Self-harm - Scars
How can I deal with my scars?
You may have scars from your self-harm. You may feel embarrassed or feel guilty about your scars. Accepting your scars can be an important part of recovery. This can take time.
How can I deal with questions about my scars?
If people see your scars they might ask what happened. They may not realise that you have self-harmed. There is no ‘right’ way to respond. You might deal with things differently depending on who asks you.
You may want to tell people that your scars were caused by self-harm. Don’t tell them more than you are happy to. Don’t feel under pressure to tell anyone anything. You could think about what you want to say if someone asks you.
Avoid the question
If you don’t want to tell someone you can say:
- “it’s a long story”,
- “everything’s OK now”, or
- “I was in an accident”.
If they ask you for more details you could say “I’d rather not talk about it if that’s OK.” In the end it’s up to you what you say. You don’t have to explain or justify your scars to anyone. It isn’t anything to be embarrassed or ashamed of.
You could think about some responses you are happy with. Waiting until someone asks can put you on the spot. In those situations, you may not say what you wanted to.
How can I reduce my scars?
There are ways you can treat and disguise scars if you want to. Most scars will fade over time, but will never disappear. Not all of these will suit every type of scar. You can talk to your doctor about your scars and how to deal with them.
- Clothes. Long sleeved tops and trousers can hide scars.
- Corticosteroid injections. These are small injections into the scars to help reduce any swelling.
- Scar Plasters. These are silicone plasters you stick directly onto your scar. Such as hydrocolloid dressings. It can reduce swelling and redness.
- Surgery. Surgery may help. This is usually if the scar is causing issues with your movement or health.
- Dressings. Some bandages may help to reduce the swelling of scars. This is used more when there is a large area such as a burn or skin graft. It will help them become smoother and softer.
- Make-up. You can use special makeup for scars such as Varma Cover Cream or body makeup. Scar cover cream can be a bit more expensive than normal makeup. There are some online and telephone self-harm services you could ask if they have any more information. Their details are here.
- Laser therapy. Can be useful for light scarring, not deep scarring. You could discuss this option with a medical professional.
- Scar creams and oils. There isn’t a huge amount of research into how effective creams like vitamin E, Bio oil or coconut oil are for reducing scars. But the massage effect of rubbing them in and the moisture for the skin are good at softening scars.
You should not use scar plasters, make-up, creams or oils on fresh wounds. Keep fresh injuries clean and infection free. Good first aid or care for your wound can reduce scarring.
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