Are Those Mysterious Phantom Bruises Something to Worry About?

Ever wake up feeling slightly groggy but mostly fine, only to notice you have one, two, maybe three bruises you don’t recall ever getting? While we often brush them off as some girls’ night out souvenir, there could be a bit more to it than that. But the question is: are these black and blues anything to worry about?

Yes…and no.

While bruises in themselves are typically nothing to worry about, waking up with random, unexplainable black and blues could mean something more for your health. But the good news is, preventing bruising is easy. While we recommend consulting a doctor before taking any action, here’s the lowdown on where these “phantom bruises” come from and what exactly we should do about it:

Where do they come from?

Vitamin Deficiency

A lack of vitamins and nutrients in the diet is a very common reason for excessive bruising. Vitamin K (which causes blood to clot), Vitamin C (which forms collagen) and iron (which produces red blood cells) are three of the most popular deficiencies that cause phantom bruises. If you feel your diet could be the reason you have so many bruises, ask your doctor about taking additional vitamins or supplements.

Exercising

 

It can be pretty easy to bruise yourself when you’re constantly moving, jumping and twisting parts of your body in class, but excessive bruising can often come from inside your body when you’re working out. Strenuous exercise, especially when doing exercises such as weight lifting, can cause tears in the blood vessels, leading to bruising. Mix up your workout types and go easy on your body if you begin to notice bruising post-workout.

 

Excessive sun exposure

 

Getting too much sun lately? It could be the reason you’re seeing bruises popping up in any exposed areas. That’s because UV rays cause blood vessel walls to thin, causing you to bruise more easily. Grab some shade and throw some extra SPF to prevent any additional black and blues.

 

Medication

 

Yup, taking certain medications could be the reason you’re getting some extra bruises lately. That’s because many meds prevent blood clotting, which means more blood is being released and causing your bruises. If you’re concerned your medication could be causing excessive bruising, talk to your doctor to see what you can do about it.

 

Aging

Growing up is fun, isn’t it? As you age, your skin naturally begins to thin due to a lack of collagen and fragile skin tissue, causing your body to bruise more easily. There’s nothing you can really do about getting older (unfortunately), but you can treat extra bruises with an ice pack and some extra rest.

Are they dangerous?

Typically, no. Random bruising can often be remedied by a diet adjustment or using an ice pack. Some bruising, however, can be linked to serious health problems. So when do you start becoming concerned? If you notice a sudden increase in random bruising, experience bruises that take more than two weeks to fade or start experiencing severe pain, it’s suggested you visit your doctor to get a full check-up. 

What can you do about them?

No matter their cause, bruises are always a pain (literally). If you want to wear a dress tonight and don’t feel like seeing your legs covered in bruises, you can take some extra steps to make them fade faster. Topical treatments, even some infused with bruise-preventing vitamins such as Vitamin K, can speed up the recovery process. Icing the affected area with an ice pack within 24 hours of noticing a bruise can reduce pain and potential swelling. Some other natural remedies, such as applying apple cider vinegar, arnica oil and aloe vera to the bruise, can also help speedy along the healing process. Worst comes to worst, grab some cover-up and your skin should be looking good as new in no time.

Stephanie Limiti is a born and raised New Yorker living out her dreams of palm trees and sunshine in Los Angeles. When she's not zenned out in yoga class, she's reading biographies and volunteering at dog rescue shelter. Follow her on Instagram.