Do Self-Harm Scars Ever Go Away?
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.
1. Scars, National Health Service. Accessed March 2, 2020.
Kim Berkley (2020, March 19). Do Self-Harm Scars Ever Go Away?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2023, June 1 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/speakingoutaboutselfinjury/2020/3/do-self-harm-scars-ever-go-away
Author: Kim Berkley
I am 13 and I have a friend who saw the ones on my leg a couple weeks ago. She looked at me and said “what are these?” I said they were just from my cat. Luckily the bell rang and I went home without saying anything else. She didn’t bring it up the next day, but the next week she checked my legs to see if I had cut them. I had moved from cutting my legs to cutting my arms, so all she saw were the scabs. At lunch I was sitting down iwth my other friends and she told me to pull up my sleeves. She kept on asking me so I pulled them up and quickly pulled my sleeve back down. She looked at me and said “we are going to talk” She then walked to class. I am so glad she didn’t call the school counsellor, and since she didn’t think I was crazy and “emo” it made me feel a lot better to see someone who actually cared. I decided that I would never cut myself again, but In two weeks I have already broken that promise. I find it really inconvenient to hide my scars 24/7 since I only have one school jumper and three of my own jumpers. This is the last time I will ever search up anything like this, No more vent TikToks, nothing. I want to put this behind me since
I have always been seen as the funny and happy friend and I don’t want to make my friends worry about me.
I have a friend who I know has been going through a really tough time this semester in high school. I wasn't totally sure how tough it had been, however, until she wore a tank top to school a few days ago, and there were clearly visible SH scars on her upper arm. They were very noticeable, but only three or four scars, so I sort of pushed it out of my head and tried to convince myself that the scars were caused by something else and not SH, even though they were uniform and matched other SH scars I'd seen before. Then today she showed up wearing shorts, and on her upper thighs there were very clear SH scars, and many more than on her arm. Undeniable. I noticed them, as did everyone, I'm sure, though obviously I didn't stare, and I didn't mention it to her. I think this might be her way of moving on from that very dark period of her life, and part of that might be acceptance of the scars. Or maybe she wants us to know what she went through. To like quantify it, in a way? I'm not sure. I don't think it's a cry for help. But it really caught me off guard. My friend and I used to be really close, but this year we've grown apart, and our relationship isn't close enough now where I would feel comfortable bringing it up. I still want to let her know I care about her. The scars caught me off guard and freaked me out a little, honestly. I know it shouldn't be anything to be ashamed of, but it scares me to think that my friend was feeling such immense pain and I didn't even know. I wish our relationship were closer because I want nothing more than to give her a big hug. But at the same time, she has been mean to me this year, and while my heart goes out to her, I have to reconcile that with the pain she has caused me. The SH scars just made this very real for me. As someone who gets SH urges but has never acted on them, seeing the SH scars today triggered me.
I feel weird sharing this but seeing all the stories I kinda felt the urge to say something as well. I’m currently 18 about to turn 19 and I think the first time I SH I was 15/16, can’t really remember the first time. I used to do it a lot before my mom found out. It really helped me to stop because I saw how hurt she was. Well last august I dated this awful guy who laugh at me because I “looked cute” while having panic attacks. I don’t wanna blame him for relapsing but I kinda do? It got better after I broke up with him. Lately my sister slipped into an ED and I’m feeling the urge to cut again. I don’t think I’m depressed or anything there is just the urge to feel something. I don’t want to be a burden but it really helped me to cope with everything going on. Now I’ve met this amazing guy and he saw some scars and made me promise to never cut myself again as long as I’m with him. Well I f-ed up because here I am with fresh cuts writing this… I’m scared to tell him because I’m scared he’ll leave me and I feel so invalid because, well I just felt numb and not even sad and I don’t want them to scar because summers around the corner, yk? What if I’m faking it? Are you able to fake something like that? Well sorry for all those random infos, I just had to tell someone Ig
I’m 12 turning 13, and mine wont go away. It’s been since I was nine. When someone asks (as my parents still don’t know) I just say they are scars accumulated over the years from my cats, etc. home this helps!
im currently 14 years old, and first self-harmed when i was 11. a lot of it is related to family issues, and things such as that. i have a various number of scars on my wrist, right up near where my palm starts. i try by all means to hide them but lately it seems like the scars just keep on becoming more and more noticeable, some more recent ones (2 months - now) are still big and coloured, however ones from over a year or more ago have faded to a dull colour, however still highly visible.
