Love bites

Ahh the retro hickey! Love bites are making a comeback but how do you cover them up?

Boy wrapped in scarf

I don't even have a love bite. I just like how much I smoulder in this scarf.

What is a love bite?

A love bite is basically a bruise, caused by bleeding under the skin as a result of your partner’s limpet-like sucking on your neck. This temporary discoloration, technically called a hyperpigmentation, results from blood being drawn out of vessels under your skin.

Why do it?

Some people just can’t stop themselves… Those possessive types may use love bites as a mark of possession to show everyone else you are taken. If they can’t trust you to tell people yourself, are they worth it?

For others it is a show of affection, and the receivers are quite happy to show off to their mates that they are getting some. However this usually stops at 13 and so if your mates are still flaunting them you may suspect that the hoover did it. Just a thought.

When to stop

If you do have vampire tendencies you should be able to understand the word NO from your partner. Don’t make him/her think that you’re orally fixated, or that you didn’t eat enough for dinner. Leave their flesh intact.

Covering up a hickey

To reduce the swelling apply a cold compress (like an ice cube wrapped in kitchen towel). This serves to make the broken blood vessels contract, but for best results it needs to be done immediately after the damage has been done.

If a few hours have passed try rubbing arnica on the affected area to soothe the skin. Applying a little make up will also help keep the truth covered up, as will a scarf or hiding in your room till the bruising fades.

Your suggested cures

One tried and tested method appears to be toothpaste. Angela says: “Toothpaste is really good. I’m coming from experience. It does help! And of course you can always pinch some concealer or powder from your sister’s room to stop trying to get rid of them. Still, the best option is to tell your partner you don’t like them – it saves all the hassle really,”

And, of course, polo necks… but not in the Summer, according to Paul: “Buy a selection of polo neck jumpers to cover it up- then again that might work in Winter but not during a heatwave.”

Photo of boy in scarf by Shutterstock

Next Steps

  • Do you want to understand your relationship better? Love Smart helps you work it all out.
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Updated on 29-Sep-2015