vitamins E and C for optimal skin.

Once you get a hickey, immediately begin applying lotion with aloe vera and vitamin E to help heal broken capillaries faster, as well as anti-inflammatory aloe vera for swelling relief. Creams containing Vitamin C may also speed up healing time but be sure to have realistic expectations – no topical solution will heal an immediate hickey, but can aid with overall healing process.

2. Employ a cold compress.

Start off by placing an ice pack (wrapped in paper towel) directly on your hickey on day one, using frozen peas or cold spoons from your freezer as cold compresses (freezer spoons are an age-old hack for undereye circles!) No matter which cold compress you choose as your cold compress, place it directly onto your hickey before slowly moving it around neighboring skin for about 10 minutes before giving the area some relief by giving a short break before repeating this routine throughout your day in order to slow blood flow while breaking up coagulated blood supply sources while moving your cold compress will help break up coagulated blood supply sources as well.

3. Switch over to using a warm compress.

If your hickey has been present for two days or longer, warm compresses may help heal it faster. Applying heat causes blood flow to increase and can actually aid in its recovery – although before 48 hours is best avoided as doing this early could make the hickey worse! A towel soaked with hot (but not scorchingly hot!) water works wonders as a compress; you could also try using a hot water bottle or heating pad during this period!

4. Stay away from touching the hickey.

While heat or ice applications may help soothe an existing hickey, other than that it is best to leave it alone. Never scrape, over massage, prod or poke at it as this will only further irritate it further and potentially increase its lifetime, potentially even leading to permanent scarring of the spot.

5. Apply peppermint oil.

Peppermint oil can help stimulate blood flow to your hickey area. For best results, mix two or three drops of diluted essential oil with carrier oils like coconut or olive oil before applying to skin patch testing your forearm (this method allows you to identify whether the oil irritates your skin). Or ask your partner to help apply massively the oil at the area in focus!

6. Try Arnica Extracts.

Arnica is part of the sunflower family, and topical and oral extractions from this herbaceous plant can speed up healing times when applied topically or orally for bruises. These treatments can easily be found at pharmacies.

7. When all else fails, cover it up.

Turtlenecks should never be treated as the last resort when it comes to concealing hickeys; in fact, they’re an attractive fashion statement as well as being effective ways of hiding them (if your incident occurred in warmer months, then there are always sleeveless turtlenecks available!).

Your best bet for concealing a hickey is to apply a concealer that matches or lightens the tone of your skin, and has color-correcting capabilities. Since the specific hue you need to correct will depend on its healing stage, try swapping out concealers as necessary; purple/red hued bruises require green-tinted concealers; black/blue ones call for red/orange toned ones; for final stage green/yellow hued ones use one with purple undertones before dusting this area with some translucent powder to make sure the concealer sticks properly. Dust your area to help it adhere to any potential issues with sticking your concealer sticking properly to its surface – otherwise its surface won’t stay put!

Although we understand the urgency to remove hickeys quickly, please keep this in mind: even if it cannot completely cover up its offending bruise, that’s okay! Hickeys that were consensually obtained and given shouldn’t cause embarrassment; instead they can even serve as reminders of an enjoyable moment that occurred – after all, we need some fun memories in life!

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