i go to a public co ed school in australia, and since my scars are so noticeable i get them pointed out A LOT. comments from people such as 'youre so emo' 'why do u slit yourself?' 'are those cuts from you doing them?' are getting more and more frequent, ive just resorted to keeping my arms covered however i really really dont want to have to deal with that anymore. im known as a VERY confident, bubbly, 'popular' person, anybody who knows me wouldnt expect me to be so heavily reliant on self harm. i have kind of learnt to shrug off comments on them.
just wondering if anybody has any tips on how to cover them up/become more accepting of their scars?? or how to reply to anybody pointing them out? ive just kind of come to terms with the fact i am going to have to deal with these scars on my body as difficult as that is going to be. even the ones from over a year ago have not faded
Hey, I’m currently 13 years old and I’ve had sh problems for a while too. Here are my ways I deal with it that may be helpful for you :) first off, bracelets do wonders, and a more untraditional way is to do some art w/ sharpie over it so people think you just like drawing on yourself. Also if it’s a lesser scar you can put makeup over it. Though the biggest thing of all is to work towards not caring what people say, however that means to you. For me at least, that was the biggest obstacle on the road of me becoming comfortable with myself. For ways you can reply to those comments, I recommend saying something like “I fell into a thorn bush when I was younger and used my arm to catch my fall, though why am I even telling you this? It’s none of your business” or if you feel bold “so what if it is?” One last thing, I believe there is something that can help the scars heal, red light therapy. It is very expensive though. Anyways, I hope this helped
I’m Isabelle, I have been having a really hard time lately and I cut myself for the first time. It wasn’t really deep, but I’m afraid it’s going to scar a little. I don’t live with my parents but I’m going to see them in a couple weeks, and I’m terrified of the seeing it. They will be so mad and disappointed. Do you have any advice? I really don’t know who I can talk to about this
Hello Isabelle, I’m Lydia. I’ve struggled with self harm for years, I still remember what I went through when my parents found out. It was very scary for me to tell them, but it gets better. Sometimes they didn’t respond very well, but it’s important to know that it’s only because they’re worried about you, and love you. It’s important to make it clear to them that it’s not their fault, or because of them, and that self harm isn’t always a suicide attempt. These are things that my parents didn’t know about self harm, they’re from a different generation, where talking about self harm was very uncommon. Just do your best to educate them on how you feel, I hope this will make your transition easier. You’re not alone darling, I’ll be thinking about you. <3
Hi. I’m 19, I used to cut when I was younger on my arms. All of the cuts weren’t deep enough to leave a large scar. I went to therapy and didn’t have the urge to until about 6 months ago. These ones are leaving a scar on my upper thigh. I don’t know how to make them fade and i’m scared they will always be this dark and noticeable every time I wear shorts or a bikini. I have no one to talk to about this and I really just want them to fade and go away. How long do you think it will take, and how can I reduce the redness of them?
Thank you for your comment. I'm sorry you've had to deal with SH -- in the past and, in terms of urges at least, more recently as you described. You mentioned going to therapy in past tense; it's hard to say from your comment, but it seems like it might have helped, since you were able to stop self-harming for a time. Would it be possible to go back to therapy -- either the same therapist or a different one, if necessary, to discuss your urge to SH returning as well as your concerns about your scars? (I would also urge you to talk to a dermatologist about your scars, if possible.)
Unfortunately, I can't personally tell you much. I'm not a doctor, but even if I was, every body is different, and heals at a different rate. There are also myriad factors that can affect the healing process--way more than we could get into here. All I can say is that generally speaking, shallower and smaller wounds tend to fade more and do so sooner, but there's no 100% guarantee that they will fade entirely. I have very small scars from when I self-harmed more than 10 years ago that are still with me--but they have become almost invisible unless you're really trying to look for them. I also have heart surgery scars from several years ago that are still pretty visible--it's just that I've gotten used to living with them.
The best thing you can do is take really good care of your skin--use good first aid for fresh wounds (keep them clean, don't pick at them, use something like Neosporin if applicable), and practice general healthy self-care, especially skin care, to help scars fade (stay hydrated, eat a balanced diet, and consider using a skin care product like aloe gel or a lotion containing vitamin E, aloe, and/or other things that help reduce inflammation and promote happy, hydrated skin).
I hope that helps.
