Hickeys, or love bites as some might call them, are often symbols of passion and love, or perhaps a memorable night. But what if you’re curious about the art behind it and wondering “how to give yourself a hickey”? Dive in as we unravel this intriguing topic, combining both art and science.
The Science Behind a Hickey
A hickey, colloquially known as a love bite or kiss mark, is fundamentally a form of contusion or bruise. When sufficient suction or pressure is applied to the skin, it can cause the tiny blood vessels underneath, known as capillaries, to rupture. This leads to the release of blood into the surrounding tissue.
This pooled blood, having nowhere to go, gets trapped under the skin’s surface, giving the characteristic purple or reddish appearance of a hickey. Its specific color can range depending on various factors: the amount of blood, the depth of the bruise, and the individual’s skin tone and thickness.
With time, the body goes to work. The hemoglobin, which gives blood its red color, starts to break down into other molecules, causing the hickey’s color to change as it heals. This transformation might cause the hickey to shift from red or purple to blue, green, or yellowish hues before it eventually fades away. This process is similar to the color changes we observe in other bruises as they heal.
The duration a hickey lasts can vary based on a few factors:
Skin Sensitivity: Some people naturally bruise more easily than others.
Location of the Hickey: Areas with softer skin tend to develop more noticeable hickeys.
Depth of the Bruise: A more profound rupture of capillaries will result in a darker and longer-lasting hickey.
In essence, the science behind a hickey is an interplay of physiology, the circulatory system, and the body’s natural healing mechanisms.
How to Give Yourself a Hickey: 6 Methods
Giving oneself a hickey can be seen as an exploration of personal boundaries, understanding our skin’s reactions, or simply a form of self-expression. Whatever the reason, if you’re venturing into this territory, it’s essential to be well-informed and cautious. Here’s an enriched guide on each method:
1. Using Your Fingers
Our hands are the most immediate tools at our disposal. If you’re curious about how the skin reacts to suction but don’t want an intense mark, this method can be a good starting point:
Procedure: Pinch a portion of your skin lightly, preferably on your forearm or the inner side of your wrist, between your thumb and another finger.
Technique: Create a twisting motion to pull the skin outward, simulating a mild suction effect. The skin’s reaction to this can be immediate or might take a few seconds.
Outcome: This might result in a faint mark, making it ideal for those who want to try the experience without a pronounced hickey.
2. Utilizing Household Objects
Common items can be surprisingly effective in creating a hickey-like mark. However, be sure to choose items that won’t cause harm or injury:
a. Bottle Caps
A surprising yet popular tool. The rigid edge of the bottle cap can create a seal on the skin.
Procedure: Press the open side of a small bottle cap onto your skin, then gently but firmly twist.
Technique: The twisting creates a vacuum effect, drawing blood to the surface.
Outcome: This often results in a more circular and defined mark resembling a typical hickey.
b. Vacuum Nozzles
The suction capability of vacuums can be harnessed, but extreme caution is needed.
Procedure: Ensure the nozzle is thoroughly cleaned. Place it against an area of your skin and turn the vacuum on for a short duration on a low setting.
Technique: The vacuum creates a potent suction effect. Be very cautious of the time, as prolonged suction can cause intense bruising.
Outcome: A pronounced hickey, often darker and more extensive than other methods.
An everyday kitchen utensil, the spoon offers a milder method for those looking for subtlety.
Procedure: Chill a spoon in the freezer for about 15 minutes. Once cold, press the rounded side of the spoon firmly onto your skin and twist gently.
Technique: The cold helps to draw blood to the surface, while the firm edge of the spoon mimics the suction effect.
Outcome: A milder hickey with less risk of intense bruising, making it ideal for first-timers or those seeking a less noticeable mark.
d. Toothbrush or Comb
For a controlled and varied effect.
Procedure: Use a toothbrush or comb to brush against the skin with varying degrees of pressure.
Technique: The bristles or teeth stimulate blood flow to the skin surface.
Outcome: A hickey that can range from faint to pronounced based on pressure and duration.
e. Lip Balm Container
A method offering controlled size.
Procedure: Open the lip balm container and use its circular base. Press the base onto the skin and twist.
Technique: The base creates a vacuum effect similar to the bottle cap method.
Outcome: A small, circular hickey, perfect for those desiring a specific size.
