A hickey's appearance can be minimized with the use of a cold compress, applied periodically for 15 minutes at a time for the following 24-48 hours. The same treatment is recommended to reduce the swelling and discomfort associated with other kinds of bruises as well.
In addition to applying cold to the affected area, any other common anti-inflammatory can be used to reduce the swelling, tenderness and redness associated with a hickey. This is because a hickey is essentially a bruise caused by suction rather than an impact. The force causes capillaries to burst beneath the surface of the skin, allowing blood to seep out and discolor the affected area. Hickeys are normally localized, making it easy to apply topical treatments such as ointments, creams or salves. Over time, the redness fades as the body reabsorbs the blood cells naturally.
In extreme cases, hickeys transition from red to purple and eventually fade to a yellowish patch. If this is the case, after two days of applying cold compresses it is recommended that warm compresses be used. This helps the body to process a more severe bruise and the greater volume of dead blood cells associated with it. If time is a factor, cosmetic concealer can also be applied to blend the blemish into the surrounding skin.