A black eye is a proof of something that has gone wrong with you and had left your skin around eye bruised. It can be an accident, a surgery for a facelift, nasal problem or jaw surgery, some dental infection or even allergic reaction or insect bite! A blow to your face, nose or any other parts around your eye leads to a collection of blood and other fluids around the eye. Just because the skin doesn’t break there doesn’t mean that blood has not oozed out of your veins. This internal blood collects all around your eye and makes the skin around it change color, from red to purple and then dark purple to black eye. Most of the time, the black eye doesn’t cause any serious or permanent damage, it heals with time. However, you should always consult a doctor to rule out any serious internal injury to your eyes, head or other facial parts. First aid measures will not let your eye become much darker and some home remedies may reduce the pain, be swelling and the required time that your black eye takes to heal.
How to Get Rid of Black Eye
1. First Things First: Ice Cold Compress for Black Eye
The first thing you need to do just after you are injured is to apply ice or an icy cold compress to your eye that hasn’t yet turned black. When you apply ice to your injured skin, it constricts the blood vessels there and thus helps in stopping the internal bleeding below the skin. Ice also numbs and gets you rid of the initial pain as well as swelling. However, never apply ice directly to your skin. Use the tips below to apply ice or cold compress to your black eye.
How to Apply Ice to Black Eye?
- Ice cubes or crushed eyes (or a packet of frozen vegetables like peas, corns etc.)
- A clean cloth
- Take the cloth and put ice cubes or crushed ice into it.
- Wrap it well to make it like a poultice bag. If using frozen veggies pack, you just need to take it out of a freezer.
- Hold the ice pack or frozen vegetable packet over your injured eye for 10 minutes.
- Do not rub it on the eye or skin.
- Take a break for about 20 minutes and then again hold an ice pack to your eye for 10 minutes.
- Apply an ice pack or cold compress after every 1-2 hours and continue this for 24-48 hours from the time of getting a blow to your eye. After this duration, you need to switch to warm compress from a cold one.
Never apply raw meat or beefsteaks on your black eye as this increases the risk of getting an infection.
2. From Cold to Hot: Warm Compress for Your Black Eye
Day 2 or precisely after 24-48 hours, you need to switch from ice pack to warm compress for your black eye. While ice pack prevents further bleeding by constricting blood vessels, there comes a time when blood no longer leaks from your veins, it is now collected around your eyes. At this point of time, warm compress increases blood circulation into the damaged blood vessels. This is helpful as the pooled blood trapped under your skin gets re-absorbed fast. Thus, warm compress will speed up the healing of your black eye.
How to Apply Warm Compress to Black Eye?
- Warm water
- Clean cloth or a towel
- Take the warm water in a vessel big enough to dip your cloth or towel comfortably.
- Dip the cloth/ towel into this warm water, take out and squeeze to drain off excess water. You need a warm damp cloth.
- Place this warm cloth on your black eye and let it be there till it cools down. Don’ apply warm compress directly to the eye but only to the skin around your eye.
- Repeat the process again. Keep doing for at least 10 minutes.
- Take a break for 20 minutes and again use the warm compress on your eye for 10 more minutes.
- Repeat the process after every 1-2 hours.
Don’t wash the eye with hot water, it may cause damage to the injured skin and eye. If it doesn’t pain, you may massage with the warm cloth but very gently. Do not put any type of pressure on your eye or skin around it. Never use a heating pad on a black eye as its dry heat can cause damage to your sensitive skin.
3. Keep Head Elevated to Prevent Further Swelling of Black Eye
As soon as you realize that you may get a black, elevate your head and keep it like this no matter whether you stand, sit or sleep. Keeping your head elevated is particularly important during the first 24 hours but needed even after that until your black eye heals completely. Elevated head means that you are limiting the blood flow to the sensitive area, thus preventing swelling there.
Tips to Keep your Head Elevated to Prevent Swollen Black Eye
- Don’t keep your head flat or below your body level when you lie down.
- When sleeping, use a couple of extra pillows under your head to keep it elevated.
- Don’t look down when sitting your standing. If you need to see something, bring it above your eyes’ level.
