advertisement

Do Self-Harm Scars Ever Go Away?

March 19, 2020 Kim Berkley

Do self-harm scars ever go away? Let's discuss the answers to that question.

Some scars are a source of pride. We show them off; we point to them and say, "Look at what I survived." Some of us remember that iconic scene in Jaws when the boys sing old sea shanties and cheerfully compare their battle scars. But self-inflicted wounds aren't always so easy to share, and there are some scars we would rather not bear. Do these self-harm scars ever truly go away?

How Long Do Self-Harm Scars Take to Go Away?

How long it will take for self-harm scars to go away is different for everyone. Every body heals differently. Whether self-injury will result in scarring depends on the type and severity of the injury. Minor injuries often fade entirely after a handful of days; major ones are more likely to leave a lasting mark. Other factors—such as medical conditions or medications—may also impact the healing process. Some scars can take up to two years to fade completely.

Applying first aid to a fresh wound can promote healing and minimize scarring. But let's say it's been two years, four, perhaps even a decade or more—and the scars are still there. Will those self-harm scars ever go away?

The answer, unfortunately, is "probably not." Scars that don't fade within two years tend to be permanent.1 However, it's important to remember that:

  • You are not your scars. They are part of you, but they do not define you.
  • Scars are a sign of healing; they are your body's way of keeping old wounds closed.
  • You can cover your scars in a safe and healthy way, should you need to. 
  • However, you have nothing to be ashamed of.

It's up to you to decide who gets to see your scars. It's also up to you to decide how you see your own scars—and to do the hard work of healing the invisible ones that lie beneath them.

Living with Self-Harm Scars That Don't Go Away

The scars on my arm are hairline-thin, white and almost invisible against my pale skin—completely unnoticeable to the casual observer. But I see them every time I reach out to turn off my bedside lamp, and they still itch sometimes when life starts to feel overwhelming.

You don't have to love your scars—I certainly don't love mine—but you can learn to live with them, and to cope with the triggers and the urges you associate with them. It isn't easy, though; it takes constant practice and a lot of patience.

I don't wake up every day admiring the body I see in the mirror. But I don't fixate on my scars anymore, either. I see them, but they no longer blind me to the rest of who I am as a person, or who I might yet become.

Scars, after all, are a product of the past. You can't undo the past—but you can put it behind you, one day at a time.

 

 

Sources:

1. Scars, National Health Service. Accessed March 2, 2020.

APA Reference
Kim Berkley (2020, March 19). Do Self-Harm Scars Ever Go Away?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2022, December 7 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/speakingoutaboutselfinjury/2020/3/do-self-harm-scars-ever-go-away



Author: Kim Berkley

Find Kim on Instagram, Facebook and her blog.

Liz
November, 2 2022 at 5:04 pm

Hi!
I’ve been clean for almost a year and you van still see the scars. I know I shouldn’t be ashamed of that but I am. People have made comments and pretty mean stuff about my scars. Like it makes me feel weak. I’m mad at myself bc I should have stopped myself. The scars make me really insecure and weak. I always think what others think of me bc of my scars. I know I should be proud of myself not doing it again but there’s still the quilt. I’ve been hiding my scars, only some people have seen it and it made me really anxious. Idk what to do and how to make them disappear so that I can finally be brave to wear whatever I want.

November, 9 2022 at 11:07 am

Hi Liz,
First off, try not to minimize what you've accomplished. Staying clean for almost a year is massive progress. :)
I'm sorry that others have made you feel bad about your scars. I know it's hard not to internalize that, even though you're right—you don't need to be ashamed of your scars. (For what it's worth—you may feel weak, but you're not. It takes strength to survive and to heal.)
Unfortunately, if your scars are more than a year old, I'm not sure that you can force them to fade much more at this point, short of scar removal surgery—which I would recommend saving as a last resort. I wrote about that here:
https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/speakingoutaboutselfinjury/2022/1/is-self-harm-scar-re…
You might have to consider other options that will allow you to leave them uncovered—is there a believable cover story you could use anytime someone asked about them? (Maybe you tried to help a feral cat, or hurt yourself in the kitchen by accident?) This option really depends on what your scars look like, and how well the person knows you and your life.
Some folks also use tattoos to cover them, although some have expressed concern that tattoos can also be a form of self-harm for some folks. This would be entirely up to you. Instead of a real tattoo, you could maybe use temporary tattoos or even other forms of body art, like henna or body paint—this of course depends on your personal style/preferences as well as dress code requirements in different situations, like work or school.
Finally, makeup can be a pretty versatile option—if your scars aren't too puffy or raised, see if you can find a good foundation and/or concealer that matches the skin tone where the scars are. If the scars are in a place they might rub off, you might look at theatrical body paint options—makeup that is made to resist wear and tear and sweat.
I've written a few articles about cover-up options in the past:
https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/speakingoutaboutselfinjury/2021/7/self-harm-scar-cover…
https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/speakingoutaboutselfinjury/2022/3/hiding-self-harm-sca…
Ultimately though, if your scars don't go away (and I suspect they won't), the best thing would be to try and work through that guilt you're feeling. I know it's not easy, but if you're interested, I've written a bit about this too:
https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/speakingoutaboutselfinjury/2022/7/feeling-guilty-about…
I hope all of that helps. If you have more questions or concerns, feel free to reply here or elsewhere on the blog. Take care!
Sincerely,
Kim