Wishing you the best of luck,
I’m turning 14 this year I’ve been self harming since I was 10 I stopped because my mum found out but I didn’t actually stop I just moved from my upper arms to my thighs she didn’t notice for about 2 1/2 years. In may I got sick of doing in on my thighs it no longer hurt to see in the mirror it no longer hurt when I cut myself I didn’t feel a thing no matter how hard I tried so I started doing it on my upper arm again. It hurt It felt good then stopped hurting but I didn’t really care this time because I had a routine to follow ever since April I would cut myself every week I’d make a deadline for myself so if I did it on Thursday the next week I’d do it on Thursday again or before that cutting no longer felt good it felt like a chore but I didn’t care. Mum found out in December and has been trying to convince me to show her my arm I refuse. New School year started I have no friends in any classes I sit alone and no one talks to me I feel invisible to everyone. I can’t focus on my work because all I can think about is the appropriate time to ask to go bathroom for 10 minutes unnoticed so I could cut myself because I feel so shut I just want to feel something I’m so desperate I started on my wrist today for the first time and I love the burn but I’m worried about the long lasting scars and the fresh cuts that will keep coming because I can’t make myself stop for the life of me especially when I’m at school. I cook a lot I have cooking in school mums signing me up for cooking classes I need to roll up sleeves for cooking I’m screwed and I can’t decide to myself if I regret it or not if I could go back in time and change that decision would I do it?
I'm sorry to hear about all the difficult things you've been dealing with--SH is never easy, but especially not when you feel alone and alienated, as you've described. Quitting self-harm and recovering can be difficult, but it is definitely possible, and worth it. Please don't give up hope for recovery.
It sounds like you may not have anyone in your personal life you feel you can talk to about what you're going through--at least not in terms of friends. Would it be possible to talk to your mom about it, or do you think that would make things worse? If not her, is there anyone in your family you could perhaps go to? If none of the above, does your school perhaps have free counseling you could take advantage of? Even if you're not ready to talk about your SH yet, just talking to someone about other things you're experiencing and how you're feeling can be a big step toward healing.
Here are some resources you may find helpful as well:
And here are some posts you may find interesting:
I hope it helped you to reach out, and I hope my answer helped, even if only a little, as well. Take care; I wish you the best of luck and hope you are able to begin healing soon.
hi i am a 14 year old girl and i have been struggling with self harm since i was 12. i am doing ok and am stopping and i havent relapsed in months. i really want to help and talk to anyone else who is struggling through self harm or even if you are not struggling with it, but just need someone to talk to. i dont feel comfortable posting my name but if you ever want to talk to me you can reply with your discord or snap or something
Hi, i'm 11 and i have been struggling with self harm since I was 8. I have scars up my arms and legs and it is weird and embarrassing. As a young girl people don't tend to understand I have problems too. I don't put forth that much effort to hide my scars because I know they are a part of me but I can still get subconscious about them. I told a few close friends and one of them told my school counselor and she of course had to tell my mom. Although my mom tries to understand I can tell she can't, I sometimes notice her looking at my arms and shaking her head. I just feel like i mess up so many things and tonight was very hard for me. We had an incident and now I feel worse than ever. I feel like life would be better here on earth for my single mother is I was gone. She has me and my brother and I feel like a rock holding her down. I feel like my brother and mom hate me and I'm not OK. I want to get better so when I got a very deep urge I resisted since I have been sober for a month now :) I just want help.
I'm sorry to hear about everything you've been going through. I'm glad you were able to reach out to some folks about your situation, even if it hasn't always gone the way you hoped. I won't say I know exactly how you feel, but I know what it's like to feel like your mental health struggles are burdening your loved ones, and feeling horrible because of it. It's not an easy place to be, but here's the thing to remember: if your mental health is concerning to your loved ones, it's because they CARE. You said your mom tries to understand; even if she doesn't always get it right, her trying is her way of showing you she cares and that she loves you.
So while of course I don't know what's going through her head, I'd feel pretty safe betting that she would not agree that she'd be better off without you. Try and imagine things the other way around--if someone you loved was hurting themselves, would you want them telling themselves you'd be better off without them? Or would you want them instead to simply try and focus on healing in whatever ways they can?
It's wonderful that you were able to stay clean for a month; I hope you continue trying to heal! Let your counselor (and/or anyone else you can talk to about this) know how you're feeling; let them know when you have bad days and need extra support, as well as when you have good days and want to celebrate them. You will have both kinds of days; the good news is, eventually the good will start to outweigh the bad. :)
I hope this helped in some way. Take care, and please never give up on yourself. I'm rooting for you. :)
hey, im 14 and have been self-harming since I was 13 and these scars wont fade and im really scared that they are going to be there forever and that people are going judge me for it especially because everyone ive known has already judged me for drug addiction. I really just dont want another reason for people to talk about me or laugh, can you please tell me how to make them fade quicker?
hi kenna im also a 14 year old girl with self harm scars and i really want them to fade. i have done some research and apparently bio oil, which you can buy at the chemist and silicone scar sheets can help fade scars. im not really sure how well it works but it definitely made my scars less raised. I bought my silicone scar sheets off aliexpress because its really cheap and i didnt want to ask my parents.
