Self Harm Healing: Reducing the Appearance of Scars

By Danni Peck

Updated December 07, 2018

Reviewer Sonya Bruner


It is difficult to learn coping skills that will allow you to stop engaging in self-harm. And once you have learned these coping skills, you are on the road to mental and emotional healing. But you may also need to have some physical healing from self-inflicted injuries. Having scars from past injuries appear less visible can be an important part of the healing process. For some, constantly seeing the scars or knowing that others see them makes it hard to move on emotionally. If that's the case for you, you may benefit from this advice for how to reduce or eliminate the appearance of any self-harm scarring.

How to quickly minimize the appearance of scars

It may be hard to hear, but the truth is scars of any kind are difficult to get rid of entirely. And most scar treatments take a lot of time and consistent usage to be effective. You'll find many over-the-counter and prescription scar gels that will help newer scars to heal and fade. Some treatments may even make older scars fade, but the older a scar is, the less effective scar treatment with topical gels will be. You can also use natural scar treatments, like coconut oil or olive oil for healing new scars to make them less noticeable. For scars that are red or brown, lemon juice may also help them to fade, even if they are older.


That being said, none of those solutions will get rid of your scars sooner than a few months. That leaves you with only two options for quickly getting rid of your scars. The first option is surgery. Multiple surgeries are used to reduce the appearance of scars. Skin grafts and scar revision surgery are options, but you will be left with different scars, not no scars at all. And you may have to wait several weeks to get scheduled for surgery.

That leaves the final option for getting rid of self-harm scars fast. And that is to cover up your scars.

How to cover up self-harm scars

Ways to cover up self-harm scars range from inexpensive and temporary to pricier and more permanent options. However, any of these options are less expensive and faster than surgery.

Wear clothes or accessories that cover scars

Not wanting others to see your scars doesn't mean missing out. Choose clothes that cover the scarred area. Or if that's difficult, you can find watches, scarves, bracelets, or other accessories that cover the area. For instance, if you have scars on your wrist and don't want to wear long sleeves, a wide wrist cuff or wrap bracelet may conceal the scars. If you're going swimming, a surf shirt or board shorts cover more skin than other swimsuit options.


Use makeup over the scars

You can cover up scars on any part of your body with concealer, foundation, or concealing powder made for your face. This can reduce the appearance of your scars when clothing doesn't cover them. But the makeup may fade throughout the day if it gets wet or you sweat. Using a makeup primer can help keep it from smudging or running off. For a waterproof option, you can purchase tattoo concealer, which is made to fully cover tattoos and is less likely to rub off.


Get a tattoo over the scar

Covering scars with a tattoo is probably the most permanent and cost-effective option over time. It costs more upfront than makeup or tattoo concealer, but you don't have to keep rebuying it like you would with those options. You can make a plan with the tattoo artist to get a design you like that will also function to conceal your scars.


Taking away the physical reminders is only one step in the process of healing from self-harm. Consider reaching out to a professional therapist for guidance throughout the healing process.

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