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Does Paintball Leave Scars?

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There’s nothing like a good game of paintball to satisfy your thrill-seeking needs. At the end of the day, all players leave the game in perfect physical health, provided they follow the basic rules of safety. There are consequences for not following the rules. So does paintball leave scars?

Paintball fired at close range can leave nasty scars if they break the skin. The severity of the scar depends on the pellet’s speed, the distance it traveled before impact, and the body part it struck. You are susceptible to serious injuries if you are hit from at close range on unprotected areas of the body.

A flesh wound will inevitably leave a mark in the form of bruises and welts. Sometimes, in the heat of the moment, your senses may fail to pick up on a direct hit until the adrenaline wears off. The pain usually feels like a slight sting or a flick on the arm that fades quickly.

It's so important to make sure that you are always wearing a mask when you play paintball. You don't want to be hit in the eye by a paintball, ever! A bruise on your back or arm will eventually heal, but a paintball to the eye can cause serious damage. Don't play without a mask!

Paintball itself is a safe game if you follow the rules. But since the game involves shooting high-speed projectiles at close range, players jumping, running, falling, in various terrain, some minor injuries are inevitable. Anyone who ignores proper safety precautions will have to face the music. There is always a slim chance that paintball welts can leave a scar.

The Difference Between Bruises and Welts

Before we discuss how to take care of bruises and welts (which later develop into scars), we have to first distinguish between the two.

Paintball bruises are caused by blood leaking from ruptured vessels under the skin. A tiny amount of blood collects in one area and leaks into the surrounding tissue. Bruises come in different colors depending on how hard you get (or how much blood leaks out). The colors range from purple (for less severe shots) to black (for painful shots at close range). Most bruises will disappear in two to three weeks without requiring medical attention. Bruises will not leave any scars.

When it comes to paintball welts, you would feel more than just a ‘slight’ tickle as the fast-approaching paintball breaks the skin on impact, causing swollen blood vessels, tiny red bumps – all of which slightly raise the skin. Try not to touch the injured skin. For the most part, the welts should fade away faster than bruises.

13 Tips for Treating Paintball Bruises and Welts

Your immediate concern after getting hit is to minimize pain and reduce swelling of the skin. Although paintball welts and bruises are not alike, you can use the same treatment options on them both to ease swelling, discoloration, and inflammation. Here are 13 steps to follow.

1) Clean the Affected Skin

Before starting the treatment process, wash thee paintball welt or bruise with warm water. Mix the water with soap to remove any debris, blood, and dirt from the wound. It is important to keep the area clean to prevent skin infections. Now gently dry the paintball welt or bruise with a dry cloth. It is not advisable to apply alcohol to open wounds because the skin will burn or sting.

2) Vitamin K Cream to Treat Broken Capillaries

Most paintball players and sports aficionados use vitamin K cream to treat paintball welts and bruises. The best part about vitamin K cream is that you don’t need any prescription to buy them and can readily purchase them from any pharmaceutical store. Just make sure to read the instructions carefully before applying the cream on your skin. If you have skin disorders or are using other medications, make sure to consult with your doctor before using it. Some players like to apply the cream before stepping into the field.

3) Treat the Pain with Heat and Cold Compresses

It is recommended to treat the pain with heat and cold compresses to constrict the blood vessels that have been hit. This should minimize blood flow and relieve swelling and bruising. Once you’re able to control swelling and bruising, switch to warm or hot compress. Warm temperatures can soothe the pain and ease inflammation. Apply the cold or hot compress at regular 15-minute intervals. This should give your skin enough time in-between each interval.

4) Over the Counter Pain Medication

Most paintball pellets won’t cause enough pain to cause concern, but there is always a chance for extreme pain to occur. Make sure you have a pain reliever with you at all times just in case. Pop a pill after getting bruised. Pain-relieving pills are useful in helping you deal with the pain and can help relax your body. You can take an over-the-counter medication such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen for the best results. Just make sure to follow the directions. Consult with your doctor if you are on medical treatments.