Terri
October, 15 2022 at 3:24 pm

Hi I'm Terri.
Love what I read because I did self harm one day this month because of stress and a slight Uti so when you feel too emotional 😢 and feel like it's something besides Depression see if it's a Uti . I hate that I did it but it doesn't define me and I shouldn't feel guilty or ashamed. I guess I feel that way sometimes like I might be judged wrongly because some people think that you're trying to kill yourself and take the easy way out. Not true anyways it's pretty long and deep had to be sewn up with sutures. Sorry for anyone that self harms due to how bad mine is I promised people and myself that I would never do it again

October, 17 2022 at 1:02 pm

Hi Terri,
Thank you for your comment. I'm sorry for what you've been going through, but I'm glad if what I wrote helped you at all. It's good to hear that you're trying your best to stay away from self-harming in the future. We have a resources page if you need any help connecting with information or services related to recovery:
https://www.healthyplace.com/other-info/resources/mental-health-hotline-numbers-and-refer…
Take care. If you have any further comments or questions, feel free to reply here or elsewhere on the blog. I'll be reading. :)
Sincerely,
Kim

Poison
September, 22 2022 at 11:44 am

I have some self harm scars now which I am proud of I survived but it also really makes me want to try and get more scars for some reason. I dont know why tho

October, 10 2022 at 6:04 pm

Hi Poison,
You should absolutely be proud to have survived. That being said, I do understand that feeling of wanting more scars—I've felt that too, in the past. The important thing is recognizing that this feeling will fade with time, and that it is not worth gaining more just to satisfy that urge.
Wishing you all the best,
Kim

Makayla
August, 22 2022 at 8:38 pm

Hey im 15 im going to school and i cut my wrisk and arm because im mad and sometime im deperresse and i cut myself idk what to do do i have to talk to one. Of my teacher at school

September, 12 2022 at 3:36 pm

Hi Makayla,
I'm sorry about what you're going through. I know it isn't easy, and it can be really overwhelming at first when you want to get better but aren't sure how or where to start. I definitely think reaching out to someone would be a good first step. Many schools (at least in the U.S.) have free counseling programs; if your school has something like this, I think that would be a great place to start. Even just talking to a teacher, if you have one you trust and like well enough to talk to about something like this, could be a good first step.
You might also want to check out our resources page, which includes some websites and even some hotlines you can go to for information and guidance:
https://www.healthyplace.com/other-info/resources/mental-health-hotline-numbers-and-refer…
I hope that helps! If you have more questions or concerns, feel free to reply here or elsewhere on the blog, and I'll try and get back to you as soon as I can. Take care.
Sincerely,
Kim

Anida
July, 28 2022 at 10:14 am

It's been about 2.5 years since I last self harmed. The light coloured scars are easily visible on my tanned skin. Every time people see them they expect an explanation. The most annoying part is when my family forgets about it and they want me to explain again. I don't own anyone an explanation. I've been telling people my cat is responsible because it's easier. When ever I say that they don't have follow up questions. They have no idea the weight they might carry. I just hope that all of those who are recovering stop getting shamed for their past.

July, 29 2022 at 12:18 pm

Hi Anida,
Thanks for your comment. You're absolutely right that you don't owe anyone any kind of explanation; your scars, like your story, belong to you and no one else. I'm sorry it's been so frustrating for you, but I'm glad at least that it's been so long since you last self-harmed. 2.5 years is huge! In cases like yours, cover stories can definitely be helpful; while it can be important to talk to others about what you've been through, not EVERYONE needs to know, and you shouldn't be forced to disclose it to anyone you don't want to. Especially if you have good reason to believe they won't be understanding or supportive.
Maybe it would be possible to get a little healthy distance from the people in your life who are constantly questioning you—if you live together, for example, maybe you'll eventually be able to move out so that you don't have to deal with their questions as often. Or if you'd like some ideas for covering up your scars (NOT that you should have to, but it might be convenient to do so until your circumstances change), let me know!
Sincerely,
Kim

aaliyah
November, 5 2022 at 4:07 pm

hey ive been going through something similar and my dad saw my scars, he asked me to explain everything. i didnt want to and he grounded me. my life has been kinda tough and when i tried to talk to my “friend” she compared my life to hers. she was spewing all these lies saying “oh why are you sad you have a dog and parents i dont even have parents” meanwhile on snap she was posting her mom and her dog. it sucks having my feelings invalidated and im so sorry for anyone who has to go through this and its been getting hard to hide my scars. i have some on my upper forearm and on my shoulder. they make me very insecure and i hate having to hide them every time i go to my dads house. i hope anyone else who goes through this recovers and i wish them the best.

