Do you bruise easily? No one is bruise-proof unless you’re sealed up in bubble wrap. But you can keep a small bruise from turning into a larger bruise by taking action once the impact has occurred. Quick action also allows the inflamed bruise area to heal faster than it normally would if left untreated.

How to Heal a Bruise Fast

1. Keep it clean. If the skin is broken around the bruised area, use warm water and soap to clean the injury. This way, you’ll avoid infection which can lengthen the time it takes a bruise to heal. Clean and cover your bruise to shorten healing time.

2. Ice your bruise. Ice constricts the blood vessels and keeps the borders of your bruise from widening. This way a bruise that started off small, won’t turn into a huge discoloration on the skin. Wrap an ice pack in a thin layer of cloth and place it on the impacted area for 15 minutes. Continue icing the area every couple of hours for the first 24 hours to keep the blood vessels constricted.

3. Use heat. After the first 24 hours, use heat to dilate the blood vessels and improve circulation in the bruised area. Apply a heating pad to the area for 30 minutes every couple of hours for the next day.

4. Use topical bruise creams with witch hazel. Topical bruise creams, especially those with witch hazel--a natural ingredient known for treating swelling, skin injury, mucous membrane inflammation, varicose veins, bruises, and other skin irritations--will quickly reduce the bruised area. Most creams should not be applied on broken skin. If there is broken skin, be sure to only apply creams on the bruised areas around the broken skin.

Sara Novak is a Natural Health Care Expert for Zax Health. Follow her on Twitter at @sarafnovak.