How to Hide Scars on Arms

It’s not always easy to cope in life. No matter the circumstances of your upbringing, your genetics, or your environment, anyone could be struggling. If you have survived the hardest challenges and overcame your difficulties, you might be left with scars on your arms. Those physical ones that you might be embarrassed about. Or you simply don’t wish to discuss them with random strangers or your friends and colleagues at work.

What are Self-Harm Scars?

Self-harm is when you hurt yourself on purpose. You usually do it because something else feels wrong. It seems like the only way to let those feelings out.

For those of you reading this without having a first-hand experience with self-harm you might think this is very rare, but it’s actually very common behavior in young people. It affects around one in 12 people, with 10% of 15-16-year-olds self-harming.

self harm scars

Why do people self-harm?

If you self-harm, it is usually a result of another problem. It can happen if you are feeling anxious, depressed, stressed, or bullied and feel you don’t have any other way of dealing with these issues.

Self-harming can bring some temporary relief. Sometimes it feels like no one understands why you self-harm, but lots more people today know about what the condition really means.

Ways people self-harm

  • Cutting or carving into your skin
  • Burning your skin
  • Picking or scratching at your skin
  • Biting yourself
  • Pulling your hair
  • Eating poison
  • Exercising excessively
  • Over-eating or under-eating
  • Inserting objects into your body
  • Hitting yourself or walls
  • Misusing alcohol, prescription, and recreational drugs
  • Having unsafe sex
  • Getting into fights where you know you will get hurt

Scars that are a result of self-harm

Self-harm scars are the results of intentionally hurting yourself, whether that’s cutting, burning, or scratching your skin. These scars usually appear as lines, which are scattered in no particular order or they can appear to be a pattern. Some people have very small and thin self-harm scars, and others can have large and deep scars, that can sometimes become raised due to excessive collagen.

Impact of Self-Harm Scars

Although self-harm may provide a temporary feeling of relaxation and stress, the consequences of self-harm behavior can be life-changing. If you self-harm by cutting or burning, there will be scars left on your body. These scars can trigger painful memories and are often seen as socially unacceptable.

If you are having a hard time dealing with your self-harm scars, it’s important to seek professional help to develop coping techniques and build resilience.

The arms, legs, and torso are the most common areas where people self-harm. Some people can self-harm in more than one way. People who self-harm say that their scars bring them shame and embarrassment, making them want to hide their bodies out of fear of being stared at, judged, or ridiculed by others.

If you decide you would like to remove self-harm scars or minimize their appearance, you can first try less invasive treatments such as camouflage makeup or covering self-harm scars with clothing or bracelets.  

In this article, I will explain methods on how to hide or conceal these scars.

self harm scars

How to conceal self-harm scars

It’s not possible to completely remove or erase self-harm scars, but there are many ways you can use to minimize or camouflage their appearance. To prevent judgments and unwanted attention from people, you can first try to conceal your self-harm scars. There are quite a few affordable ways to conceal or hide your scars.

Skin-Tone Bandages

You can use breathable skin-tone bandages to conceal your scars. These can also be waterproof and can stay on your skin all day. They come in some skin tones but definitely, it will be a bit more difficult to find an exact match for your skin.

Clothes

Wearing long-sleeves can hide your self-harm scars, so you don’t have to be confronted by colleagues, friends, and family. During the summer months when it gets hot you can try wearing light fabrics such as linen clothing, sheer tops, and fine lace cardigans. There is also plenty of choices to buy long-sleeve swimwear.

Bracelets

You can hide the scars on your arms with bracelets. There are countless options and styles available. This approach is more useful for smaller self-harm scars on the lower end of your arms.

Camouflage Make-up

If you wanted to wear a specific dress or attire for a special occasion or you just feel like wearing short sleeves, you can try camouflage make-up. This is the same type of make-up that is used in theatres where the make-up is of such quality, that it can create illusions and completely cover up all sorts of things. In the same way, it can create an illusion of a scar or a wound, it can completely conceal tattoos and scars.

There are a lot of professional make-up providers on the market, but you might not have the knowledge of how to apply it properly to achieve the desired results. I would suggest making an appointment with a camouflage make-up artist so that they can show you step by step how to use camouflage makeup to conceal your scars. You can then practice at home.

Tattooing Over Scars

There have been a lot of successful stories of people using tattoos to cover up their scars, most often self-harm scars. If you like the idea of turning your scars into art then this might be the answer for you. To make sure this is successful you need to find a tattoo artist that specializes in these types of tattoos and has previous experience. The tattoo artists will also suggest the right colors and

Another example would be self-harm scars and tattoo cover-ups. Although this method works for many scar types, it can cause more scarring if the scar being covered is a keloid scar. If the keloid scar is new, then the individual must wait at least a year before covering it up with a tattoo.

Medical Tattooing or Micro-Pigmentation

Permanent micro-pigmentation or medical tattooing is a technique where a practitioner implants a custom color pigmentation into the dermal layer of your skin. This way they can create 3D realistic visual reproductions of lost tissue areas.

Medical Tattooing can help with the long-term visible effect, but it will never remove the scar. It may improve the discoloration and the texture of the scar.

The layers of skin implanted with a colored pigment will take away the whiteness of the scarring, and help to make the whole area less noticeable. This is called scar camouflage.

To promote optimal healing you need to protect the treated area from the sun, cosmetics, and water. If you look after your skin then your medical tattoo will last between 3 and 5 years and can be refreshed if needed.

Other Ways to Manage Your Self-Harm Scars

If you are looking for more than just concealing or hiding your self-harm scars, then you can try one of the scar removal treatments. While no method will be able to erase your scars, you can achieve a great improvement in how your scars look. It will help you move on and come to peace with your past.

Thinking of my own experience when I underwent reconstructive surgery which helped improve the look of my scars, it has been a tough decision but so worth it. A heavy burden fell off my shoulders and I can go on with my life feeling lighter.

You can read my personal story of dealing with scars in my book Living With Scars.

Living with scars book

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