Most bruises occur as a result of your coming in contact with another object or person. As a result of the initial collision, you break blood vessels, which leak blood into areas under your skin, causing swelling, discoloration and soreness.
Bruises are most common in older people whose skin is thinning with aging. This is due to the fact that collagen, the connective tissue that cushions skin, breaks down, leaving underlying blood vessels more vulnerable. People who take medications for diseases, including blood thinners like aspirin, also have an increased risk of bruising.
A normal bruise should heal on its own within a few days to a couple of weeks. As a general rule, bruises tend to heal more slowly as you go down the body. In other words, a bruise to the arm heals more quickly hen one to the leg. Bruises on the legs are often the worst, because there is more blood pressure in leg vessels, so they bleed more than blood vessels in the arms
The next time you bruise yourself, you take these measures to help minimize pain and ugliness.
First, if you apply ice right after you bruise your skin, you can limit the size and severity of a bruise and relieve pain. The cold clamps blood vessels shut so that less blood escapes.
Second, wrap the area. Put an elastic bandage around the bruised area immediately (especially if it’s on your leg) to apply mild pressure to broken blood vessels. This support might prevent vessels from leaking , minimizing the severity of he bruise.
Third, after 24 hours, when the bruise has fully developed, it’s safe to apply heat. At that point heat actually helps open up the surrounding blood vessels so that they can sweep away fluids and blood cells much more quickly.
Finally, diminish the bruise with vitamin K. Look for a brand-name bruise-diminishing cream containing vitamin K. The cream penetrates your skin and provides vitamin K at the bruise site, which your body needs to break down blood and resorb it.
You can also help prevent bruising by boosting your intake of vitamin C. Bruises occur more frequently in people who don’t get enough vitamin C.