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    Here's What A Hickey Actually Is And How To Get Rid Of It

    We know that mark on your neck isn't from the curling iron.

    Raise your hand if you've been unfortunate enough to have an abomination like this on your neck:

    Elisa Paolini / Creative Commons / Via Flickr: hely_chop_suey

    We've all been there.

    Paramount Pictures / Via

    Hopefully this stopped happening past the age of 17, but sometimes shit happens and next thing you know you're wearing a scarf to work in August. But WTF is a hickey actually, and how do you get rid of it? We reached out to an expert to find out.

    A hickey is a bruise caused by suction, which bursts tiny blood vessels under your skin.

    Paramount Pictures / Via

    "The negative pressure from suction causes veins to rupture and blood leaks out so it's visible under the skin as a bruise," Dr. Rachel Herschenfeld, of Dermatology Partners, Inc. in Wellesley, Massachusetts, tells BuzzFeed Life. Obviously, the harder you suck on someone's skin, the worse the mark is. But not all people react to hickeys the same way.

    You can get a hickey anywhere, but it shows up worse on your neck because the skin there is so thin and delicate.

    Netflix / Via

    They're also pretty easy to get on your chest, lips, and inner arm...if people are sucking there? "There isn't a tremendous tissue support for veins in those areas, so the tiny vessels under your skin can rupture with just enough pressure and once they do, they cause a very dark bruise," Herschenfeld says.

    Most people don't realize how bad a mark is in the moment because it takes about five to ten minutes to start evolving into a bruise, says Herschenfeld. So even if you aren't purposefully trying to mark someone, they can still wake up the next day looking they hooked up with a literal vacuum.

    The color of the hickey really depends on how quickly your body breaks down the blood.

    Flickr user kynan tait CC / Via Flickr: nervsappy

    Everyone is different, but bruises follow a predictable course, Herschenfeld says. Your body has to reabsorb the blood that leaked out from your veins in order for it to disappear. "The change in color is from the way your body breaks down hemoglobin, which causes pigment in your red blood cells," Herschenfeld says. This is why a hickey transforms from red to purple to brown — and that gross, sickly yellowish green — before it goes away.

    You've probably heard of a few ways to get rid of them — like using a toothbrush, a cold spoon, or even a coin.

    Unfortunately those are all pretty much bullshit.

    So what does work? Leaving it alone! And makeup.

    YouTube User ZoeyCoco / Via

    Herschenfeld suggests treating the skin as gently as possible and avoiding too much irritation or manipulation of the area. You can also try some heavy-duty concealer or other makeup tricks. Here's a popular YouTube tutorial to get you started.

    And next time, just give/get a hickey in a more ~discrete~ place. / Via Twitter: @wit3wakaflaka

    Or, you know, don't.

    But seriously, if you are an adult and still giving hickeys you need to go home. Just go.

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