3. Duration and Pressure Control
Both the depth of color and the size of the hickey can be adjusted through these two factors:
Procedure: Start with mild pressure and a short duration to understand how your skin reacts.
Technique: Gradually increase both factors, regularly checking the skin’s response. Some areas of the body may bruise more quickly than others, so adjust accordingly.
Outcome: A hickey that matches your desired intensity and size.
4. Safety Precautions
Above all, safety should be paramount:
Mindfulness: Always be aware of how your body feels during the process. If there’s pain or discomfort, stop immediately.
Hygiene: Ensure all items used are sterilized or cleaned to avoid skin complications.
Limitations: Be conscious of the skin’s limits to avoid deep tissue damage or prolonged bruising.
Approaching the act of giving oneself a hickey with respect and caution ensures a safer experience and better understanding of our body’s fascinating reactions.
5 Reasons to Reconsider
While giving oneself a hickey might be driven by curiosity, personal exploration, or self-expression, it’s essential to approach the endeavor with full awareness. Here are some pivotal considerations:
1. Skin Health Risks
A hickey is essentially a bruise. Overzealous attempts can lead to deep bruises that take time to heal. Using objects that aren’t cleaned can also introduce bacteria, leading to potential skin infections. Moreover, continuous pressure or repetitive marking can result in long-term skin damage or scarring.
2. Perception by Others
While it’s crucial to live authentically and not solely by others’ opinions, it’s also essential to be aware of societal perceptions. Displaying hickeys, especially in professional or formal settings, can lead to misinterpretations or judgments. They might be viewed as unprofessional or indicative of personal matters better kept private.
3. Emotional Implications
Self-inflicting a mark typically associated with intimate moments might bring unexpected feelings to the fore. For some, it could trigger feelings of loneliness or a yearning for genuine connections. For others, it might serve as a reminder of past relationships or experiences.
4. Underlying Motivations
Before acting, consider the root cause of the desire. Is it a harmless curiosity, a form of self-expression, or is there a deeper, perhaps unresolved, emotional drive behind the urge? Understanding one’s motivations can offer clarity and potentially highlight areas of one’s life that might benefit from reflection or counseling.
5. Alternative Expressions
There are myriad ways to explore self-expression, understand the body, or satisfy curiosity. Whether it’s through art, body modifications like tattoos or piercings, or even taking up new hobbies, it might be worthwhile to explore other avenues that pose fewer risks and offer more lasting satisfaction.
Taking a moment to reflect on these reasons can provide a holistic view, ensuring that one’s actions align with genuine desires and well-being.
Caring for a Hickey and Speeding Up Healing
Managing and speeding up the healing of a hickey is easier than you might think. Here’s a succinct guide:
- Cold Compress: During the first 24 hours, apply a wrapped ice cube or cold spoon to the hickey for about 15 minutes, repeating several times throughout the day. The cold can minimize the initial appearance by constricting blood vessels.
- Warm Compress: Post the initial 48 hours, use a warm cloth on the area for 10-15 minutes multiple times a day. This can help in dispersing the clotted blood, aiding in faster healing.
- Aloe Vera: Leverage the natural healing prowess of aloe vera by applying its gel or cream to the hickey twice daily. Its anti-inflammatory properties can reduce skin sensitivity.
- Peppermint Oil: This oil can boost blood circulation, helping to fade the hickey faster. Gently apply a few diluted drops onto the hickey once daily.
- Vitamin K: Using a vitamin K-enriched cream twice a day can help repair broken blood vessels. Consuming vitamin K-rich foods can also be beneficial.
- Arnica Gel: Apply arnica gel or cream to the hickey as per its instructions; its anti-inflammatory qualities can diminish swelling and the bruise’s intensity.
- Pineapple and Papaya: Both fruits have enzymes beneficial for breaking down blood clots. You can apply their blended pulp to the hickey for 10-15 minutes before washing.
- Avoid Aggravation: It’s best to leave the hickey undisturbed; avoid poking or spreading it further.
Each remedy’s effectiveness varies per individual, so always test topical applications for allergies, and remember that most hickeys naturally fade within a week or two.
Curiosity and self-expression manifest in various ways, from the clothes we wear to the marks we bear. “How to give yourself a hickey” is not just about the act, but understanding the motivations and emotions behind it. As with any form of self-expression, it’s essential to approach it with self-awareness, ensuring it stems from a place of understanding rather than impulse.