The color of blood comes from hemoglobin, the protein in charge of delivering oxygen to our body. Bruises consist of blood escaping from ruptured capillaries and small veins spreading into the surrounding tissue. The capillaries of the subcutaneous tissues make the largest contribution to bruising. Extravasated blood will spread along any line of cleavage in the tissue producing a discolored area. Further color changes take place as hemoglobin breaks down. Bilirubin, the yellow degradation product of hemoglobin that you see in the bruises, is another minor contributing pigment. The complete degradation sequence of hemoglobin includes the pigments biliverdin, bilirubin, and hemosiderin.
How visible will the bruise be? How long it will take until the discoloration disappears? The color of the skin is important, as bruises are more obvious in fair-skinned people. Age will affect bruising; older people bruise more easily and take longer to get over them. Medications that delay coagulation will increase the size of the bruise. In older people, aged skin may bruise easily and cause what is called “actinic purpura”.
My mother (who learned it from her mother) knew to apply some butter to my forehead when I crashed into whatever, in a mini accident that would result in a bump and a bruise. The bump could be alleviated with some ice, but the butter would work for the now never-to-appear bruise.
I did the same with my children and my kids do it with their children but I have not been able to find an explanation in the literature. I assume that the lipids now diffusing through the stratum corneum and further would stop the hemoglobin from moving in. I have never seen a better (or other) explanation about this phenomenon.
Since I formulated ELS serum years ago, this is what I use for and would-be-bruise, but will use butter in an emergency. The idea is to supply some nutrition to the skin to accelerate healing.
For the surgeries I experienced in the last decade (don’t ask), I have used Restoration cream for the healing, but I start using ELS even before the surgery. I have ELS in my bathroom and on my desk. Best thing ever, I promise.
DISCLAIMER: These claims have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat, or prevent any disease.