A lot of people notice, as they get older, that they tend to bruise more easily than they used to. If you’re among them, you needn’t necessarily worry. Known medically as “contusions,” bruises are usually caused by capillaries (small blood vessels) breaking and bleeding under your skin. With age, your capillaries naturally grow more fragile, and your skin and fat tissues get thinner and less effective at cushioning them against thumps and bumps.
At any stage of life, the vast majority of bruises are harmless and don’t require treatment: your body will reabsorb the spilled blood, usually within a few weeks. Placing an ice pack against a new contusion can reduce its spread, according to dermatologist Dr Paola Pasquali. “Once the bruise has been there for more than 48 hours, applying warm compresses can help speed healing,” she says.
If you keep spotting well-defined purple bruises in places where you’ve taken a lot of sun over the years, you may have actinic purpura, a condition that results from a combination of UV-ray damage and ageing. But again, it’s benign. If you ever want to camouflage the bruising, Pasquali says, use whichever hue is complementary to it on the colour wheel. For instance, a green-tinted concealer followed by a skin-coloured one should do the trick for reddish-purple blemishes.