November, 9 2022 at 11:21 am

Hi Aaliyah,
I'm sorry to hear about the situation with your dad and especially with your friend. It was kind of you to reach out to others and wish them well; I want you to know that I wish you well too, and I hope you can find someone more suitable to talk to about what you're going through. If not your father or your friend, perhaps someone else in your life? If nothing else, you can always try and see if your school has free counseling services you can check out—even if you don't tell them everything up front, just being able to talk about the fact that you're struggling can be a good first step.
Thanks again for your comment. If you have any further questions or suggestions, feel free to reply here or elsewhere on the blog.
Sincerely,
Kim

Sarah
June, 28 2022 at 9:00 am

Oh my gosh I didn't expect to cry when I read the line 'You are not your scars. They are part of you, but they do not define you.' but here I am with tears in my eyes! I haven't self-harmed for maybe 7/8 years now, but I still have small silver scars on my forearm - no one seems to notice them as I am naturally very pale, but they always catch my eye.
I've come a long way since those days (thank you medicine and support systems), and I try to see these as battle scars and a reminder of how far I have come, however I do struggle sometimes with the thought of always having a reminder of my darkest days etched into my skin.
But, as you said, they do not define me. I am more than my mental health issues and my past struggles, but they made me who I am today, so I am trying to learn to accept them as just a part of me and to not feel shame - I wouldn't pass judgement on anyone for their scars, so what makes me so different?

July, 18 2022 at 11:51 am

Hi Sarah,
I'm so glad that my words meant so much to you, and I'm very glad to hear about your recovery! Your scars sound a lot like mine, and your struggles with them sound awfully familiar too. But you're absolutely right—there's no reason to judge others for their scars, and no reason to judge yourself so harshly, either. You deserve your own compassion as much as anyone else does. :)
Thank you so much for sharing this, it means the world to know I'm able to help at all, even a little. Take care!
Sincerely,
Kim

Alice
June, 23 2022 at 7:33 am

Hi,
I self harmed for a few weeks, ending a fortnight ago. I’m OK with seeing my scars (I don’t get triggered and I’m not inclined to do it again) and my parents know about them, but I still feel apprehensive about letting them see the scars and talking to them about it. However, I’m going on a swim camp soon, and need to sort something out (like long swim pants or something). How do I start that conversation?

June, 27 2022 at 4:03 pm

Hi Alice,
I'm so glad that you've begun to heal and that your parents at least know of your situation, if not all the details yet. Even so, I can imagine it's difficult to broach a topic like this—I came out about it to my parents when I started writing for this blog, and it was so hard to start talking, even when I knew they would be understanding about it all (and it was all many years behind me at that point).
I think the best place to start is an honest place. Maybe start by bringing up swim camp generally, and then explain to them what you're worried about and why. I am hopeful that if they know already about your self-harm, that they will understand why you're concerned. You may not need to show them your scars at all, unless they ask.
Also, if you need any ideas for cover-up options beyond long swimwear, here are some posts that might help:
https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/speakingoutaboutselfinjury/2022/3/hiding-self-harm-sca…
https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/speakingoutaboutselfinjury/2021/9/self-harm-scars-in-t…
I hope that helps. Feel free to reply here or elsewhere on the blog if you have any more questions, comments, or concerns. I wish you the best of luck with your recovery, and with swim camp!
Sincerely,
Kim

anon
May, 24 2022 at 9:29 pm

i used to sh on my left arm and thighs about 9-10 months ago (thats also how long ive been clean) and they are still pretty visible. when i did them i didnt have many friends and spent most of my time alone. now i have a lot more friends and i want to do things like swimming and since its getting hotter out i want to wear shorts and short sleeves. i wear jeans with holes in them where my scars show and most of my friends know about my scars on my thighs and dont care. but im still worried bc they dont know about the scars on my arms. they arent judgemental people but im still scared bc i dont think im ready for anyone to see those scars and i know thats ok. do you think these scars will ever fade?

anon
May, 31 2022 at 11:56 pm

something ive used that help my scars on my left arm fade was mederma, it didnt make it go away completely but it made them fade. but you should know you dont have anything to be ashamed of about your scars.