I'm sorry you're hurting and I'm sorry you're scared. Every scar and every body is different; it's possible your scars may still fade, but sometimes they don't, so know that it's possible some of yours might not fade all the way on their own. The best thing you can do is take really good care of your skin. For fresh wounds, practice good first aid -- keep the wound clean, use bandages, etc. For actual scars, you can use lotions and other skin care products that promote healing and general skin health (I like aloe vera gel; some people swear by products containing Vitamin E). If you can, it would be good to talk to a dermatologist about it--but I can imagine that might be difficult to do without a parent present, so if your parents don't know already, that might not be an option right now.
You may also want to check out some cover up options for the scars that may not fade:
I hope that helps. If you have more questions, I'll be able to reply for as long as I am still writing for the blog.
I’m 13 years old and have been self harming for about a year now. Life got to its deepest darkest point and I felt like I had no where to turn. I’m not completely alright now, I’m about a week clean. Some of my scars faded and other are still here. I never felt like i ever went that deep though. I’m going on vacation in march and I need to be able to wear short sleeves and shorts. I don’t know what to do, I want help but I feel like I would be ashamed, or embarrassed if my parents find out about my scars.
Hi, I am so sorry that you have gone through that, and i'm proud that your starting to heal. Please don't be ashamed to ask for help. Your parents are there for you and want to help, so allow them too. Also if you relapse it's okay, this isn't something that will just stop right away, but it will definitely help if you have family supporting you. I believe in you and am here if you need anything
A week clean is fantastic; here's to keeping the streak going. :)
I understand about being worried to tell your parents. I don't know your parents or your relationship with them, so I can't say this for certain, but if you ever feel ready to talk to them about it, it can be a huge weight off your shoulders to not have to keep this secret from them. That being said, not everyone has parents who understand these things, so it will have to be up to you to decide if and when (if ever) to open up to them about this. But I do hope you have someone you can talk to--if not them, perhaps a friend, or a therapist or counselor.
In any case, it is true that sometimes it just makes more sense to cover your scars than show them. I've written a few posts about cover up options; hopefully you'll find some ideas there you can use:
Take care and best of luck,
I struggled with self harm for most of last year and relapsed early this year, I'm getting better now and I haven't cut for about 3 weeks I believe. I just wanted to say that if anyone needs someone to talk to and they don't have anyone, feel free to message me and talk. sc: Seth13247
I am 11 years old and started sh when I was 10.
Life got so hard and I was at my lowest point of my life. Im still in pain but I'm just to tired to sh I feel like there's something deeply wrong with me because I'm to tired to hurt myself. I've tried to quit many times but just can't, although most of my cuts healed I still always seeing them when I put on my sweater or put on my bracelets and i just get scared if anyone would see them like my oldest sister. Seeing my scars make me remember bad things but knowing I healed from it more then ever really helps. If you ever need help with anything or need to talk with someone there will always be someone with you that cares for your truly. Decide who you feel comfortable telling.
I feel so awful for all of these young kids saying they've self-harmed and I want to say it can get better but it's not fast. you will relapse and break down but you will eventually get better I can promise you that. there will be times when you relapse after being clean for so long but if you try and have a view of trying in life you can do it. I know what it's like to self-harm, I started when I was 10 years old and at 13 I'm still struggling with self-harm I have permanent scars and it hurts to see them. but what matters is your scars do not define you. things can and will get better and it may be a month, a year, or a day, but it can get better if you try. what has helped me is to write about how I feel or read. I wish you and everyone who struggles with this luck in their recovery.
Thank you for this comment. It's always inspiring to read about other people's healing journeys, and I hope yours inspires others to start healing too. I absolutely agree that our scars do not define you--and that it can and DOES get better with time. I wish you luck as well; thanks again!
I'm so sorry you're hurting, but please believe me when I say that it's GOOD that you're not hurting yourself. SH feels like a solution, but it creates more problems than it solves in the long run. Quitting can be very difficult; it's not uncommon to try multiple times before finally succeeding, but please know that it IS still possible for you to get better. Letting your scars heal is a good first step. So is reaching out here on the blog. If you can, please reach out to others in your life who you can talk through your feelings with -- ideally a mental health professional, but even trusted friends or family members can lend an empathetic ear and make all the difference.
