I know how you feel – I’ve been there. When the spring starts getting warmer my anxiety over my scars reappears, as punctual as ever. Summertime is not the best time for people with visible scars. The weather is hot and everyone around is enjoying themselves. While you would love to carelessly walk around in short sleeves and swimsuits and not worry about a thing, you sadly can’t.
Scars are still a taboo topic and socially unacceptable. They are imperfect, and sadly the media idealizes flawless skin and slim bodies. Picture-perfect people. When others see your scars it makes them curious. But because they don’t want to impose or come across as rude, they make up their own stories about your scars. Which is even worse.
So what to do with your scars in summer? Below are some ideas on how to cover up your scars.
Cover-up Temporary Tattoos
Remember the candy from childhood where you would get one of those tiny stick-on tattoos in the wrapper? I loved it. By applying warm water to the design you would get a nice temporary tattoo on your arm. I thought it was the coolest thing ever. Luckily these exist for adults too.
You can get temporary stick-on tattoos in almost all shapes and sizes. They usually last from 3-10 days. So while not ideal for the entire summer, they can be a good solution if you have to attend some special occasions
Henna Art to Cover your Scars
Tattoos made with henna are temporary and last from two to four weeks.
Henna art is an ancient practice that uses temporary brown dye rather than ink to create designs. While the form of body adornment dates back 5,000 years, it’s generally used today to express luck and happiness.
Henna paste is made from a powder derived from the henna plant. It’s been used for centuries as a natural dye for hair and nails, and now its most well-known use is for body art.
Most henna pastes include natural ingredients to elevate the natural colors, but black henna has gained recognition in recent years. This is a type of henna that’s been laced with a harmful substance to make it darker and last longer. These additives can pose major risks to the skin in the form of chemical burns and allergic reactions, so be careful to only buy henna with natural ingredients.
Remember the times when you wanted to wear a specific dress or attire for a special occasion? Or do 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. In the arts industry, 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 products available 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. This way they can show you step by step how to use camouflage make-up to conceal your scars. You can then practice at home.
Cover-up Tattoo Sleeves
Perhaps you have thought about a tattoo to cover your scars, but you don’t like the idea of a permanent tattoo. Instead of a real one, you can get a tattoo sleeve made of fabric. These don’t necessarily protect you from the sun so you would still need to apply sunscreen.
Fabric tattoo sleeves are usually made out of light materials and you can choose from a variety of designs. Some match your skin tone more than the others, so make sure you find the right fit for you.
These sleeves work well because they don’t fall off like temporary stick-on tattoos and don’t fade like henna. You can even try out different designs to see whether you would like to get a permanent tattoo.
Cover-up Sun Protection Sleeves
Cover-up sun protection sleeves are similar to tattoo protection sleeves, however, the main difference is that they are made out of thicker fabric. This means they protect your skin from the sun.
They come in various colors and designs but might feel a bit hot to wear. They are also obvious and make your arms stand out much more than a tattoo sleeve or temporary stick-on tattoo.
If you are going sailing or are spending most of your day out gardening then this might be a good solution.
Light clothing with long sleeves
You can continue wearing long-sleeves over the summer to protect yourself from the sun and the unwanted looks from others. The best approach to this is to find some light clothing made out of natural and breathable materials such as linen or hemp.
This kind of clothing will make it easier for you to go through the hottest days because it reduces your body’s sweating and provides protection from sunburn. You should be protecting your scars from the sunshine anyway, but wearing long-sleeved clothing makes it easier to prevent any sun damage to your scars.
Swimwear with long sleeves
We all have days where all you want is to relax on the beach and swim in the sea. Having to think about your scars and people constantly looking at you is exhausting. It’s not why you went on holiday.
To avoid having to deal with uncalled-for looks and attention you can get swimwear with long sleeves. These are available for both men and women and are not more expensive than regular swimwear. Actually, they can be very stylish as usually, surfers wear long-sleeve swimsuits.
If you have scars on your legs then you can find swimsuits that cover your whole body.
And now you can relax and go for that long-awaited seaside holiday!
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.
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.
I need your help. I’ve been sharing my story of living with scars to help others who might be in a similar position. You or your loved one might be dealing with prejudice and feeling unable to talk about their scars openly. By sharing how I cope and what I did to improve the look of my scars I hope to ease that burden a little and give you tools that helped me.
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