June, 6 2022 at 10:52 am

Hi,
I'm so glad to hear you have friends now and seem to be in a better place than you were 9-10 months ago. You're absolutely right—to whom you show your scars, and when, is your decision to make and shouldn't be rushed. I do hope you feel comfortable enough to share them with your loved ones one day, if they don't fade. Regarding your question—I'm afraid I can't offer you a definite "yes" or "no," as I'm not a doctor and every person's body is different and heals at a different rate. I do know that the longer scars stick around, the less likely they are to fully fade away, so it's possible yours may not. If, in the meantime, you need some other options to maintain your privacy, check out these posts:
https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/speakingoutaboutselfinjury/2021/9/self-harm-scars-in-t…
https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/speakingoutaboutselfinjury/2022/3/hiding-self-harm-sca…
I hope that helps! Feel free to reply here or comment elsewhere if you have any more questions, comments, concerns, etc., and I'll reply as soon as I can. I hope you're able to enjoy this summer to its fullest. :)
Take care,
Kim

Evelyn
November, 5 2022 at 4:04 am

Hey . Knowing that I'm not alone makes me feel better , but even so I'm still not very good at talking to people ... at all ,and with the self harming part it's a lot harder since I have to hide them. It's now worse since I go to a school were you have to wear uniforms ,and we'll mine is pretty unfortunate. I have to where short sleeves and long Kaky pants . My skin is kinda dark and we'll with my white looking scars it... it doesn't look so swell . With permanent scars and being in middle school is very hard. Yah know. Especially when you're at a age where rumors start spreading like wild fire. It's very hard .

November, 9 2022 at 11:17 am

Hi Evelyn,
I can see how school uniforms would make things even more difficult, with your scars being so visible and all. I'm so sorry—middle school is hard enough without that added stress. The good news is, middle school—and high school, for that matter—don't last forever, although it can seem like they will at times.
As for talking to people—honestly, there are still days when I feel like I'm bad at it, despite the fact that it's been part of my job for many years now. Opening up about such a vulnerable topic can be especially harrowing. I hear you—I know it's tough. The main thing is to practice—and to start small. Baby steps are okay; you don't have to jump into a full disclosure with anyone right off the bat. Even people who don't fully know what you're going through can be part of your support network if you're able to just let them know that you're having a hard time and appreciate having someone around to listen to you or distract you—whatever you need at the time.
Sometimes things won't go over well. Sometimes it will feel like you messed up big time, and you might wonder if you can come back from it. Generally, though, you can. One little trick I used to use a lot when I felt overwhelmed was to gain perspective by asking myself, "Ten years from now, will this still matter?" You'd be surprised how often the answer is no. And if the answer is yes—that's helpful too. That lets you know that what you're trying to do is worth trying to do—whether it works out or not.
I hope that helps. I'm here if you need to talk more.
Sincerely,
Kim

trin
June, 22 2022 at 11:50 am

if they are true friends they will accept you for you. for your flaws, for your perfections, for your scars, etc. they know about your thighs without judgement, they won't judge you bout your wrist scars. pls don't worry. :)

June, 27 2022 at 3:50 pm

Hi Trin,
I believe this, too. Some people may struggle to understand self-harm if they've never had personal experience with it. But even if they don't understand, part of friendship is being willing to TRY to understand, and to accept, and most of all, to do what you can to help your friends heal when they need to. :)
-Kim

Francesca
May, 15 2022 at 3:57 pm

hi I have a few scars on my arm and as it’s coming up to summer I won’t be able to hide them but I used a razor and there not really deep it’s only as if you cut your leg whilst shaving but how long do you think they will last and how to make them go away quicker

May, 18 2022 at 1:18 pm

Hi Francesca,
Thank you for your comment. I wish I could give you a concrete answer to your question, but I am not a doctor, and everyone's body is different—I can't give you an exact timeline for when, or even if, your scars will heal and fade completely. If they are recent and shallow, it is likelier that they will heal and fade soon, possibly entirely. The longer you've had them, the lower the chance that they will completely go away on their own. The best thing you can do is to take good care of the skin in the affected area. Keep it clean, maybe use aloe gel or a lotion containing vitamin E, to encourage healing (just be sure you use a product that's safe for your skin type, and don't go overboard). Otherwise, it's somewhat up to nature whether they will fade or not.
You do have options for removing them in the future if you deem it necessary. In the meantime, if they don't fade in time, I've written a few pieces about hiding scars in the summer:
https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/speakingoutaboutselfinjury/2022/3/hiding-self-harm-sca…
https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/speakingoutaboutselfinjury/2021/9/self-harm-scars-in-t…
I hope those articles help, and I hope you and your scars begin healing soon. Let me know if you have any other questions/concerns/comments/etc. Take care.
Sincerely,
Kim

anon
May, 14 2022 at 9:06 pm

About october-ish I started sh due to problems with my boyfriend. I was 13 at the time, I'm 14 now and told my boyfriend that when we got low I did sh, and we talked about it. After that I didn't feel as guilty about not telling him and forgot about it. My addiction was pretty hard. It was almost like even when we were good I needed those scars, I felt like I needed to sh. I did about 20 scratches per thigh a day. I had an addiction to it until December, and I've thankfully gotten out of it. I wore shorts today and I saw these very faded scars. It's been 4 months and I've overcome the sh but when I saw the scars faded, I felt like I had to make more. The urge is horrible and I just need to not do it again because summer is coming again and I want to be able to wear things I want. What do I do?

