Paintball Bruises and How to Treat Them

Paintball bruises are caused by the impact of the paintball on, usually unprotected, skin or areas covered only by a thin fabric. They’re usually round, with a red centre going to white and back out to purple.

Large paintball bruises can be painful, and these bruises and welts can last up to two weeks, but on the whole they look worse than they actually are. You may just want to cover them up if you want to avoid questions about where they came from.

We’re going to look at that, and how to treat them, below - as well as what you can do to minimise or even avoid them!

What are the best paintball bruise treatments?

As long as the skin isn’t broken, then the best thing you can do is clean the area thoroughly. It might sting a bit, but there should be nothing to worry about. The bruise will fade in time.

A cold compress will help with the swelling and aggressive look of paintball bruises, while Arnica cream is also helpful if it’s safe for you to use.

If the skin is broken, which is quite a rare occurrence, then clean the area carefully and use antiseptic cream before applying a dressing. This, with light compression, will help reduce the swelling.

If the bruise isn’t in a place that you can cover up easily, then concealer will help them be less noticeable.

paintball player with a paintball gun

How Do I Avoid the Paintball Bruise or a Paintball Welt in the first place?

Don't play paintball! It’s an option, but let's be real - that's not the answer! Paintball is a lot of fun, and the best way to raise and release adrenaline. It's also a very safe sport when the rules are followed. There’s also a huge range of gear that can help prevent paintball bruises.

Starting with the head, we should choose our paintball mask or goggles wisely. Full head protection is the safest bet, but also the hottest and steamiest on a warm day, so good chin protection and forehead protection are what to look for.

Then you might want to invest in neck protection and some extra head protection. A neck protector will lessen the impact of a neck shot. The Exalt Bounce Cap will not only protect you, but you might even get the paintball bouncing rather than breaking, no bruises or long walks back to the respawn point!

Your torso is the biggest target and the most likely to be hit by a paintball. The best way to protect yourself is using layers, so we'd recommend a shirt - like an army shirt or a paintball bounce shirt - and on top we'd add a paintball chest protector or a padded paintball vest.

For your arms, full coverage is our recommendation. If you've got to wear a t-shirt then get some arm protectors or elbow pads. Definitely invest in gloves - it's almost a guarantee that the only time someone will shoot you in the knuckles is when you're not wearing gloves - that are padded at the knuckle.

Lower down, you're in danger of what's referred to as the nut shot!

This, like the shot to the hand, will probably only ever happen when you’re not wearing protection. You might look like you’re wearing a codpiece from the middle ages but anyone who knows will not even blink at this piece of kit.

If this look isn't for you, then take a look at the padded slide shorts. These are a good alternative, but for total protection then paintball players pants are the way to go. These aren’t cheap, but they'll definitely save you from having to explain the Paintball Bruises away.

Is paintball safe?

Paintball has an excellent safety record, and it’s a very exciting and competitive sport. It’s the closest a lot of people will come to experiencing combat outside of video games, and it is a great way to exercise, too.

That said, there are risks if players don’t follow the rules. These are created to keep people safe and ensure everyone has the best time. Bruises might be common, but now you know what to do about them, they shouldn’t worry you too much. If you’re looking for advice related to injuries and conditions, we’d recommend speaking to a medical specialist. For anything else, contact our team.

Get out there and try it. You’ll see just how much fun it is!