How Long Does It Take for a Hickey to Go Away?

How Long Does It Take for a Hickey to Go Away

Getting a hickey can be embarrassing and uncomfortable for many people. Whether it’s a spontaneous moment of passion or a playful act, the aftermath of a hickey often leaves individuals wondering how long it will take for it to disappear. In this article, we’ll delve into what exactly a hickey is, why it forms, and most importantly, how long it typically takes for a hickey to fade away.

Understanding the Hickey

Let’s start with the basics: what exactly is a hickey? Well, colloquially known as a “love bite” or a “kiss mark,” a hickey is a bruise that forms on the skin as a result of kissing or sucking on the skin forcefully enough to rupture blood vessels beneath the surface. When these blood vessels break, blood leaks out into the surrounding tissue, causing a reddish or purplish mark to appear on the skin.

Why Do Hickies Form?

Hickies are essentially bruises, and like any other bruise, they occur due to the rupture of blood vessels under the skin. When someone kisses or sucks on the skin with enough force, it creates a vacuum effect that breaks the tiny blood vessels called capillaries. The blood then leaks into the surrounding tissue, leading to the characteristic discoloration of a hickey.

How Long Does It Take for a Hickey to Go Away?

Now, let’s get to the heart of the matter: how long does it actually take for a hickey to go away? The answer isn’t straightforward and depends on several factors, including the severity of the hickey, individual healing capabilities, and how well it’s treated.

Typically, a hickey will start off as a reddish mark, indicating fresh blood pooling under the skin. Over the next few days, the hickey may darken to a deep purple or even black color as the blood begins to clot and break down. This is a natural part of the healing process and doesn’t necessarily mean anything is wrong.

In general, most hickies will begin to fade within a week to ten days as the body gradually reabsorbs the trapped blood and repairs the damaged blood vessels. However, some hickies may linger for longer, especially if they’re particularly large or if the individual has a slower healing process.

Factors That Influence Healing Time

Several factors can affect how quickly a hickey fades:


  • The severity of the hickey plays a significant role in how long it takes to heal. A small, light hickey may disappear within a few days, while a larger, darker one may take longer to fade.

Individual Healing Ability

  • Just like with any other injury, individual healing abilities vary from person to person. Some people may heal more quickly than others due to factors such as overall health, genetics, and lifestyle habits.


  • How the hickey is treated can also impact its healing time. Applying cold compresses to the area immediately after the hickey forms can help reduce swelling and minimize the appearance of the bruise. Additionally, gently massaging the hickey or applying topical creams containing vitamin K may help promote faster healing.


  • The location of the hickey can also influence how quickly it fades. Hickies on areas of the body with thicker skin, such as the arms or thighs, may heal more quickly than those on more sensitive areas like the neck or chest.

Repetitive Trauma

  • If the affected area is subjected to further trauma or pressure, such as rubbing or scratching, it can prolong the healing process and may even worsen the appearance of the hickey.

Tips for Speeding Up Healing

While there’s no surefire way to make a hickey disappear overnight, there are a few things you can do to help speed up the healing process:

Apply Cold

  • Immediately after getting a hickey, apply a cold compress or ice pack to the area for about 15 minutes at a time. This can help reduce swelling and minimize the appearance of the bruise.

Use Topical Treatment

  • Applying topical treatments containing ingredients like vitamin K, arnica, or aloe vera may help promote faster healing and reduce the appearance of the hickey.

Massage the Area

  • Gently massaging the hickey with your fingers or a soft-bristled brush can help break up the trapped blood and stimulate blood flow, aiding in the healing process.

Cover Up

  • If you’re feeling self-conscious about your hickey, you can always cover it up with makeup or clothing until it fades away naturally.

Give It Time

  • Ultimately, the best thing you can do is give your body time to heal. While it may be frustrating to wait for a hickey to disappear, most will fade on their own within a week to ten days.

When to See a Doctor?

In rare cases, a hickey may be a sign of more serious underlying issues, such as a blood clotting disorder or a blood vessel abnormality. If you experience extreme pain, swelling, or if the hickey doesn’t seem to be healing properly after a couple of weeks, it’s a good idea to see a doctor to rule out any underlying medical conditions.


While getting a hickey may be a source of embarrassment or discomfort for some, rest assured that it’s a common occurrence and usually nothing to worry about. With time and proper care, most hickies will fade away on their own within a week to ten days. In the meantime, you can take steps to speed up the healing process and minimize the appearance of the bruise. Remember, patience is key, and before you know it, your hickey will be nothing more than a distant memory.

Written by Amy Fischer

Amy, a registered dietitian at the Good Housekeeping Institute's Nutrition Lab, brings a wealth of expertise to nutrition, health content, and product testing. With a journalism degree from Miami University of Ohio and a master's in clinical nutrition from NYU, she's a versatile expert. Prior to joining Good Housekeeping, Amy worked as a cardiac transplant dietitian at a prominent NYC hospital and contributed to clinical nutrition textbooks. Her background also includes PR and marketing work with food startups.

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