May, 19 2022 at 11:01 am

Hello,
Thank you for your comment. Know that it's not unusual to feel this way—I've seen many comments (since I started writing here) about fading scars triggering urges to self-harm again, even long after the recovery period has begun. I'm glad that you're trying to keep from going back to self-harming—and that you decided to reach out for some support in doing so.
Before I suggest anything, a reminder: I am not a therapist or mental health professional. I would strongly urge you to connect with one if you feel able to—I think that kind of dedicated support would help you not only with your current predicament, but any other complications that might arise during the healing process.
That being said, there are two things that I personally think are worth considering:
1) Do you think covering your scars completely would help, or make the urges worse? It's possible that if your eye isn't drawn to them in the first place, they might be less triggering for you. If you're not already doing so, be sure to take good care of the skin in that area and think about whether wearing simple coverup makeup, super-lightweight tights/leggings, or even just slightly longer shorts (depending on where your scars are) might help reduce the effect your scars are having on you. If you try this, keep tabs on how you're feeling—if it makes your urges worse in any way, stop right away.
2) The other, more sustainable option (in fact, I would urge you to consider this even if you also try covering them up) is to work on managing your stress and managing your response to this trigger. Since you can't completely avoid your scars (or the fact that they've faded), the main thing is to work through your feelings about this and find ways to cope when the urges come on. I've written a few articles about this, hopefully you will find something useful in them:
https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/speakingoutaboutselfinjury/2021/2/using-self-harm-urge…
https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/speakingoutaboutselfinjury/2021/10/emotional-regulatio…
https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/speakingoutaboutselfinjury/2022/5/alternatives-to-usin…
https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/speakingoutaboutselfinjury/2022/3/self-harm-recovery-c…
I hope that helps. Feel free to reply here or comment elsewhere on the blog if you have more questions, concerns, etc. Take care.
Sincerely,
Kim

Miguel
May, 12 2022 at 9:55 am

When I was at my worst point I’d say I cut myself pretty badly. I didn’t have any intent to kms I just wanted to feel something and pain happened to help. My last cut was my turning point but now I just want any info as to help it fade away any faster. I took a knife to my shoulder and cut myself deep. To the point where the flesh was visible for a second before blood started pouring out. I was too afraid to get help. I held myself together with zip ties and tissues and I didn’t stop bleeding for the next 3 days. That was all around a year ago from now I believe. Now I’m left with this big pink scar that’s very apparent and a couple smaller ones. Im here asking what’s the best process/aids for these to fade away. I intend on tattooing over them once they’ve healed enough and leaving all the thoughts with them behind. Any help is greatly appreciated.

May, 13 2022 at 1:58 pm

Miguel,
Thanks for your comment. I'm so sorry that you hurt yourself so extensively. That must have been stressful, to go through that on your own. I know what it's like to feel like self-harm is the only way you can get through things; I hope you've been able to discover some other, healthier ways to cope soon. Have you tried reaching out to a therapist or anyone like that? It sounds like you could benefit from some extra support, if that option is at all available to you—even if you've been able to stop since that last time. I'll link to our resources page just in case:
https://www.healthyplace.com/other-info/resources/mental-health-hotline-numbers-and-refer…
That being said, there's no way to force your body to heal faster than it can. If your scars are over a year old, the good thing is you no longer have to worry about infections or anything like that. The best you can do is to practice good skin care—keep your skin clean, maybe try applying aloe gel or a lotion containing vitamin E to see if it helps the scars fade. They still might, but know that it's also possible they might not. Tattoos are one way I know many people have been able to turn permanent scars into something they like—our other (former) writer, Martyna, had a few.
If you haven't yet, you might also want to reach out to a dermatologist. You don't have to explain your scars, although they certainly might ask about how you got them. But a dermatologist is an expert in skin-care; a good one might be able to give you some answers that I cannot.
I hope this is helpful, and I hope you enjoy your new tattoos once you get them. I wish you the best of luck with your recovery. If you have any more questions or concerns, feel free to reply here or comment elsewhere on the blog. I'll be here.
Sincerely,
Kim

Max
May, 9 2022 at 8:39 pm

Hey im Max!
I’ve been sh for a little over 2 years but ive been doing it on my stomach and thighs because they are easier to hide but recently i had like a really rough time and i didnt think and i just did it on my arms/wrists. The problem now is that i have this party soo and its gonna be like 30 degrees celcius and so i have no excuse to wear long sleave and i cant miss it. The wounds are healed but now there are scars that are probably gonna disappear in a couple of weeks but i really need a way to speed up the process!

May, 13 2022 at 1:49 pm

This is a great idea. Depending on where the scars are, bracelets and wraps and such can sometimes be an easy way to hide scars in situations where it may be best to keep them to yourself.

