There’s never any reason to shame someone for having a hickey (als known as “love bites” or in the vernacular, it’s called chikinini — like all forms of consensual sexual behavior (but you should know how conservative some Filipinos are, so expect to get “the stare,” especially in public places. Some people would judge you or have preconceived notions about you simply because they saw the hickeys on your neck.
In reality, there’s absolutely nothing to justify about making out with someone’s neck — but the paradox of the hickey is that it takes something extraordinarily present and private and creates, often without meaning to, a public, lingering effect. Nothing feels more right and more personal in the moment than a truly great makeout session with your partner, but walking through the next few days with it displayed on your neck can be surreal. Suddenly, your private life becomes a public affirmation, no matter how temporary. Whether your goal is to avoid them entirely or simply give the best ones possible, exploring the ins and outs of hickeys is totally legitimate.
Kissing is beautiful and exciting and lot of fun, but at some point, it’s also just sucking, and that suction creates marks on your softer, more sensitive skin — neck, shoulders, chest — leaving a collection of broken blood vessels. This blood is generally dark red at first, but once it dries out it turns to a darker purple or brown color, creating the marks we know and love (or hate, whatever).
There’s surprisingly little research done on hickeys, but they last about one to two weeks. How long the mark stays on a person is up to the harshness of the suction and the health of the person affected; the more intense the hickey, the longer it’ll stick around, while the healthier the person is (think: well-hydrated, good circulation, enough iron), the shorter the hickey’s time on earth.
You can speed up the process with a few tricks.
There’s no actual cure for hickeys, but if you’re in a rush and need this thing gone, try a hot or cold compress, or rub in peppermint oil, which might help improve circulation. The use of ice relieves pain caused by hickeys, if any, and prevents swelling of the skin. Never scrape, overly massage, or otherwise prod and poke at your hickey, which at the very least will just irritate the spot further and increase the hickey’s lifetime, but can also be seriously damaging, and even lead to scarring.
You can also wrap several ice cubes in a towel and press it on the affected area. Hold the ice cubes in place for about 10 minutes. Get rid of a hickey fast by applying a cold spoon to the sore spot.
Chill a spoon in the fridge for about 15 minutes. Don’t use the freezer or it may become too cold.
Then, gently stretch out the skin of the affected area, and hold the spoon firmly against it until it warms up.
To get rid of a hickey fast, you could also try applying a piece of fresh banana peel to your skin and taping it in place for about 15 minutes to reduce the bruising.
Hickeys happen for a reason
The neck, the shoulders, and the chest are seriously sensitive to touch, meaning that being kissed there feels pretty incredible. when you’re more likely to be a little aggressive with your mouth, which is why hickeys tend to show up more on younger or newer kissers. With substantial practice and the right partners, your kissing will probably ease into a less hickey-centric mode, but if you’re someone who really appreciates a good necking, the occasional love bite can show up at any age.
Hickeys are seriously fine
It’s totally easy to cover a hickey if you so wish, especially if you have something memorable, like picture day, or a huge presentation. A turtleneck will do wonders, and finding a sleeveless version for warmer months is easy now. But ultimately, if you have a hickey that you were given in a consensual way, you just have a hickey, and it’s probably going to be gone in a few days, so try not to stress about it if you’re feeling worried. Likewise, if you’ve given someone a hickey they wanted, as long as you’re both committed to keeping the situation as respectful as possible, it’s all good.
Have you ever tried any of these methods to get rid of a hickey?
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