If you are getting bruises from pole dancing, you’re probably wondering a few things:

  • Is this bruising normal?
  • When does the bruising stop?
  • What can I do to make my bruises go away?
  • Are there any bruises I should be concerned about?

Let's tackle these questions one at a time, but the short version is: yes, never, a few things, and yes.

Is this bruising normal?

As long as you don’t have a pre-existing medical condition, YES, this kidn of bruising is totally normal. Bruising is the body’s way of responding to trauma, and yes, some of the things we learn in pole dancing, like climbs, seats, leg hangs, and more, are traumatic to the the skin and tissue. Bruises—or pole kisses—can appear immediately or a little bit after class ends, and they might be red at first. Then, they’ll turn blue or purple after a few hours, and can even turn yellow or green after a few days. Tenderness or even a little pain is normal too.

The non-pole dancing folks around you might not think it’s normal. They’ll ask you if you are okay or if you are safe—which can sound funny, but it’s a good thing to have people around you who care—but their concerns also reveal just how horrifying our pole kisses can look to civilians who don’t pole dance!

When does the bruising stop?

I mean… never? Sorry to say, you’ll continue to bruise to some degree as you continue pole dancing, but as certain areas of your body get conditioned for pole dancing, you’ll bruise less and even not at all in certain spots.

For example, when you first start learning to climb, the tops of your feet and your shins will bruise a lot! But as you climb more and more, you’ll stop bruising there. But as you start working on leg hangs, you’ll get the inside leg hang bruises on your inner thighs and outer ankles or the outside leg hang bruises on the backs of your knee pits. Basically, the bruises move around as you learn new things! It’s a cool map of your pole dance journey! 

What can I do to make my bruises go away?

Lots of folks swear by Arnica or Aloe as topical treatments to deal with swelling and tenderness. Some even say that it helps the bruises to go away quicker, but it's not an overnight fix, Others advise adding Vitamin K to your regimen. I've had the best experience with ice therapy.

Right after the bruise appears, ice the bruise for 10 minutes or so, then take 20 minutes off. Be advised, ice is only really effective if you do it right away. You can also apply a hot compress or take a hot bath to boost circulation and get blood flowing through the area. If you’re in a hurry or have a special event, you might want to try the kind of body make up used to cover scars. 

Even if you are brand new to pole dancing, you already know this practice is tough on your skin. As a baby poler, I completely stopped using lotion because I didn't want to be too slippery, but I found that my bone-dry alligator skin was just as slippery. For me, healthy skin is grippy skin, so I'll periodically rub petroleum jelly on my legs before bedtime, and I find that by the next evening my skin feels hydrated and grippy without being too slick. But everyone's skin is different, so it's important that you find a skin care routine that supports you in pole and in health.

If you're interested in long term skin care solutions, you're in luck. There's a new brand in town called Apolethecary. Apolethecary's products are tailor-made to target the most common post pole woes, like aches, soreness, and bruising. They use natural and ethically sourced ingredients, and they even smell nice!

I like Apolethecary because, like BKKP, it's a brand that's trying to tread new ground in the pole world. There are a ton of pole wear brands trying to push similar tops, bottoms, and heels, but there's only one place to get something on the level of The Pole Bag, and there's only one place to get something on the level of Antidote.

Disclaimer: This blog post includes absolutely NO affiliate links. I simply stan this brand.

Antidote is Apolethecary's grip remover. Yes, grip REMOVER. If you take a minute right now to just imagine the feel of iTac or Firm Grip caked on the backs of your knees, I know you can conjure it up. Gross, right? And the struggle to get pants back on after class? Pulling your leggings up when you're covered in grip is basically a second workout after class. I've even sprayed my pole towel with isopropyl alcohol to try and wipe off the iTac. Think about that... I've cleaned my skin with the same stuff I use to clean the pole. I think we can do better.

Looch, the pole-dancer with a chemistry degree behind Apolethecary, developed, tested, and launched Antidote so you can dissolve and whisk away the most stubborn grip aids from your skin. It has natural ingredients that soothe and heal the muscles long after your grip has been stripped. Arnica and epsom salt help with muscle soreness and bruising, while coconut oil, aloe, vitamin e, mango butter, and almond oil help to moisturize, heal, and condition your skin post pole recovery.

If you want to see it in action, I made a video review! Check it out. 

Looch also developed a second product called Elixir, which is a rollerball oil-based muscle rub. And she's working on a topical numbing potion to use when conditioning those more painful moves, like Supermans, seats and laybacks.

So basically, if you are interested in both short term and long term solutions for healthy skin as a pole dancer, keep your eyes on Apolethecary because Looch is out here doing the Lord's work.

Are there any bruises I should be concerned about?

If you have frequent, large bruises on your trunk, back or face, or any bruises that seem to develop for no reason at all, that could be something non-pole related, and you should ask a medical professional. However, if you can trace your bruises to something you did in class, likely you don't have to worry.

For example, I sometimes notice that I have bruises on my biceps from doing some kind of armpit hold, which makes sense because that’s where I should get a bruise. When I notice a bruise only on one side of my body, I feel attacked-- it's like my bruises are tattling on me for not doing both sides! 

There are a few places where you want to minimize impact and watch out for bruising, and those are bones or joints. You can condition your skin and tissue, but you can't necessarily condition a joint. Bruises on knees, shoulders, and elbows are signs you need some protective gear. Luckily, BKKP | Pole Dance Essentials has that kind of stuff. (You knew I had to mention it, right?)

Bee's Knees Knee Pads are the sleek and sexy knee pads that strap on and strip off, but they are designed to protect your knees when we do kips, drops, and other high impact tricks, especially if you opt for Heavyweight Inserts. Finding floorwork to be a pain? The Floorwork Shrug is designed to minimize pain on the elbows, shoulders, and upper spine. Seems genius, right?  That's because everything at BKKP is made for pole and made for you.