The best way to take care of bruises is before they happen. After the bruise has already formed, there is nothing much one can do. Some people suggest “Arnica” (look at a health-food store) ointment. Personally, I have not found it to be of that much help..YMMV.
Different types of implements tend to cause different types of bruising. In general, “soft” toys, such as leather, cause less bruising than wooden ones, etc. It has been my experience that a cane bruises most of all. Experiment a little to find out what works for you.
Some people feel that different skin types bruise more or less than others. In my play, I have not found this to be the case. I have seen fair-skinned people that bruise a lot, and some that don’t mark at all. What does seem to make a difference is past play experiences. It seems the more one plays, the less one bruises. Keep this in mind if you are new…it might help when you look down and see that first *big* mark.
Your health has much to do with how much you bruise. If you eat right, exercise, and get enough sleep, you tend to bruise less. If you smoke, drink, or have recently been ill, you are more prone to mark. This is because your body has been depleted of Vitamin C. So, to help prevent bruising, take mega-doses of Vitamin C with bioflavinoids.
Certain drugs, such as blood-thinners, aspirin, ibuprofen and other anti-inflammatories cause bruising to occur more easily. If you can, forego taking any of these for a few days before you plan on playing. The one method I have found effective for limiting marks after they have happened is the application of ice…20 minutes on…20minutes off..*immediately* after, uhm, impact.