May, 13 2022 at 1:48 pm

Hi Max,
I'm sorry to hear you've been having a rough time. I hope you'll be able to stop self-harming at some point—there are a variety of resources on the blog and on the site in general whenever you want to use them. I'll link to the main self-injury page for now:
https://www.healthyplace.com/abuse/self-injury/self-injury-homepage
That being said, let's talk about your scars. It's definitely true that wearing warm clothes in warm conditions isn't an ideal solution. Would it be possible to not hide your scars? Depending on who will be at the party, would it possibly be a good idea to share your scars (maybe ahead of time) and talk things through?
If not, you do have options for hiding them. I've covered several in these blogs:
https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/speakingoutaboutselfinjury/2022/3/hiding-self-harm-sca…
https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/speakingoutaboutselfinjury/2021/9/self-harm-scars-in-t…
As for healing them, that's obviously the best thing to do, but keep in mind that you really can't force your body to heal any faster than it's going to. What you CAN do is help the healing process along by taking care of the skin in the affected area—keep it clean, especially the wounds, don't pick scabs, and maybe use aloe gel or an antibacterial ointment (make sure it is safe for your skin first--always patch test new products on a small area of skin first to make sure you don't have a reaction). Some people say products containing vitamin E help scars fade faster, but it's not guaranteed. If you do use any products, try to stick to one—don't apply aloe AND ointment AND lotion all at once. :)
I hope this helps. If you have more questions or concerns, feel free to reply here or comment elsewhere on the blog. I hope your party goes well—and as I said, I hope you can start healing more generally in the near future.
Take care,
Kim

Anonymous
May, 3 2022 at 8:37 pm

I have a question, my scars are about a day old and on my upper thigh. I was just crying and wanted to feel something else other than sadness, well I was wondering how long until the red marks go away and how long until they blend with my skin. They aren’t really deep at all.

May, 9 2022 at 10:54 am

Hi!
I'm sorry you're feeling so low that you needed to hurt yourself just to try and pull yourself out of it. I've been there; please know that this is not the only way to feel better, and that you do have other healthier options whenever you are ready to try them. (Let me know if you'd like me to share a few.)
To answer your question—I'm afraid I can't give you an exact timeline, as I'm not a doctor and (more importantly) every body heals at a different rate. However, shallow wounds do tend to heal faster and more fully—especially if you've been able to keep them clean and are taking good care of the skin in the affected area. Since they are recent, I would guess that there's a good chance they will fade soon. The longer they hang around, the more likely it becomes that they will remain visible for a long time.
Know that your scars are nothing to be ashamed of. However, if they don't go away and you do feel that you need to hide them in certain situations, know that you have options for doing so, including wearing clothes that cover them, using makeup to cover them, and even body art (like henna, temporary tattoos, or even real tattoos if you feel that's a viable option—just be very sure before you do anything permanent to your body!).
I hope you are able to heal soon, and that you find ways to stop hurting yourself and start feeling better. I'll be here on the blog if you have more questions or concerns you'd like to share.
Sincerely,
Kim

ren
May, 2 2022 at 6:41 pm

helloo!! i know this may sound like a stupid question but i’m not very long clean and i’m still kind of mid self-harm addiction but i am trying to make it less of a daily thing than before but im hoping to let my thigh/arm scars heal so i could maybe wear short sleeves/skirts in summer if i’m confident enough but i’m kind of just wondering when are self harm scars actually considered ‘healed’ kind of just because the last thing i would want is to trigger anyone but are they more or less just healed after the scab is gone? (almost all of my scars are a redish-purple)

May, 9 2022 at 10:35 am

Hi Ren,
Thanks for your question—which is actually a very good question, by the way. A doctor would be the best person to answer this (and unfortunately, I am not a medical professional). However, when I write about scars being "healed"—yes, generally I mean that the wound is closed up and the scab, if there was one, is gone. There may still be a scar or mark on the skin (that may or may not fade with time), but there's little to no chance of anything going into the wound and infecting it—and nothing leaking from it.
However, that's not to say that your scars are stuck the way they are the minute the wound closes and the scab is gone. Some scars do fade over time and go away completely. Just know that it's also true that some do not. I've had scars that took almost a year to disappear. I also have scars that are more than 5, even 10, years old.
One more thing—I'm so glad to hear about the steps you're taking toward recovery, and I do hope you feel confident enough this summer to wear what you want to wear and feel comfortable in your own skin.
I hope this helps! If you have more questions or concerns, feel free to reply here or comment elsewhere on the blog. I'll be reading.
Sincerely,
Kim

vivAna
April, 23 2022 at 4:35 pm

i have scars on my left thigh just a couple of inches above my knee , I have a very christian family that do not believe in depression or self harm they believe that is a "evil spirit" that entered my body and i know how ridiculous that sound anyways they would absolutely freak! if they ever see that ,i SH In early January ( first time and i hope last) and it is now late April and i assumed that they would've faded by now but they haven't they are kind of dark brown and kinda red and after the shower they are dark purple the cuts arent that deep i cut with a razor and they barely bleed so i assumed they would've faded im so scared and i have no idea what to do can someone help me please?

