How To Fade Self Injury Scars

How To Fade Self Injury Scars

One of the topics we are often asked about on our Can You Tattoo Over Scars article has to do with self harm scars. One of the first questions self-harmers ask once in recovery is how fade the painful looking scars left behind.

The first thing to keep in mind is protecting your scars to prevent them from getting worse. Sun exposure can make scars darker and won’t help it blend in with the surrounding skin, so you’ll want to wear UV-protective clothing. A good broad spectrum UVA UVB sunscreen SPF 30 is also important, especially with scars that you’re not planning to cover up. This is true year-round, not just at the beach.

Aloe vera, an anti-inflammatory ingredient available in many types of salves, lotions and scar treatments, can help to reduce swelling and work to keep your scar moisturized. Scars are very different from normal tissue, and hydration is key to minimizing the appearance of your scars.

Vitamin C is also important to fading your scar, as well as promoting healthy collagen production at the wound site. Use a stable form of Vitamin C, as it will be the most effective. Licorice extract also works to fade scars by fading hyperpigmentation via inhibiting melanin activity, thereby producing whitening of the skin.

Another option that some people consider is getting a tattoo over the scar. You’ll want to wait a year or two, to make sure that the scar tissue has completely healed and matured. The ink might not take as well on scar tissue, so keep in mind that the results can be a little unpredictable, and you might need follow-up visits. Talk to a tattoo artist about their experience with the kind of work you’re looking for, look over their portfolio, and think about where you think you can get the best results. You can find more advice on tattooing over scars here.

If you are still cutting or know someone who is, there is help. 1-800-273-TALK and 1-800-334-HELP are both 24-hour national hotlines for self injury.

Do you have a question about your scar? Leave us a comment and we’ll be happy to answer.

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The information on this site is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. Please speak to your doctor to treat any medical condition. Information on this site is not intended to be patient education, does not create any patient-physician relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.


  1. Hey today I got really sad and being dumb I cut myself no blood or anything non deep scars I have 6 of then on my arm not big? Will they fade away by tm I don’t wanna go to school like this I’ve used vegitable oil and alcohol and they seem to be fading away o heard if there was no bleeding it will fade within hours is that true BTW I’m 12

    • Hi Jennifer, first, we’re sorry to hear you’ve been cutting yourself. Please be sure to find someone you trust to talk to so that you don’t further injure yourself. 🙁 Vegetable and alcohol won’t fade scars. Superficial cuts should heal within a few days without any real scarring that can be seen. Deeper cuts will take longer to heal.

  2. I have dark spots from burns and white scars and raised light colored scars up my arm… I really need to get blood drawn soon and I was going to ask if there’s any hope that they will blend in more, or if you knew something about making raised scars flatten…. It’s been over a year since they’ve been put there.

    • Hi Jacob, for the white scars there isn’t a topical treatment that can return the pigment; for the dark spots you can use Vitamin C to fade them; for the raised scars, when applying a scar treatment make sure to massage them twice a day for about 2 months – scar massage will help to soften the scar tissue and flatten them a bit.

  3. Hey, not sure if this is still active or not. But I was wondering how well tattooing over 5 year old faded scars will work. They aren’t red or raised. Some match my skin tone well and a few are white.

  4. Hi, um, I was really mad at myself the other day and got stupid and cut myself. I cut my wrist and it didn’t bleed or anything but after a few minutes the cuts started to show up later as scars. The scars got really big and puffy and this happened a couple of days ago. Is there anything that I can do to make then less noticeable, or will they fade over time? PS, I know that cutting is stupid and I’ll never do it again. Also, I got even more stupid and cut my thigh, where it did bleed. Can I do anything to heal that quicker. And I’m really not a bad kid, I just got stupid for a night.

    • Hi Maia, it getting big and puffy could mean your skin was irritated and inflammed by the cutting. Applying aloe will help. But keep an eye on it to make sure you don’t have an infection (if you cut yourself with something that had bacteria on it, it can happen.)

  5. Hi, I went through a really bad stage a few years back and both my arms are covered in scars, a few of them are white/pink and they have all previously been stitched as they were all very deep cuts, a couple of them are raised and pink which I know probably can’t be tattooed over but the flat white ones would they be okay? Both sides of my Foreham. They have faded a lot but still hugely noticeable and been looking into getting a peice done over my arm that has the most faded flat scars? Any advice on how I should go about even getting this done, and what may be said? Thankyou in advance 🙂

    • Hi Billie, an experienced tatto artist may be able to find a way to incorporate those raised scars into the design in a way that makes them look like part of the tattoo itself. It doesn’t hurt to speak to a different artists in your area so that they can have a look.

  6. Hi, I have some healed cuts on my ankles, they sometimes appear white when I run my finger over them but other times are a fade purple, the other day for some reason they were really visible. We are going into summer and I don’t really want to have to wear socks all the time. I was wondering is there anything that could help them fade more and if there is anything I could do on the days they are extra visible?
    Thank you

    • Hi Ella, applying a scar treatment consistently for up to 12 weeks, in conjunction with regular sunscreen use over the scarred area should help. Otherwise, the sun will only darken the scars, making them more prominent.

  7. What could happen if you don’t wait for the scar to heal fully first before getting a tattoo over it? I have two scars that are still a little pink and I would like to cover them up with a tattoo in about two months. Would it be truly wise to do so? It’s been two months already so by then it will have been four months.

    • Hi Ashleigh, it’s not wise to tattoo over the area before the scar has fully matured. What you see on the outside is not reflective of complete healing in the deepest layers of your skin. It is best to wait 1-2 years.

  8. Can hair bump scars be tattooed over? On dark skin they’re black

  9. I have this huge scar beneath my knee for life 10yrs now is really making me lose confidence am fair but the colour of the scar is black n is bony.. .wouldn’t know if I should tatoo it.. .reply pls

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