5) Use Home Remedies

If you’re averse to using pain meds and want more natural alternatives, you can use the following methods to treat paintball related bruises and welts. These can be thought of as ‘home remedies’ and won’t cause any side effects. If the pain persists or the bruise refuses to fade away, you might want to get it checked by a doctor.

Banana and Potato skin – Applying banana and potato skin can heal bruises since they are both high in potassium. Simply apply the cream gently on the affected area and it will decrease the pain and ease the bruises.

Herbal Plants – Herbal plants like comfrey and Aloe Vera can treat inflammation and swelling. You can use plant extract as gels or ointments and apply them a few times per day for the best results.

6) Elevate the Bruised Area

To reduce further bruising and swelling, doctors advise elevating the affected area above the level of your heart. If the paintball pellet hits you on the shin, lie down on a bed or couch and prop up your leg. The idea is to prevent blood from pp9oling in the area to reduce inflammation and swelling.

7) Hot Bath with Epsom Salts

Whether a paintball pellet has injured you or not, a hot water bath is always a relaxing experience to help you unwind after an exhausting game of paintball. Double down on those Epsom salts if you have bruises on your body. Epsom salts or magnesium sulfate baths are easy to get, dissolve readily in water, and inexpensive. The biggest benefit of Epsom salt baths is the absorption of magnesium and sulfate in the blood. They soften the skin, reduce skin inflammation, relieve muscle aches, reduce muscle spasms, and help you feel rejuvenated. All in all, spend at least 20 minutes in the bathtub and you’ll be as good as new!

8) Apply Witch Hazel

Witch hazel is a natural topical astringent which is great at reducing swelling and pain. It is effective at treating paintball bruises and preferred by many paintball players, both new and old. The underlying healing principle is simple: the astringent contracts body tissues and keeps bleeding at bay. Witch hazel contains an active ingredient called tannis, which has potent anti-inflammatory properties. It also contains antioxidants to further aid in healing.

Applying this treatment is relatively simple. Just apply a few drops of witch hazel and hold it against the bruise for a few minutes. Do this two to three times a day for best results.  

9) Vitamin C

Just like vitamin K, vitamin C is also used to promote healing. Vitamin C can be found in gels, serums, and creams that can be applied topically. Apply a small amount of the cream or gel on the affected skin and wait for 24 hours.

10) Comfrey

Comfrey is used to treat inflammation and skin ailments. It has healing properties that can treat bruises. You can apply the cream to the bruise a few times every day to regenerate wounded tissue and increase the growth of healthy cells in the body.

11) Pineapple Extract

Pineapple extract contains bromelain, a powerful mixture of enzymes that have anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce swelling and bruising when topically applied to the skin. Oral supplements can cause side effects, so make sure you apply them topically two to three times a day.

12) Quercetin

Quercetin is a potent flavonoid with anti-inflammatory properties that can health scars. It is easily available as skin creams and gels to help bruises. Quercetin is also believed to fight free radicals due to its anti-oxidant properties, although it should not be taken orally since there isn’t enough research available.   

13) Resting for a Few Days

Sometimes it’s better to just take a few days off from paintball. Let the swelling on your skin reduce, take a couple of salt baths, and keep the injured area elevated if possible while resting.

Paintball Scar Prevention Tips

The best way to prevent paintball scars is to avoid getting hit by paintball pellets. This is easier said than done since paintball pellets will be flying all over the place! It cannot be stressed enough how important protective paintball gear is when it comes to keeping your skin safe. Here are some tips to stay safe on the field.