April, 26 2022 at 12:41 pm

Hi vivAna,
I'm sorry you're in a situation that makes you so stressed about your scars. I wish your family didn't see self-harm as a sign of evil—it absolutely isn't—and that you felt you could talk to them about this. And I hope, as you said, that your first time self-harming was also the last. In any case, don't panic! Every body is different, and heals at a different rate. If your wounds weren't that deep (and if you've still only done it once--repeatedly wounding the same place also seems to increase the risk of scarring) and if you're taking care of them (keeping them clean, not picking at them, etc.), there's still a chance that they will fade, it may just take more time.
Assuming the wounds are closed up and just scars now, the best thing you can do for them is to take good care of your skin in that area—if you aren't already, try applying aloe gel or a hydrating lotion containing ingredients such as vitamin E or cocoa butter regularly to encourage healing. (If you need to get a new product for this, be sure to try a skin patch test first to make sure you don't have an allergic reaction!) Also be sure to protect that area from the sun—a sunburn can make it harder for scars to heal.
I will say that it's not guaranteed that your scars will fade completely. If that happens, know that there are ways to keep them covered, too. In the future, scar removal may also be possible if you deem it necessary. I've written about this a few times:
https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/speakingoutaboutselfinjury/2022/3/hiding-self-harm-sca…
https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/speakingoutaboutselfinjury/2022/1/is-self-harm-scar-re…
https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/speakingoutaboutselfinjury/2021/7/self-harm-scar-cover…
If you can get in contact with a doctor, particularly a dermatologist, that would be a great idea as well.
I hope all of this helps. If you have more questions or concerns, don't hesitate to let me know. I'll be here.
Sincerely,
Kim

Emilea
April, 20 2022 at 8:08 pm

Hi, I have a question about my scars. They are on my wrist and I have had them for a few months and they are sorta faded, I have recently started to try and better myself and I want to know if they will go away.

April, 21 2022 at 3:20 pm

Hi Emilea,
Thanks for your comment. I'm glad to hear you're working on healing! Before I answer your question, a reminder—I am not a doctor or licensed medical professional. So the first thing I would urge you to do, if you're worried about your scars, is to ask your doctor (ideally, a dermatologist) for input, as they will know more than I do and will know your specific situation better than I can.
However, if they are fading already, and especially if they seem like they are still in the process of fading, it's possible that they may go away entirely after a while, though it may take some time yet. The best thing you can do to urge the process along is to take very good care of your skin, especially in the area where your scars are, and to take good care of yourself in general. The healthier your body is, the easier a time it has healing.
Keep in mind, though, that the extent to which they will fade depends somewhat on several factors that are now out of your control--things like how deep the wounds originally were and how efficient your body is at healing in general. Every person is different, so it's hard to give a definite answer, and next to impossible to pinpoint a specific timeline. So for now, do what you can to help your body recover and see how it goes.
If, in the end, your scars don't fade entirely, don't panic! There are ways to cover them, should you need to, and even some options for removing them if you feel that is truly necessary. Here are some more posts on this topic that you might want to check out:
https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/speakingoutaboutselfinjury/2022/3/hiding-self-harm-sca…
https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/speakingoutaboutselfinjury/2022/1/is-self-harm-scar-re…
https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/speakingoutaboutselfinjury/2021/7/self-harm-scar-cover…
I hope that helps! If you have more questions/concerns, feel free to voice them here or elsewhere on the blog anytime. I'll be reading. :)
Take care,
Kim

Salem
February, 19 2022 at 8:30 pm

I have had the same scar on my wrist since May 2020. When will it go away?

February, 21 2022 at 4:37 pm

Hi Salem,
First, before I answer, keep in mind that I am not a doctor, and that everybody's body is a little different, so I can't give you an exact estimate. However, if you've had that scar for this long and it hasn't faded much (or at all), I would guess that it is going to be there for a long time. Depending on a variety of factors I don't know, it may fade sooner or later, or it may remain fairly prominent—if you're worried about it, I'd suggest reaching out to a dermatologist if you can, as they would be able to look at your scar in person and make a much better judgment call than I could.
In my case, because I am fair and my skin is sensitive, most of my scars have stayed with me. My self-harm scars are more than a decade old, and very hard to see now, but they are still there. My heart surgery scars, meanwhile, are much more prominent but also a bit more recent—just over seven years old—and are just starting to really fade.
If you're distressed about your scars, you might want to reach out to someone to talk about your options—either your primary care doctor, or perhaps a therapist or counselor. Some people opt to try and remove them, or cover them with tattoos/makeup/etc, while others (like me) have kept them but learned over time to accept them. None of these paths is intrinsically better than the others; it's up to you to decide what's best for you.
If you have more questions, comments, or concerns, feel free to comment again elsewhere on the blog or reply here. I'll be reading!
Sincerely,
Kim

