As summer rapidly approaches, many of us are dreaming of beach vacations, endless pool days, and more chances to be outside and show off some skin that colder weather has kept hidden. However, for those who have scars resulting from self-harm, summer may bring feelings of anxiety and impending doom.
Will people stare? Will they judge? Will they feel sorry for you? What if you feel like you have to explain yourself to friends or family members? It’s a difficult place to be, especially when you feel alone.
I completely understand because I’ve been there.
I struggled with self-harm for many years, and I was left with many scars as a result. Even though my therapist and dearest friends constantly reminded me that my scars are a sign of survival, I still felt insecure in the early months and years of recovery when I first let those scars see the light of day.
There were times when friends and family members asked questions, and I had to be ready to answer them. The key word is ready.
I was ready to be honest if someone had a question. Only you can decide if and when you’re ready to share your story – it is no one else’s to tell.
To empower those with self-harm scars who may be feeling nervous about warmer weather approaching, I’m here to give some advice and tips that made me more confident in my decision to cover my scars and to eventually show them. Whether you decide to flaunt everything you’ve got, or if you choose to be more discreet and covered this summer, know that there is absolutely no shame in your choice.
You are not alone.
The first method I’ve used in covering up scars is probably the most commonly discussed: makeup. Easy fix, right?
I chose to use makeup to conceal my scars when I first started to become comfortable with them being visible in the sunshine. I say this because no matter how great the makeup coverage is, the scar will never be completely invisible. If you feel like you’re ready to wear more revealing clothing, but still want your scars (especially scars that cause discoloration) to be less visible, I strongly encourage you to give makeup coverage a go. For me, it was the greatest confidence-booster in easing my way into wearing revealing clothes again while having visible scars.
Another method that works over time is a scar reducing cream. It’s no quick fix, but I have found that using a scar cream consistently has lessened my scar discoloration, and even my older scars have begun to fade and become less prominent.
I’ve also personally loved getting tattoos to cover some of my scars. I am, however, fully aware that getting a tattoo is a serious decision and that not everyone is ready for that kind of commitment, which is why I suggest temporary tattoos. Temporary tattoos have come a long way from the multi-colored hearts and smiley faces we used as kids. These tattoos look realistic and can last up to three weeks – perfect for an event or a day on which you know you’ll be wearing more revealing clothing.
Lastly, if you’re absolutely not ready for your scars to be visible, there’s plenty of super cute and loose summer clothing that will keep you covered and chic.
My go-tos (even while I’m confident showing my scars) are palazzo pants and flowy, long-sleeved tops, as well as maxi skirts and dresses. I have found that wearing these types of clothing never left me feeling like I wasn’t fitting in with the rest of the world in wearing cute summer clothes.
Again, whether or not you choose to bear your scars, there is absolutely no shame in the matter. The choice is completely yours, and there is no correct timeline regarding when you should be ready to show them.
Regardless of what you choose, there is never any reason to be ashamed of your body.
If you struggle with self-harm and are in need of support, call the crisis hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741.