4. Have Vitamin C Loaded Foods to Heal Black Eye
A breakdown in collagen in blood vessels leads to bleeding. Vitamin C is capable of producing collagen. Thus, you need Vitamin C to keep your blood vessels intact and avoid bleeding, not only after you are injured but for your general health and well being. Have you ever noticed that some people are prone to bruises even without involving in an accident or injury! This may be due to deficiency of vitamin C in their bodies. Without this very important nutrient, their blood vessels become thin and weak and get ruptured even when there is very light pressure exerted on them. So, better have vitamin C loaded foods as a regular diet habit and more so when you want to get rid of a black eye. Include the following or any other foods in your diet that you know is high on Vitamin C
List of Foods High in Vitamin C
• Indian Gooseberries
• Chili peppers
• Red and green bell peppers
• Brussels sprouts
5. Get Bromelain from Pineapple-Papaya to Cure Black Eye Swelling
While papaya and pineapple are there on the list of foods high in vitamin C, they are also a source of an enzyme bromelain which is equally good for healing your black eye! Bromelain enzyme helps keep swelling down. You may get a lot of bromelain in fresh pineapple and also in papaya. In fact, Many doctors these days use bromelain supplement after surgery, even after a facelift, as a quick anti-inflammatory component. While it is better to eat pineapple and papaya as they are, you may also apply their pulp, after mashing the fruits, to the affected skin.
6. Arnica Herbal Remedy to Reduce Swelling from Black Eye
There is one more thing that can reduce swelling resulting from a black eye, this time a herb. It is the herb, Arnica, which is traditionally used to cure bruises, sprains, strains, inflammation and muscle soreness etc. Arnica plant extracts are used to make an infusion, salve, tincture, oil, ointment etc. Arnica is a very effective anti-inflammatory herb as it works by stimulating white blood cells that fight infections and help in eliminating foreign bodies from the system which include congested blood and fluid causing inflammation. While there is a homeopathic arnica cream readily available in the market, you can make your own arnica oil or salve to be applied on any bruise including a black eye. You can make arnica oil by adding one part of dried herb with 5 parts of any plant oil. Here is a recipe of a homemade arnica salve which you can use not only for curing black eye but also for other bruises and sprains etc.
Make Arnica Salve for Black Eye
- Dried arnica herb- 1 ounce
- Oil (any plant oil like olive oil)- 1 cup
- Beeswax- 1.5 Ounce
- Wintergreen essential oils- few drops
- Jar with cover- 1
- Small storage container (tin jar or jam jar)- 1
You need to make arnica infused oil for this salve. This takes six week’s time. If you are making it especially for your black eye, you need to have this infused oil immediately. So, you may buy ready-made arnica oil. However, if you want to make this oil for other purposes too, like for bruises and sprains, the next few steps tell you how to make arnica infused oil.
- Place the dried herb in the jar.
- Pour oil over it, cover and store it.
- Shake the jar every day for next 6 weeks.
- After six weeks, strain the oil.
- Warm the oil in a double boiler.
- Add the beeswax and stir continuously till it melts.
- Add wintergreen essential oil. It is a very strong oil so use only a couple of drops.
- Pour the salve into a storage container.
- Let it cool down before you start using it.
Apply this arnica salve to your black eye daily for 2-3 times.
Precaution: When ingested, arnica can be really nasty. This herb is not meant for taking internally and is best only for topical applications. Pregnant and nursing women should not use arnica.
7. Use Witch Hazel to Reduce Darkness Around Black Eye
Witch hazel soothes and heals your black eye efficiently. Witch hazel plant had been traditionally used for medicinal purposes by the American Indians. Witch hazel extract is mainly used to cure sores, bruises, and swelling. Witch hazel can reduce inflammation and also reduce pain by tightening the veins. It also refreshes your tired eyes.
How to Use Witch Hazel for Black Eye
- Witch hazel extract- 10 drops
- Water- 100 ml
- Cotton pad or ball
- Mix witch hazel with water.
- Soak the cotton ball in this solution.
- Squeeze to drain off excessive solution.
- Apply this solution to your black eye.
- Leave for about 5 minutes and then wash off with water.
- Do this twice or thrice a day.
8. Comfrey Root to Heal Black Eye Fast
Comfrey root extract is used for skin treatment by any herbalists. This herb contains small organic molecule allantoin, which is believed to stimulate cell growth and repair of skin. It also reduces inflammation.
1st Way to Use Comfrey Root for Black Eye
- Comfrey root herb- 1 tsp
- Water- ½ tsp
- Crush the comfrey root with water and mix well to get a paste.
- Apply this to the skin around your black eye.
- Leave for 5 minutes
- Wash off.
- Do this once a day.
2nd Way to Use Comfrey Root for Black Eye
- Comfrey root herb- 1 tsp
- Water- 1 glass
- Clean cloth
- Add comfrey root with water.
- Bring this water to boil.
- Put off and let steep for 5 minutes.
- Strain and let cool down till it becomes comfortably warm.
- Dip the cloth in this water and apply to your black eye.
Precaution- Don’t use comfrey root on your skin more than once a day. Exposure to large amounts of this herb for a longer time can prove toxic for your skin. Do not ingest comfrey root.
