How does a hickey develop?


Put simply, a hickey is a normal bruise or bruise. In technical jargon, this is also known as a hematoma. However, a hickey differs in its cause and development from conventional bruises acquired through minor trauma. Intensive sucking or biting with the mouth or teeth while kissing can damage the small blood vessels, causing the blood to flow out of the vessels into the environment and coagulate.

Most of the time, intense lovemaking with a steady partner leads to the development of a hickey. The most common localization for this is the neck and chest. Nevertheless, a hickey can develop almost anywhere on the body.

How does a hickey develop?

If you consider the fact that a hickey is nothing more than a conventional bruise with a different history of origin, then the small blood vessels must inevitably be damaged with bleeding into the surrounding tissue. More precisely, sucking with the mouth creates a negative pressure which, if it exists for a somewhat longer period of time within a few seconds, can damage the small blood vessels or their barrier to the surrounding tissue. The amount of bleeding depends on the area of ​​damage, the suction strength and the ability of the blood to clot.

As soon as the blood leaves the small blood vessels and passes into the surrounding tissue, a stimulus occurs that causes it to clot. This leads to clumping and accumulation of blood, which can be seen as a bruise or hickey. Since the body needs some time to break down this clotted blood, the hickey can be observed for a few days.

In the case of a hickey, the mouth of one person is placed on a part of the body of another person without clothing. In principle, any part of the body that can be easily and safely reached with the mouth is suitable for this. One should make sure that the mouth closes securely with the skin and does not let air through. After that, only one aspect needs to be considered: sucking with your mouth until you see a hickey. The time it takes for a hickey to appear can still be very different and depend on several factors. On the one hand, if you suck harder, you will get a hickey faster. On the other hand, the choice of skin site has a high impact on the time it takes to suckle before a hickey appears. This is due to the fact that in areas where the skin is particularly thin, the small blood vessels are closer to the surface and can be damaged more quickly by sucking. The neck is therefore particularly suitable for the development of a hickey. However, the chest or the inside of the thigh can also be considered. The stomach, for example, is often less suitable. The influence of experience should also not be neglected in the development of a hickey.

Otherwise, a "hickey" can also be produced by, for example, a vacuum cleaner by placing the tube on a part of the body and starting the vacuum cleaner.

However, since a hickey is usually a sign of an intimate relationship between two people, it usually arises in a stable partnership and as a proof of love or through ignorance at a young age.

You can also find more information at Hematoma.


While the time it takes for a hickey to appear can sometimes be very short and take a few seconds, the time it takes for a hickey to completely disappear is sometimes very long and can take up to two weeks.

When a hickey develops, several factors have a decisive influence on the duration. The thickness of the skin, the suction strength or the experience should be mentioned here. In general, however, no more than ten seconds are required.

However, the time during which a hickey remains is comparatively long and comparable to the duration of a normal bruise.

The body has to use various enzymes to break down and reabsorb the clotted blood or blood cells and the blood pigment, hemoglobin. The different stages of degradation can be observed from the discoloration of the hickey. It generally takes one to two weeks for the hickey to disappear completely. A few tips can reduce the time by a few days.

How can you get rid of a hickey?

Once there is a hickey, there is no effective method of getting it off well and reliably in a short period of time. The only option is to wait until the body has completely broken down the blood and hemoglobin on its own. The time it takes for the hickey to disappear can sometimes be up to a week.

Until then, however, there are a few tips that can be followed. Depending on the location of the hickey, it can simply be covered with clothing. For example, a scarf on the neck is ideal. Long-sleeved clothing on the upper body can be useful. In addition, by applying make-up, the hickey can be made invisible for at least some time.

Within one to two days after the hickey appeared, cooling with the help of ice cubes or the like can reduce the time until the hickey disappear by a few days. After the second day at the latest, moderate warmth in the form of a warming pillow can also be helpful.

In some cases, moisturizing lotion is said to have a positive effect on the disappearance of a hickey.

Also read our article: The bruise does not go away - what to do?

How can I make a hickey myself?

In principle, a hickey can be made very easily yourself. All that needs to be done is to damage the small vessels, as with a hickey made by another person, causing bleeding again to take place.

The most obvious thing, of course, is to create a hickey yourself with your mouth by putting your lips together and sucking with your mouth. The best and most authentic result is achieved. However, the disadvantage here is that you cannot get to every part of the body, especially the popular neck, and thus these areas logically have to be excluded from a homemade hickey.

However, any electrical device that can generate a negative pressure is also well suited for creating your own hickey. The vacuum cleaner with the suction tube is of course popular. You can put this on any point on the skin, switch it on and then wait for a hickey to develop. You can also quickly and easily inspect your work by lifting the pipe. However, you should make sure that the suction power of the vacuum cleaner is not set too high, as this can otherwise lead to skin injuries. In addition, any other method that causes damage to the small vessels can be used to imitate a hickey.

For example, you can make a bruise and thus a fake hickey yourself by lightly hitting a part of the body. However, this is not safe and painful, which is why it is not recommended.

When is a hickey dangerous?

It is usually safe to have a hickey. The suction only causes a relatively superficial hemorrhage, which is broken down within days to a few weeks and leaves no residue. Only a previously existing blood coagulation defect poses a risk, provided that this means a higher risk of coagulation.

A few cases have been described in which a hickey caused a thrombosis, which in turn caused a stroke. Damage to the skin can also cause scarring.

Can a hickey be carcinogenic?

A hickey can't be carcinogenic. The negative pressure when sucking only causes damage to the small vessels, which produces an externally visible hemorrhage, but which can be completely absorbed by the body without any problems, so that there are no further risks for possible cancer.

How do you treat a hickey?

Since a hickey is like a small bruise, there is no effective and reliable treatment to get rid of it quickly. The only method is to wait until the body has completely broken down the blood and hemoglobin on its own. The time it takes for the hickey to disappear varies in some cases up to a week.

If you don't want to wait that long, you can try some treatment options to shorten this time. In the first one or two days after the hickey has appeared, placing a cool object such as an ice cube on it can reduce the time it takes for the hickey to disappear by a few days.

If the second day after the hickey appeared, moderate warmth in the form of a warming pillow can also be helpful. A treatment by massage with alcohol for a few minutes should also cause the hickey to disappear more quickly.

In some cases, moisturizing lotion is also said to have a positive effect on the disappearance of a hickey.

However, if you try to remove the hickey more quickly by scratching, a negative effect can usually be observed. This is because only the surface of the skin is injured and the clotted blood in the deeper layers is not broken down more quickly by the body.

Please also read our article on this How do you treat a bruise?