We’ve all woken up with bruises or dark patches on our skin at one point or another and wondered what we did to earn them. People just seem to have this knack for missing when they’ve given themselves a minor injury. Admittedly, that doesn’t make it any easier to deal with the pain once we notice them. These issues can be caused by any number of reasons and at the very least tend to draw attention to themselves. This is the last thing that a lot of us want when we’re trying to be our best, though. Treating dark patches and bruises is often a priority for us as a result. Fortunately, most of the time this isn’t too hard. You’re going to need to let the area heal, yes, but you can do things that help to promote healing in the area. We’re going to need to identify the problem first before we can actually give you any idea on the appropriate ways to treat it.
Bruise or Dark Patch?
We don’t always make the distinction between these two, but it is important. A dark patch isn’t necessarily a bruise and can instead be another issue entirely. Dark patches that aren’t bruises are typically an indication that something “medically significant” is going on that needs your attention. This doesn’t necessarily mean your health is about to fail, but it does mean that something significant enough is happening that you’ll want to talk to your doctor. We’ll examine some of the potentials a bit later. Bruises, by contrast, are relatively common and typically easy to distinguish. These generally turn up regularly from day-to-day life. The dark areas of skin are, in essence, places where you’ve accidentally ruptured minor blood vessels in the body. Your body cleans up and patches these relatively quickly. It can take at most a week for smaller bruises, but serious ones have been known to approach a month before the damage is fully repaired. They are typically nothing to worry about beyond trying to prevent anything from hitting them and prolonging the bruise.
The Importance of Dark Patches
“Medically significant” may sound a bit ominous, but really all we’re trying to say with it is that you should go talk to your doctor. Dark patches can happen for any number of reasons, but one form they can take is a blood spot. These are places that tend to just appear and not have any real reason behind them. Importantly, bruises do sometimes seem to just appear, yes, but blood spots tend to appear fairly regular even if they are dealt with by the body. So regular bruising and random discolorations are what you’re looking for here. They can be caused by something as simple as a medication reaction or having a vitamin deficiency, though. This is something that is easily dealt with by talking to your doctor, However, blood spots can also be a sign of deeper issues such as an infection, inflammatory disease, or a form of bleeding disorder. That’s why you want to talk to your doctor about them when they appear regularly. Most of us will be fine, but it never hurts to talk to a professional to be doubly sure.
No one escapes life with a few literal and metaphorical bruises to their name. The literal ones are simple enough to care for when you give them the appropriate attention. Almost everyone can do this at home without ever talking to a doctor. All you really need is ice and a little patience. Large bruises should typically be iced within a half hour of the initial injury happening. The cold will help manage the inflammatory response of the body and keep it from being too uncomfortable. Elevating the area that has been bruised is another good treatment as this helps reduce the ease with which blood flows to the area of the bruise. This keeps it from getting too dark. After that, all you really need to do is take some pain medication and prevent the area you bruised from being put under any strain for a little while. The bruise will generally heal fairly quickly if you’re kind to it, but you might want to talk to your doctor if it looks the same or hurts worse after the first two to three days or if there are any obvious symptoms that something worse is wrong.
Dark patches and bruises may sometimes look the same, but they aren’t. The distinctions tend to not be terribly subtle when you think about them though. Patches typically just appear without you having really done anything to cause them and don’t always bring pain with them. Bruises tend to be pretty obvious about their source if they’re large enough to notice and cause you a little pain. There is no quick fix for either of them, but getting proper care will help clear up the issues as quickly as possible.