For those of you who carry self-harm scars on your body, you know that you survived and those scars only made you stronger. However, you are maybe facing prejudice and misconceptions from others. Other people might not understand what it means to have scars and what it’s like to live with them.
If your scars result from self-harm, which is a coping mechanism when dealing with mental health problems and pressures, then those judgments are even stronger. People often don’t understand the complexity and sometimes jump to conclusions and form opinions.
Self-harm behavior often leaves behind scars – both emotional and physical. The scars on your body remind you of the hard battles you fought or are still fighting every day.
But it doesn’t have to stay that way, you can do something about these scars. Not to say you should be ashamed of them, but to give you some sort of closure and an opportunity to accept them. To move on from that part of your life.
How to Improve the Appearance of Self-Harm Scars
You should know that your scars don’t have to remain a constant daily burden for you. Remember the pain you were once in? This pain is now gone. The same can happen with your scars. With the rapid developments in medicine, there are now a lot of scar removal treatments and scar concealing techniques available to you.
Even though completely removing self-harm scars is not possible, you can still improve their appearance. There are plenty of treatment options available. It’s best to consult scar specialists or plastic surgeons before you decide on any treatment.
I’ve put together a list of the most common treatments or concealing options for scars.
Laser Treatment for Scars
Self-harm scars laser removal is one of the most popular procedures for treating self-harm scars. It uses light therapy to reduce the appearance of the scar. The medical practitioner can use a variety of different lasers, depending on the underlying cause of your scar. During the procedure, you might feel a little irritation on your skin but this is completely normal. After 10 – 21 days, you can start seeing the results where your scars become less visible. Lasers may be used to smooth a scar, remove the abnormal color of a scar, or flatten a scar.
The success depends on the shape and size of your scars, but some have enjoyed great results using laser removal treatments. Most laser therapies for keloid scars are done in conjunction with other treatments. This can include injections of steroids, the use of special dressings, and the use of bandages. Multiple treatments may be required, regardless of the initial type of therapy.
Self-Harm Scars Skin Graft
A skin graft is a surgery where the surgeon reconstructs an area of your skin that has severe self-harm scars. Your scars might be too difficult to treat with a laser or the size of the affected area is too big. The surgeon will remove a thin layer of your healthy skin from another part of your body, the so-called donor area, and transplant it to the affected area with scars. The new skin masks the different skin tones of where the scars used to be and will therefore camouflage the nature of these scars.
Dermabrasion and Thin Skin Grafting
This procedure is also called Thin Skin Patch Procedure and was developed by a renowned surgeon Prof. Dr. Cengiz Acikel. He designed a new approach specifically for removing self-inflicted scars which are taboo in our society and receive a lot of judgment from others. The end results are amazing and this procedure camouflages the area where your self-harm scars have previously been because it’s less invasive than a regular skin graft the healing is faster and has fewer complications. If you want to read more about this surgery you can buy my book Living with Scars, where I describe my journey of living with scars and going through this breakthrough procedure.
Self-Harm Scar Revision
Scar revision is a surgical treatment for scars where the surgeon tries to minimize and blend the scar into the usual skin color of the surrounding unscarred skin. The surgeon will remove the scar formation with an incision, and place stitches to help close the wound. It helps to cover up and improve the aesthetics of your scarred skin but cannot actually erase the scar itself.
This procedure will remove the topmost layers of your skin, using a surgical scraping process. A specialist will remove older, damaged, and scarred skin and leave fresher, smoother skin underneath. You can use dermabrasion for scars such as acne or pox marks. They say that this procedure is less-effective for burns or self-harm scars.
A professional practitioner will inject steroids directly into the keloid scar tissue. This will help decrease the itching, redness, and burning sensations that these scars may produce. Sometimes, the injections also help to decrease the size of the scar.
Cryotherapy is a procedure where the scar is “frozen” off by medication. This treatment is often effective in conjunction with steroid injections for keloid scars.
Pressure therapy involved using a type of compression garment that is worn over the area of the keloid scar. Compression helps make your scars flatter and in line with your normal skin. You have to use these garments day and night for up to 4 to 6 months.
Stem Cell Therapy
Stem cells are crucial to the tissue healing response. These cells can therapeutically promote regenerative healing while minimizing scarring, however, the effects of stem cell therapies are still being researched. Using stem cell therapies to encourage the regeneration of healthy functional tissue will continue to expand.
Find The Best Treatment For Your Self-Harm Scars
You are going to have periods in your life where you will be up against all sorts of battles. But know that you can improve the look of your scars by using any of the above techniques and this will help you overcome the difficult memories of your past battles and breathe easier.
If your scars are smaller in size and less noticeable, then you could look at the cover-up techniques or concealing methods, such as make-up camouflage or medical tattooing.
Moving On From Your Scars
You can read my personal story about how I underwent reconstructive surgery that helped improve the look of my scars. I also published a book called Living With Scars, where I describe everything in a lot of detail.
I’m incredibly grateful to have found the right treatment for my scars and I hope you find it too!
Some other articles about scars:
- My Scars Affect My Life
- Women’s Swimsuits to Cover Up Scars
- Types of Scars
- 5 Best Treatments for your Acne Scars
- Scars Can Change Your Life
- Best Treatment for Self-Harm Scars in 2021
- Hypertrophic and Keloid scars – How to improve them
- How to Get Rid of Scars and Improve Your Skin
- Best Scar Removal Treatments in 2021
- Burn Survivor Shares Her Story – Burn Scars from Childhood