9. Oil Massage to Reduce Inflammation Around Black Eye
Massaging the skin around your black eye really helps. Massage not only promotes blood circulation but also improves your skin. Poor blood circulation doesn’t let your bruise heal faster. With your clean hands, gently massage your black eye with one of the oils. You can do this twice a day. However, do not exert pressure on your still sensitive skin. Just massage with a gentle hand.
List of Oils for Black Eye Massage
- Olive oil
- Coconut oil
- Tea tree essential oil
- Vitamin E oil
10. Foods with Vitamin K To Help Cure Black Eye
Vitamin K is not only one of the most effective antioxidants but can also accelerate blood circulation along with checking internal bleeding when applied around your eyes. Various studies have shown that vitamin K helps in reducing pigments appearance and in repairing blood vessels. It also heals damaged capillaries of the eye and the skin excellently. Thus, include lots of foods high on Vitamin K in your daily diet.
List of Foods High in Vitamin K
• Dark leafy greens like kale, dandelion greens, spinach, cress, mustard greens, turnip greens, beet greens, Swiss chard, lettuce etc.
• Spring onions
• Brussels sprouts
• Chili powder, curry, paprika, cayenne
11. Take Help from Cayenne Pepper to Heal Painful Black Eye
A very popular Chinese remedy for a black eye is to use cayenne pepper mixed with Vaseline. Hot peppers have in them the compound called capsaicin. This capsaicin helps reduce pain and appearance of bruises. People in China and Taiwan traditionally mix one part ground cayenne pepper with five parts of melted Vaseline to cure bruise resulting from a black eye.
How to Use Cayenne Pepper for Black Eye?
- Cayenne pepper- 1 tbsp
- Vaseline- 5 tbsp
- Add cayenne pepper with Vaseline and mix well.
- Apply this to the skin around the black eye.
- Take extra precaution for not letting the mixture go into your eyes.
- Leave it there for about half an hour.
- Now remove the mixture with the help of a wet wipe or cotton. Be careful not to push some of it into your eyes.
- Do this once or twice a day.
12. Potato Remedy for Swollen Dark Black Eye
There are certain enzymes in potato that helps disperse the old blood from your bruise. You may use potato juice or cold slices of raw potato for this purpose. This will help reduce swelling as well as pain resulting from your black eye.
How to Use Potato for Black Eye
- Cut a potato in thick slices.
- Place the slices of potato in the refrigerator to turn them cold.
- Take out from the refrigerator and place the cold slices of potato on your eye and skin around it.
You may also grate a potato and place this on your eye for 15 minutes. Juice of potato can also be applied around your eye with the help of cotton ball. Potatoes reduce swelling excellently and pain too.
13. Treat Black Eye with Hard Boiled Egg
This is an ancient way of treating bruise and blue-black skin resulting from injuries. This remedy uses as simple an ingredient as an egg. You just need to boil the egg till it becomes hard and then apply it on a black eye.
- Eggs- 1-2
- Boil the eggs in water until they become hardboiled.
- Take one egg out of the vessel and peel its shell.
- Now hold the hard boiled egg in your hands and roll it over your closed eye and the skin around it. Feel the warmth.
- Once the egg cools down, boil it again and roll it over the affected area again.
- Keep doing this till the egg becomes black.
- You may do it 2-3 times a day.
14. Bloodroot Herbal Paste for Black Eye Remedy
Bloodroot herb has been traditionally used in North America for various medicinal purposes including skin diseases, warts and tumors. As the components of bloodroot are anesthetic, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antiseptic, its paste, when applied on black eye, gives relief.
How to make Bloodroot Paste for Black Eye
- Bloodroot powder- 1-2 tsp
- Water- enough to make a paste
- Mix bloodroot powder with water to get a paste.
- Apply around your black eye. Ensure the paste doesn’t go into the eye. Just apply on the skin around the eye.
- Leave for 5-10 minutes and wash off
- Do this only once a day and not more than a week. Prolong use of bloodroot herb is not recommended.
Precaution- As blood root contains toxic opium-like alkaloids, they may cause mucous membrane irritation. Therefore, use only small quantities. An overdose can be fatal. Pregnant and nursing women should not have bloodroot. Do not ingest this herb as bloodroot is not edible.
A black eye is generally not a serious injury and with the help of self-cure including ice packs, warm compress as well as herbal applications, your black eye swelling and pain will subside in a few days and it can heal completely within 10-14 days. However, a black eye can be an indication of something serious when you feel changes in your vision, or when the pain in your eye is severe and doesn’t go away by any means. Along with these symptoms, if you notice pus leaking from eye or experience nausea, vomiting or dizziness, you should immediately consult your doctor and not just rely upon the home remedies for a black eye.