Since you didn't ask for advice, I'll stop at that for now—but if you have any further questions/comments/etc, just ask. I'll be able to reply for as long as I'm still posting on the blog.
hi uh so my name’s nick & ive been sh for almost a year now.. the scars are pretty deep since the first time & I was once clean for 5 months before I relapsed. My teacher found out & now my entire class knows abt it & even my mom. She often checks my wrist but she doesn’t know about my thighs or my shoulder or legs, etc. im clean for 2 months rn but im so close to relapsing a 2nd time bro.. i don’t know what to do.
I'm sorry to hear that you're struggling. Two months is a huge step; whether you relapse or not, please know that two months clean is something to be proud of. If you've already relapsed, know that it doesn't have to mark the end of your healing; you CAN come back from it and get back on track. And if you haven't, know that there are things you can try that may help you avoid relapsing altogether—or at least mitigate the repercussions.
1- Talk to someone. Reaching out here was a great step. It would be even better if you can talk to your mom about how you're feeling, or your teacher, or a trusted friend. If you have a therapist or counselor, you can and ideally should talk to them and let them help you sort through what's going on.
2- Reconnect with WHY you want to get clean. Write about your reasons. Draw about them. Do whatever you can to remind yourself of what you're working toward, and that it's worth it. Believe me, it IS worth the work.
3. Minimize stress. See if you can figure out anything in particular that's making you feel like you need to SH, and then identify whether it's something you can change (e.g. going to bed earlier so you get more sleep and feel better) or something you can't, but can still control your response to (e.g. you have to go to school, but maybe you can learn some stress reduction techniques to make it a more positive experience -- or at least a less negative one).
For me, journaling, breathing exercises and meditations (especially urge surfing), and CBT workbooks have been a huge help.
I hope this helps. If you have more questions or comments, I'll be able reply to them here for as long as I continue posting on the blog.
Hi. I am not saying my name but I am a 15 year old female. I have been doing sh since the start of my freshman year. I’m now a sophomore. My sh was never deep enough to have super obvious scars and because of that, it made me feel like my problems didn’t matter. I am still doing sh and I don’t know what to do. I promised my bf that I would stop but I just did it 10 minutes ago. My cuts are only deep enough to scar but not show too much. I still have my scars from freshman year however. What do i do? Can someone help me? I’ve had a couple failed attempts as well. But I’m not in that position anymore. I just continue to sh. I have scars on my legs, thighs, and wrists. What do I do, please help
Hey, I’m a 14yo boy and my advice might not work for you but I’m around 80 days clean and am currently not fighting the urge to cut.
I usually did it all 1-2 weeks when I was extremely anxious, my scars are kinda deep and will most likely be permanent.
What helped me was:
2. I usually had a goal in mind like not injuring myself for a month, and I always tried to increase the goal even though it was difficult, at some point I had an extreme urge again and told myself that it’ll be the last time, surprisingly it kinda motivated me and actually worked
3. I talked to someone online about it and I often vented when I had the urge or was feeling anxious, to this day no one knows about it in real life
I wish you best of luck in the future, and it gets better :)
If you need someone to talk to reply and I’ll give you my discord
AGAIN I‘M JUST SOME KID AND IM NOT SURE IF IM PROVIDING HELPFUL INFORMATION BUT I TRIED MY BEST
hey i've been struggling too. mind if we can talk?
Thank you so much for this comment. I'm glad that you felt able and willing to reach out and share these tips; I'm even more glad that they helped you, and I'm sure others will find them helpful as well. :)
I understand feeling like your scars and your pain aren't significant enough. I also understand feeling lost in all that hurt. I'm sorry that you're still hurting, and that you're still hurting yourself. Have you tried reaching out to a therapist at all? At the very least, your school should have free counseling services that you could possibly take advantage of. A medical professional can be a huge help here.
If that's not an option, it sounds like maybe your boyfriend is someone you can talk to about this? Instead of making promises (and then being afraid to break them and disappoint him), maybe try and set up some goals with him. (You can also try this with another friend, if you have someone else you would rather talk to about this, or even on your own). Start small—instead of "I will never hurt myself again," which can seem too big a promise to keep and therefore not worth trying to, start with "I will not hurt myself today." If that's too much, it's okay to break it down into hours or even minutes if you have to.
