A bruise forms when an injury doesn’t break the skin, but does break blood vessels near the skin’s surface. Blood leaks from the damaged blood vessels and becomes trapped under the skin.1
At first, the bruise may look black, blue or purple. As a bruise heals, it fades and changes color until the skin is back to its normal shade.1
If an injury is mild, it can take hours for a bruise to appear. If the injury is severe and many blood vessels are broken, a bruise can appear in minutes. Bruises often appear quickly where the skin is thin, such as on the face.
In some cases, the bruised area may swell. The clinical term for the swelling is hematoma. It occurs when a collection of trapped blood occurs outside of the blood vessel and can’t be absorbed by the body fast enough.
Home remedies for bruises are commonly used for pain relief and to help reduce recovery time. If you suspect you may develop a bruise, elevate the injured area as soon as possible. This reduces blood flow and the severity of bruising and swelling. Putting ice on the injured area for 10 minutes can also reduce the severity of the bruise and minimize swelling.1
Provided the skin is not broken, essential oils can be another natural remedy for bruises. Topical application of essential oils may help bruises heal more quickly than simply doing nothing.2 It’s important to note, topical application of essential oils for bruises should be done with minimal pressure to not further injure the area.
What Essential Oil is Good for Bruises?
For hundreds of years, cultures around the world have used essential oils to promote the healing of injuries, bruises and help calm hematoma (swelling related to the bruise).
In recent years, research has helped reveal some of the science behind essential oils, helping us to better identify what essential oils are good for bruises. Below are the four most common and effective essential oils for bruises.
Lavender Essential Oil
Using lavender essential oil for bruises is one of the most popular methods to help bruises heal naturally.
A study conducted on the healing and antiseptic properties of lavender essential oil indicated that lavender may help reduce the time it takes for a bruise to heal when used as a part of a compress.3
For a homemade, cool compress, combine 3 drops of lavender with 2 drops each of rosemary essential oil and geranium essential oil in a large bowl. Fill the bowl with cool water and dip a clean cloth into the mixture. Gently apply the cloth onto the bruised area for several minutes.
Helichrysum Essential Oil
Research shows that the topical application of helichrysum essential oil may help reduce visible scarring in patients recovering from cosmetic surgeries. These same healing properties of helichrysum essential oil make it a good essential oil for bruises and one of the best essential oils for hematoma (swelling).
Topical application should be done with minimal pressure on the skin. To make application easier, add 5 drops of helichrysum essential oil to 10 drops of carrier oil. The blended oil can be applied to the bruised area twice a day.
Rosemary Essential Oil
Considered one of the best essential oil for bruises, rosemary essential oil is often a key ingredient in natural bruise remedies. Scientific evidence notes that several bioactive compounds may be responsible for the main benefits of rosemary essential oil, which include natural pain relief and anti-swelling activity.
For topical application, combine 3 drops of rosemary essential oil with 1 drop each of lavender, eucalyptus, and peppermint essential oil with 20 drops of carrier oil. Gently apply the mixture to the affected area.
Frankincense Essential Oil
The beneficial properties of frankincense essential oil have been noted to help heal wounds, and promote pain relief. Frankincense essential oil is also considered to promote relaxation, making it a popular essential oil for bruises, especially those that cover a wide area of the skin.
To help bruises heal more quickly, mix 2 drops of frankincense essential oil with ½ Tsp. of carrier oil. Gently rub the mixture on the bruised area up to 3 times a day.
When using essential oils as a remedy for bruises or hematoma, pay extra close attention for signs of skin irritation or other adverse reactions. Skin may be more sensitive than usual because of the injury already beneath it.
Scientific Research Referenced in this Article
- Mayo Clinic. (2014, November 5). Bruise: First aid. Retrieved April 19, 2017 from http://www.mayoclinic.org/first-aid/first-aid-bruise/basics/ART-20056663
- Reddy, K.K., Grossman, L., Rogers, G.S. (2013) Common complementary and alternative therapies with potential use in dermatologic surgery: Risks and benefits. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 68(4). 127-135. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaad.2011.06.030
- Dale, A., Cornwell, S. (1994).The role of lavender oil in relieving perineal discomfort following childbirth: a blind randomized clinical trial. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 19(1), 89-96. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2648.1994.tb01056.x