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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