A black eye doesn’t look good on anyone, and unless you got it from a heroic fist fight, you probably want to get rid of that shiner ASAP.
Black eyes are typically just like any other bruises you get from blunt force trauma (a.k.a. something hitting you without breaking the skin). The purple-black discoloration occurs when blood vessels around your eyes break open from a hit, causing blood to leak into the surrounding tissue. But black eyes are slightly worse than a bruise on your leg or shoulder because the skin around your eyes is thinner and more sensitive. Plus, the bruise is, well, on your face. More serious conditions can cause a black eye (or eyes) as well, such as a concussion, a bloody nose or a recent surgery. For serious head injuries, always go to the emergency room or urgent care.
Although it might be painful, black eyes are typically not too serious and will go away on their own in around two or three weeks. But for most of us, three weeks of running errands, talking to coworkers or going out on the town with a big black shiner simply won’t do. Luckily, there are a number of hacks to make a black eye go away faster, as well as some quick fixes to cover it up in the meantime. Follow the steps below to make sure you get rid of a black eye fast and keep it covered while it’s still there.
1. Use an Ice Pack
The first thing to do when you get a black eye is to apply ice and rest. Ice the area in 20-minute intervals, but limit the icing to about an hour total, and also be sure not to apply too much pressure to the eyeball. This will reduce swelling and stop the bleeding under your skin, keeping the black eye from looking (or hurting) too bad. A bag of frozen veggies or crushed ice will work, but a real cold compress like this will be more effective and less uncomfortable to use. This reusable Gel Ice Pack Cold Compress is made of a soft vinyl that doesn’t get too cold, so you can simply lay it across your eyes while you rest.
Thrive Store Gel Ice Pack Cold Compress
AllSett Health Store Reusable Gel Packs
ICEWRAPS Round Reusable Gel Ice Packs
2. Use a Topical Arnica Ointment
After icing the eye, apply some homeopathic arnica pain medicine. However, be sure to avoid aspirin, as it’s a blood thinner and will make a black eye worse. Instead, arnica works double duty to reduce the pain and also decrease swelling. This will slow down the flooding of blood in your tissue, reducing blackness, puffiness and minimizing pain. As you heal, continue to apply arnica each day to relax the blood vessels and speed up the reabsorption of blood. We like this arnica gel from Arnicare because it’s non-greasy and comes very highly-rated with users noting its powers of eliminating bruises.
Boiron Arnicare Gel
De La Cruz Arnica Salve
This Arnica salve is designed to be used on dry, cracked skin but it’ll also help your black eye heal through the moisturizing, soothing ingredients. It’s got anti-inflammatory properties derived from the Arnica and Chamomile, and can be applied as many times as needed. This is a heavier cream, so we don’t recommend using it more than a few times a day on your face’s skin to avoid developing blemishes.
Dermaline Arnica Salve Relief Ointment
This Arnica Salve from Dermaline has 15% maximum-strength anti-inflammatory properties for relieving aches and pains. It’s perfect as a topical pain reliever for bruises just like a black eye, and has eucalyptus and tea tree oil in it as well, which are naturally calming agents for the skin.
3. Don’t Take the Wrong Painkillers
Because black eyes can be very painful, many people instantly reach for their over-the-counter painkiller of choice. Unfortunately, drugs like Asprin and ibuprofen can actually worsen bleeding. Your pain may get better, but the appearance of your black eye won’t. If you’re trying to learn how to get rid of a black eye at home, put down the Asprin and ibuprofen-based medicines like Advil. Instead, you want to take painkillers with acetaminophen. Tylenol is a popular option, and this fast-acting, extra-strength gelcaps should bring your pain down to manageable levels without worsening your black eye.
4. Apply Concealer to the Bruised Area
Even after successfully icing and treating a fresh shiner, the bruise will still be very visible. You’ll need something to quickly cover it up for work or going out, such as this Maybelline concealer stick. Yes, concealers sound feminine, but they’re a secret weapon for guys, too.