Then, once you pass a goal, take a moment to acknowledge it. Pretend you are your own friend; wouldn't you be proud of them for trying to get better? Wouldn't you forgive them if they made mistakes along the way? Wouldn't you love them just the same? If you make progress, take a moment to pat yourself on the back (maybe even reward yourself for big milestones) before move on.
And then... do move on. Push the bar just a little bit further. Once you make it through one day, see if you can make it through two. And so on. Try not to be hard on yourself if you relapse; it happens. DO try and understand why you relapse, if and when you do, and use that knowledge to try and avoid it happening again.
Above all, know this. You are not alone, and you CAN do this. Recovery is possible. I myself am over 10 years clean now. It's not easy, but it gets easier and easier as you go.
Let me know if you have any more questions or comments. Take care.
Hi, my name is Tucker. I just self harmed and I regret it. Im 14 and I am having a rough go at life. I wanna stop because I hate the scars but I dont know, its just an irresistable urge that I dont want to satisfy because of the outcomes, but I dont know how to stop.
Please help me.
I'm so sorry to hear you hurt yourself again, but know that it is not something you need to feel ashamed of. We all have difficult times in our lives, and we all have trouble coping sometimes—for self-harmers like you and me, sometimes we go back to hurting ourselves even when we wish we wouldn't. Stopping is hard, but it isn't impossible and it IS worth it.
If you haven't yet, try reaching out to a therapist or other professional if you can. It can make such a big difference to have someone like that in your corner. If nothing else, your school should have some sort of free counseling option; see if you can find out more about that, if you haven't already. Even if that's not an option right now, try and talk to someone else if you can, someone you trust and who will be supportive and really listen. Please also check out this resource page when you have a moment:
I am not a therapist, nor do I know the full details of your situation. So unfortunately I can't give you a list of steps that will definitely lead to your being able to get clean. But know that you CAN do it, even if you have to do it on your own (I did). I can't say if this will work for you, but for me the first big step was figuring out WHY I wanted to get better. Not wanting scars is good, but I'll bet you have other reasons too, probably even more compelling ones. Think about it for as long as you need to. Once you find your answers, remind yourself of them often and especially whenever you want to hurt yourself. Write them down, draw pictures, whatever it takes to keep those reasons fresh in your mind.
It's also important to recognize WHEN you're hurting yourself and specifically WHY. If there are triggers you can avoid or change, do so. (For example, I used to hurt myself most often when I stayed up super late. Going to bed earlier was one thing that helped deter my urges.) For the triggers you can't avoid or change, you'll need to find some coping methods. If you don't know any offhand, for now start simple. For me, urge surfing is really helpful:
Journaling and finding other creative outlets for your feelings is also a big help for most people. If you're not sure what to try, just try whatever sounds interesting. Worst case scenario: you won't find a particular option helpful, in which case you can stop (after giving it a fair chance) and try a different option. Some people like art therapy, some like music, others like writing; I use whichever of the three appeals to me most in that moment.
These are all just ideas to get you started. I hope this helps. Feel free to reply here or elsewhere if you have more questions or concerns; I'll try to respond as soon as I can.
Hello! My name's Dan.
First of all, it's a really good that people address this issue. Hope everyone who came here found something that helped them. Thank you, Kim Berkley.
I have a lot of scars that many years old. I've been self-harming myself since I was 16, now I'm 22 and still do it sometimes. I'm not ashamed of it. I'm not ashamed of my scars. It helps me concentrate, dissociate from unwanted emotions. Most of the times it's light cuts or even just scrapes, but when I feel especially bad it can as far as second degree burns.
I perfectly understand that it isn't normal and unhealthy, but who is? I still wear long-sleeves even in hot weather, because I hate pity looks people give me.
Thank you for your comment and your kind words. I do hope what I write here is helpful!
I'm glad you're not ashamed, although I do hope you are able to stop hurting yourself someday when you are ready. It's not for me to tell you to stop, so instead I will just gently remind you that there ARE healthier (and more effective!) ways to cope when you are ready to try them. I've shared some of the ones that have worked best for me in other blog posts here on this site; let me know if you want me to dig any up for you.
I do think becoming healthy, at least your own version of it (everyone's looks a little different) is worth striving for. But "normal"? Yeah, normal is an illusion. :)
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.
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:
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:
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:
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!
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
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:
Take care. If you have any further comments or questions, feel free to reply here or elsewhere on the blog. I'll be reading. :)
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
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,
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
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:
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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?