LIFESTYLE

Why Do I Bruise Easily? Age And Gender May Have Something To Do With It

22/05/2015 09:48 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 09:59 BST

We all experience bruises caused by everyday knocks, bumps and falls throughout our lives.

But some of us seem to be more prone to gaining bruises than our friends, regardless of how accident-prone they may be.

So, what makes a person "bruise like a peach"?

To find out, we must first understand a few basic facts about those pesky brown blobs.

bruise

What is a bruise?

According to Nelsons arnicare, a bruise is caused when an impact ruptures small blood vessels under the skin, allowing blood to escape and build up forming a discolouration.

Nerve endings within the affected tissue detect the increased pressure and depending on severity and location, may be perceived as pain or pressure.

The good news is that minor bruises often do not hurt at all.

What is the life cycle of a bruise?

Bruises follow a rainbow of colours as they heal. They begin a purple or blue colour then change over time to green, yellow and eventually brown.

Although most bruises tend to fade slowly over a couple of weeks, you should visit your GP if you suddenly get lots of bruises or begin to bruise for no reason.

How should you treat a bruise?

The NHS recommend you treat bruises on your skin by limiting the internal bleeding. You can do this by cooling the area with a cold compress (a flannel or cloth soaked in cold water) or an ice pack wrapped in a towel.

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Why are some people more prone to bruising?

A bruise can form on any skin tone but they tend to show up more on those with fairer skin.

Older people are also more prone to bruises because as we age, our skin gets thinner and the tissue underneath is more fragile.

In contrast, toddlers and younger children tend to have lots of superficial bruises because of their busy, active lifestyles.

According to Live Science Contributor Joseph Castro, various medications can also cause you to bruise more easily.

"These include aspirin, the corticosteroids prednisone and prednisolone, anticoagulants, antibiotics, and blood thinners (including certain dietary supplements, such as fish oil and ginkgo)," he says.

"If you bruise easily, it may also be a sign of malnutrition or a lack of adequate amounts of certain nutrients, including folic acid and vitamins B12, C and K."

It is also thought that women bruise more easily than men because of the different way their skin is made up.

"Easier bruising in women is probably because women’s skin is thinner and because the fat and blood vessels in their skin is organized a little differently compared to men," Dr Jeffrey Benabio writes on The Derm Blog.

"The dense collagen layer is thicker in men and the blood vessels are held more securely. Similarly, structural differences between men’s and women’s skin can be seen in things like cellulite, which you’ll notice men don’t have, even when they’re overweight."

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