A bruise is a contusion (a tissue injury that doesn’t break the skin) that is formed as a result of ruptured blood vessels located near the skin’s surface. Blunt trauma to the skin is the primary cause of this injury. Minor bruising typically occurs from accidental bumps and falls, and often appears as blue or purplish marks on the skin. The initial color is due to spilling of blood into the skin. Minor pain and swelling usually accompany these symptoms. These type of bruises will usually heal on their own within a few weeks and they will fade or change colors during the healing process.
The golden brown color that appears during the healing process is from hemosiderin, which is created by iron in the skin after the breakdown of red blood cells. Moderate to severe bruising can signify a much more serious problem. This type of bruising results from severe impacts such as car accidents, or major blows to the body. This can result in swollen hematomas, which can potentially cut off blood supply to surrounding tissue. In cases of severe bruising immediate medical attention is strongly urged.