This discreet Maybelline Age Rewind Concealer stick smoothly covers any blackness while reducing signs of aging and everyday dark circles around the eyes. It’s one of the best concealers for guys because it’s very lightweight and has a natural finish that’ll blend in with your normal skin tone. Plus, the small, sponge-equipped applicator stick makes it easy to stash in a backpack or car. To use it, twist the collar of the applicator to get the product on the sponge and apply as much as necessary around the eye area.
Maybelline Age Rewind Concealer
Dermablend Cover Creme
This Dermablend coverage creme is a foundation with SPF 30 built in so you don’t further damage your skin, and it goes on smoothly with your fingers. It’s a hydrating foundation that’ll help improve your skin’s moisture levels and repair the broken external barrier as well.
COVERGIRL TruBlend Concealer
COVERGIRL is another great brand for all makeup including concealer. This concealer comes in a wide range of shades for all skin tones, is lightweight and has a matte finish that’ll improve your blackeye’s appearance.
4. Try a Vitamin C Cream
Vitamin C is an effective way to speed up the recovery process and ensure that the black eye goes away as fast as possible. Vitamin C aids healthy skin, strengthens your blood vessels and improves overall eye health. These special powers – especially on the blood vessels – will speed up the healing of the broken blood vessels and decrease the bruising. Pick up some concentrated Vitamin C cream like this one from TrueSkin and gently rub a small amount around your eye.
NATUREWELL Vitamin C Moisture Cream
This moisture cream is fortified with advanced micro-encapsulated Vitamin C for enhanced healing. It’ll help your black eye symptoms improve as well as visibly improve skin tone, texture and hydration. It comes in an opaque container with a reusable pump that increases the product’s shelf life through less exposure to light and air, and the cream is cruelty-free.
5. Also Consider: Bilberry Extract Capsules
Another great way to boost your eye health and heal faster is bilberry capsules. It’s a close relative of blueberry and cranberry, containing powerful antioxidants that strengthen capillaries and also boost the effectiveness of Vitamin C. Bilberry is often taken to improve eyesight, but when you have a black eye on your hands, it will decrease the bruising as well. Take one of these potent bilberry capsules from Puritans Pride twice daily with meals while you recover.
6. After Icing Your Eye, Try a Warm Compress
After a day or two of icing the black eye, use a gentle warm compress to increase blood flow and start the healing process. This is a great way to get rid of a black eye that’s particularly stubborn. Grab an eye mask like this one from Optix 55, throw it in the microwave for 20 seconds, and then wear it around your eyes while napping or listening to a podcast. Just make sure the mask is warm — not hot — as too much heat can be harmful. Users like this mask in particular because it stays warm for a long time, and provides a moist heat that also improves the skin around your eyes.
7. Treat the Bruised Area With a Massaging Ice Roller
You might still have some pain for several days following the injury, which calls for a little more cold therapy on the black eye. Although an ice pack will work, it’s a little excessive and not very convenient. An ice roller like this, on the other hand, can be used quickly in the morning to reduce any overnight swelling and pain, getting you ready for the day. Make sure the head is clean and stick it in the freezer before going to bed (although it’ll get cold enough in about 10 to 15 minutes). Gently massage your face and eye area to reduce pain and calm your skin.
Even if you don’t have a black eye, this best-selling roller is great for just relaxing and restoring your face too. Plus, gently massaging the bruised area is one of the best ways to get rid of black eyes fast, and this roller combines massage with cold therapy for an effective home remedy.
Frequently Asked Questions About Black Eyes
Blunt force trauma to your face and eye area is what causes the extensive bruising around your eye that's typically characterized as a "black eye." This trauma can result from being punched, falling down, hitting your head on something, etc.
The purple-black discoloration occurs when blood vessels around your eyes break open from a hit, causing blood to leak into the surrounding tissue. The skin around your eyes is the thinnest on the body, which is why the color of the bruise may appear more vividly than one on your leg or arm.
With a combination of cold and warm compresses, pain relievers, Arnica ointment and Vitamin C you can help jumpstart the healing process of a black eye. You can also wear concealer to hide the black eye until symptoms improve.