Wear Protective Gear

New players are guilty of this mistake every time before they learn the hard way. Paintball pellets will hurt exposed skin and in some cases, can even cause death. While we’re not asking you to treat the paintball field like an actual warzone and end up looking ridiculous, there are a few basic clothes you should wear, including the following:

a) Paintball Eyewear

Start with paintball visors, goggles, and helmets. A paintball pellet that hits you on the face is going to hurt badly, and if one of those high-speed balls hits the eye, it could result in permanent blindness. You should never take your paintball goggles off, even if you want to wipe the sweat off your brow! Many paintball visors can be worn over prescription glasses (known as OTG in the market). Make sure the paintball mask you choose meets the minimum safety requirements. After this, you can focus more on comfort, visibility, and even style.

b) Groin Cup Protection

Having no crotch protection in a game of flying bullets means inviting trouble. This is where groin protectors come in. They help absorb the full impact of incoming paintball pellets and prevent you from a world of pain. While crotch shots in paintball games are rare, if you are fairly regular on the field, you will have your fair share of them.

c) Neck Protection

The likelihood of getting hit in the neck is worth the trouble of buying proper neckwear. There is no need to wear specialist equipment if you don’t want to look overdressed, something as simple as a scarf around your neck will do just fine. Do keep in mind that the scarf will cause you to sweat much more than a full-fledged neck protector.

d) Protecting Your Hands

Never step into the paintball field without gloves because your hands will get hit since they are exposed whenever you aim at an opponent. Paintball gloves will not only take the sting out of hits and prevent hand injuries, but they will also prevent welts and bruises from ruining your day.

e) Covering your Upper Body

At this point, your chest is like a giant bulls-eye that will get shot since it has the largest surface area of your body and is fairly exposed. You do not want to be wearing light clothes because body shots can hurt real bad and leave a scar that won’t go away for a long, long time. A paintball jersey will allow your upper body to take a direct hit and keep going. Make sure the jersey is a few sizes bigger than your normal shirt.

f) Long Sleeves for Arm Protection

Long sleeves are a must-have since your arm will be exposed during gameplay. We like to overestimate the strength of our arms since they’ve done so much ‘work’. Trust us when we say this, the human arm is not designed to take a direct hit from a paintball pellet traveling at 280 feet per second. You can wear a paintball jersey (which always has full sleeves) or wear full-sleeved shirts if you don’t want to invest in specialized gear.

g) Covering the Legs

Your lower body shares one thing in common with your upper body: it’s going to get hit a lot. The easy choice is to buy paintball jerseys because they feature additional padding to absorb direct impacts, but you can wear thicker pants such as denim and jeans.

Calibrate Your Marker Properly

The most common cause of paintball scars is from markers that are shooting hot. This means the paintball is traveling faster than what is prescribed by the rules. Your marker should be calibrated to fire below 280 feet per second. These rules depend on the field where you are playing, so make sure to check on the rules before playing.

One common rule of gameplay is to never shoot a player who is closer than 20 feet to you. This is because paintball pellets are highly energetic at close range but lose their energy the longer (and further) they travel in the air. At farther distances, the energy mellows out and the only thing you’ll notice upon impact is the color left behind by the paint.  

Get Good at Paintball

Lastly, there’s always the proverbial advice: get good, or in internet language - git gud. This is, of course, easier said than done since you will have to train intensely every day to become a better player. Paintball simulates real-world shootouts and captures the essence of flying bullets. This means that the rules of safety are the same: take cover, reload, and fire away when the coast is clear. You will have to crouch, crawl, rollover, and perform a bunch of acrobatics to avoid the flying pellets.

Try reaching the paintball field before everyone else, learn the landscape and scout out important vantage points. It takes a fair bit of practice to get comfortable with paintball, but you will have to be patient and learn the fundamentals of the game.

Avoid Playing with Cheaters

You would be surprised to know how reckless people can get when it comes to their safety and that of the people around them. They have total disregard for rules and even resort to cheating. It is extremely important to be a part of a group where everyone agrees to follow the rules. This prevents injuries from occurring and ensures that the best player wins.

If people refuse to follow the basic rules of the game, disqualify them from the game and impose hefty penalties (such as permanent bans from the field). If you’re new, learn the rules. If a newbie comes along for the ride, teach them the basics before playing. Make sure everyone agrees to the rules so they won’t come up with the excuse, “I didn’t know any better.”

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