If you fight or train Muay Thai, you will no doubt end up with bruises from time to time. When I first started training, my shins would be covered in bruises all the time from kicking pads and the heavy bags. I’ve also had a few bruises around the eye area from sparring.
I have to be careful about bruising when I have modelling work coming up. Makeup artists can always cover bruises or they can be photo-shopped out. However, this is time-consuming and creates additional work for the team. If I have a bruise I do everything I can to help it heal faster. This is where arnica comes into play.
Arnica for bruising
Arnica, or arnica montana, is a plant that is part of the sunflower family. It has been used for hundreds of years as a homeopathic remedy for bruising and swelling. Bruising occurs when some form of trauma causes the blood vessels near the outer layer of the skin to burst. As a result, blood flows to the surface of the skin giving you a blackish-blue looking bruise. Arnica is said to help relax the blood vessels to reduce inflammation. This assists the body to clear the bruise by absorbing the excess blood back into the body.
Although there may not be a significant amount of evidence supporting the healing effects of arnica, I have personally found that it can help. Applying an arnica gel, cream or ointment topically on the affected area is worth a try. If I come home from training with a bruise, I usually ice it and then apply some arnica gel. I keep reapplying the gel over the next few days until the bruise starts to go down.
If you need to cover up a bruise, a cream concealer is a good place to start. Natural makeup brand Ere Perez have recently released a concealer with arnica in it. Its creamy texture makes it easy to blend and the arnica acts to calm inflammation. I also often apply a second, light-reflecting concealer over the top.
My current favourite is PÜR Disappearing Ink Concealer, which I wrote about on my blog Real Food Healthy Body. It is thinner in texture so it provides less coverage, but it brightens the area to further reduce the appearance of the bruise.