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Creams To Reduce Bruising: What Is The Best Cream?


Bruises are mostly formed as a result of the injury, causing local skin discoloration. Generally, bruises do not require medical treatment and go on their own within a couple of weeks.

Creams to reduce bruising can be purchased over the counter and/or from the pharmacy, which possibly helps with bruising. This post will review creams containing Arnica, a popular herbal choice for bruises, and a Hirudoid cream, a pharmacy medication licensed for superficial bruising.

Creams To Reduce Bruising

1. Hirudoid Cream: The Best Cream To Reduce Bruising

Hirudoid cream to reduce bruising

Hirudoid cream is a pharmacy only medication (P) containing 0.3% of heparinoid.

P medicines can only be purchased from a pharmacy under the supervision of the pharmacist or from registered online pharmacies.

Hirudoid is also available as Hirudoid gel, which has the same licensed use and restrictions as Hirudoid cream.

Where to buy Hirudoid cream or gel for bruising?

Hirudoid cream is not commonly prescribed in the UK, and therefore many pharmacies do not stock it. However, it can be easily ordered in the pharmacy from pharmaceutical wholesalers for the same or next-day delivery—a 50g tube of Hirudoid cream or gel costs around £7.

Hirudoid cream: age restrictions and licensed use

Hirudoid cream is licensed for adults and children over 5 years of age for the relief of:

  • Superficial bruising
  • Hematoma (internal bruising)
  • Treatment of superficial thrombophlebitis (inflammation of the veins)

How often is Hirudoid cream applied for the reduction of bruising?

Hirudoid cream is applied to the affected area up to 4 times a day. Hirudoid cream should not be applied to broken skin, large areas of the body, or to mucous membranes areas such as the nose, mouth, or eyelids.

How does Hirudoid work?

Hirudoid cream contains an active ingredient called heparinoid. This ingredient is similar to naturally occurring mucopolysaccharides (MPS) found in our bodies. MPS plays a role in tissue regeneration, reduction of swelling, inflammation, and bruising.

Through a cascade of different reactions, heparinoid stops clotting of the blood, improving its flow in small veins at the site of injury. This decreases inflammation and swelling, speeds up the absorption of bruises, and consequently supports the healing process.

Does Hirudoid cream reduce bruising?

One study compared the effectiveness of Hirudoid cream to an inactive cream in healthy volunteers. It took 2.1 days for 50% of the bruise to be absorbed when Hirudoid cream was used as compared to 4 days when inactive cream was used (Larsson et al., N.D.).

Despite the lack of popularity, Hirudoid cream is the best choice in a category of creams that reduce bruising. A well-studied mechanism of action of the active ingredient (as compared to Nelsons Arnicare Arnica cream) supports the efficacy of this product.

2. Nelsons Arnicare Arnica Cream

Creams to reduce bruising - Nelsons Arnicare Arnica cream

Nelsons Arnicare Arnica cream is a herbal cream suitable for both children and adults.

Nelsons Arnicare contains Arnica montana tincture as an active ingredient.

This alpine plant is sourced from the Scottish Highlands and has been in use as a herbal and homeopathic remedy since the 16h century to reduce bruising and swelling due to injury.

Does Nelsons Arnicare Arnica cream reduce bruising?

There is no scientific evidence to confirm the efficacy of Arnica-containing products (Brito et al., 2014). Nelsons Arnicare Arnica cream is licensed as a traditional herbal medicinal product, used for the symptomatic relief of bruises, based on traditional use only (MHRA, ND).

Despite the lack of evidence for effectiveness, Arnicare Arnica cream is a popular choice for many people looking for a cream to reduce bruising. Arnicare Arnica cream is available in most supermarkets and online.

How to use Nelsons Arnicare Arnica cream to reduce bruising?

Nelsons Arnicare Arnica should be applied to the affected area 4 times a day when required.

3. Arnica 35 Creams By Dulàc

Arnica 35 is one of the most popular arnica-containing creams on Amazon.co.uk. It is also listed as Amazon’s Choice in ‘arnica’ containing products for best-reviews and good price. Arnica 35 cream contains 35% of Arnica Montana, a much higher arnica concentration than any other cream available in the UK.

Additionally, Arnica 35 (Dulàc) is enriched in essential oils –  eucalyptus and peppermint essential oils giving a nice scent.

What is Arnica 35 (Dulàc) used for?

The actual description of Arnica 35 is poor, with main uses for the cream detailed as:

  • Muscle relaxation before or after sport
  • Insect bites

Although not advertised as a cream for bruising, Arnica 35 contains Arnica Montana which is known as a traditional treatment of bruises.

4. Bruise MD Bruising Cream

Bruise MD Bruising cream is another popular choice on Amazon.co.uk. This cream is advertised as ‘clinically proven’ for the treatment and prevention of bruises. Suitable for all ages, Bruise MD Bruising cream uses a combination of glycerol (glycerin), water, and menthol (for the cooling effect) to help the healing of the bruises.

Although Bruise MD Bruising Cream is ‘clinically proven, there is no reference to support this claim.

The main active ingredient, glycerol, is one of the most commonly used ingredients in the cosmetic industry. There is nothing about the Bruise MD Cream to suggest it is superior cream for bruising. Like many creams, Bruise MD Bruising Cream ‘hydrates’ the skin, which is essential is skin recovery from injury or bruising.

5. Boots Bruise Relief Arnica Cream

Boots Arnica cream - Nelsons Arnica equivalent

Boots cream to reduce bruising contains the same ingredients as Nelsons Arnicare, namely Arnica montana.

Bruise Relief Arnica Cream is licensed as a traditional herbal remedy for the symptomatic relief of bruises.

Boots Bruise Relief Arnica cream is made by Nelson & Co Limited, the same producer who makes Arnicare Arnica cream. In essence, both creams are the same.

Who can use Boots Bruise Relief cream?

There are no specific age restrictions for Boots Bruise Relief Arnica cream. It can be used by adults, the elderly, and children.

How to use Boots Bruise Relief cream?

The cream should be applied four times a day when required.

Can You Use Savlon Cream To Reduce Bruising?

Savlon cream is licensed to clean and prevent infections due to skin damage, such as a small wound or skin burn. Savlon should not be used as a cream to reduce bruising.

Quick FAQ

Is Vitamin K cream good for bruises?
Yes, Vitamin K cream is a good remedy for bruises and is generally safe for most people to use.
Is Retinol good for bruising?
Retinol includes topical alpha-hydroxy acid or a retinol-based or retinoid formulation to thicken the skin and stimulate neocollagenesis. It is good for healing bruises.
Can I use arnica cream everyday?
It is advised to use arnica cream 2-3 times a day for 3 weeks.