Have you ever thought—after nailing the corner of a table or hitting your head as you’re standing up—well, that’s definitely gonna leave a mark (after a few choice words of course). While you expect to see a little black and blue after a memorable encounter with the coffee table, it’s a different story when you find a bruise with no recognition of where it came from. So, should you be worried?
When it comes to bruises, they typically look worse than they are. Although, the intense blue and purple color can be a little worrisome. But that’s due to blood from your capillaries (small blood vessels near the surface of your skin) pooling, which is why you may notice a purple color at first and a yellowish green color as it heals.
So, what’s the cause of your unexpected bruising? Well, there’s a chance you could be a crazier sleeper than you thought, but it’s more likely that one of these common culprits is to blame:
1. You’ve been a sunny bunny. Sunburns aren’t the only health risk you have to worry about after spending hours in the sun. In fact, skin that’s been damaged from excess UV begins to lose its pliability and resilience, making bruising easier and more likely.
2. You’re taking these medications. If you’re someone who takes steroids, blood thinners or even aspirin, you’ll be more likely to bruise. This is due to slowed blood clotting, which will cause the capillaries (those little blood vessels under your skin) to continue bleeding for longer than normal.
3. You’re strength training. One of the key reasons people lift weights is to build muscle, right? Well, the very thing that helps you to build muscle can also cause you to bruise. This is because intense strength training causes microscopic tears in your muscle fiber, which can also cause bruising.
4. Your skin is pale. This isn’t an excuse to go tanning or anything, but having pale skin may make any bruising—even extremely mild—more visible. This doesn’t mean that you bruise more easily, though.
5. You’re aging. While it may not be very reassuring, bruising is a completely normal part of aging. Thanks to a loss of collagen and weaker blood vessels, bruising is more likely, and it’s more visible.
6. You’re overweight. Your body weight doesn’t directly impact how easily you bruise, but the added pressure of excess weight can cause bruise-like spots to form on your legs.
7. You’re in need of a doctor. There is a chance that your unexpected bruising is the result of something else, like a nutrient deficiency, or a clotting disorder, but it is best to work with your primary care provider—someone who knows your complete health picture.
In the meantime, if you’re nursing a doozy of a bruise, try using ice therapy to reduce swelling and heat to increase blood flow. And it can’t hurt to give walking your undivided attention—at least for a little while.