Nicolas
February, 17 2022 at 5:30 am

Ignore my last comment I fixed it

February, 21 2022 at 4:44 pm

Hi Nicolas,
It's a little hard to tell what order your comments are in (and if you deleted any along the way; not sure if that's possible or not), so I want to respond anyway just in case you still need help, although I hope you did figure things out and that your arm is already healing.
If you haven't already, please consider talking with your doctor, as they'll know your body better than I do (everyone's healing process looks a little different) and will be able to give more specific advice. But in general, be sure to keep it clean, don't pick at the scab, and just generally take the best care of the skin there that you can. General self-care is good too—the better you take care of yourself in general, the more easily your body will be able to heal itself. This page may also have some helpful info, if you haven't come across it already:
https://health.clevelandclinic.org/how-to-prevent-scarring/
Thank you for reaching out anyway, whether you wound up needing my help or not. It's a good instinct to ask for help if you think you need it, even if you do end up figuring out the answer on your own. I hope you continue to reach out whenever you need to, whether here on the blog or elsewhere.
Take care!
Sincerely,
Kim

Swati
March, 31 2022 at 12:15 am

Plzzzz tell me how coz my scar is still completely visible even after 2 years

April, 12 2022 at 10:11 am

Hi Swati,
I'm not sure, but I think you're asking me how to get your scar to go away? Unfortunately, if you've had it for two years, it's already healed over, so there's not much you can do at this point to further the natural healing process. It may still fade to the point of being unnoticeable over time, and taking very good care of the skin in that area can help it do that, but there's no guarantee when this will happen—or whether it will happen at all.
A good dermatologist would be the best person to talk to about your options, but just know that you DO have options. There are a lot of ways to cover up your scars if you're not comfortable with letting them show; some people use makeup, or accessories, to hide them, for example. Or, if you're open to tattoos, I know one of the previous blog authors, Martyna, turned her scars into art with tattoos. You could also get them removed by a medical professional, if you feel strongly about wanting to be rid of them.
Here are some links to posts you might want to read before making a decision:
https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/speakingoutaboutselfinjury/2021/7/self-harm-scar-cover…
https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/speakingoutaboutselfinjury/2019/1/knowing-when-to-cove…
https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/speakingoutaboutselfinjury/2021/9/self-harm-scars-in-t…
I hope this is helpful. Let me know if you need more help (or if I've misunderstood your question). Take care!
Sincerely,
Kim
https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/speakingoutaboutselfinjury/2022/3/hiding-self-harm-sca…
https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/speakingoutaboutselfinjury/2022/1/is-self-harm-scar-re…

reia
February, 13 2022 at 7:08 am

hi there, i’ve been 7 months clean and my scars still look like they’ve been there for a month, they’re purple and around 3mm deep. is there any way i can make them heal quicker? or should i just leave it and see what happens

February, 21 2022 at 4:21 pm

Hi Reia,
Everybody's body is a little bit different, so I can't give you an exact quote, unfortunately. (Also, keep in mind that I'm not a doctor.) But in my experience, scars can take a pretty long time to heal—and some of mine have never completely gone away. But they do often fade, sometimes to the point where other people won't really notice them.
There are some things you can try that may or may not help, but won't hurt. If you haven't been doing so already, make sure to keep the area clean and avoid damaging the skin there further—do your best not to pick at the scabs. If your wounds are open or raw at all, over-the-counter treatments like Neosporin and the like (anything that says it's for wound care) might help. If it's closed up (and stays that way), aloe gel *might* help the skin heal a bit faster and the scar tissue to fade. Here's some more info from Cleveland Clinic about preventing scarring:
https://health.clevelandclinic.org/how-to-prevent-scarring/
Just don't overdo it—if you're constantly worrying it or putting too many medications on it at once, this could hinder, rather than help, the healing process. If you're very worried about scarring, I'd also suggest contacting a dermatologist if you can, as they might know some tips or be able to prescribe something that will help, too.
Hope that helps!
Sincerely,
Kim

Jackie
February, 1 2022 at 3:11 pm

I just reached one month and I want to relapse bc the reason I relapsed before was bc my grandmother died and now I'm having to deal with the pressure of choosing my options for my gcse and I feel ashamed that I'm doing this at the age of 14 starting it at 12 I want to stop and I want to be happy but I can't find a way to keep clean and so at times I find myself doing it with a sharpie pen instead bc I want the scars to fade but once they fade they're gone and a part of me doesn't want then to go and I don't know why it's just that they are always there and a sharpie pen you can see the marks but they just don't hurt any tips on how to help keep myself clean

Leave a reply