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Self-Harm Scar Cover-Up Options that Work

July 8, 2021 Kim Berkley

Your self-harm scars belong to you; it is your choice when, if ever, to show them or hide them from the world. For those days when you would rather keep things under wraps, it's helpful to know what sort of self-harm scar cover-up options are at your disposal.

Self-Harm Scar Cover-Ups I've Used in the Past

Which options will work best for you will depend a lot on where your scars are and how visible they are to the naked eye. I consider myself lucky in that, while the majority of my scars are in a visible place (my arms), they are extremely difficult to see unless you're looking for them. The magical healing properties of time have rendered them small, pale, and almost invisible against my equally pale skin.

But of course, they weren't always that way. Back when I was still healing relatively fresh wounds, I used many of the typical (almost stereotypical) self-harm scar cover-ups.

I wore long sleeves, which is generally pretty effective but not ideal during summer in a tropical city like the one I grew up in. I wore bracelets and wrist bands, which can be effective. However, the bracelets should match your style (otherwise, you're drawing attention rather than deflecting it) and shouldn't get in the way of your usual activities. I wound up sticking mostly with cotton wrist bands because big, heavy bangles and charm bracelets made writing difficult.

I also used band-aids and excuses. I want to be clear here—I'm not condoning hiding your scars from everyone like this. Someone, hopefully a mental health professional (or at least someone who can help you), should know the truth. But it would be naive to ignore the fact that sometimes, you can't physically cover your scars but can't explain them honestly, either. Maybe you're speaking to a boss who could use the information against you, or you're speaking to a classmate who can't keep a secret.

If you need to explain your scars to someone you simply can't be honest with, I've found it's easiest just to make something up. It's awful, but it's true. 

Other Self-Harm Scar Cover-Ups to Try

Another favorite tactic for covering up self-harm scars—one I never quite got up the courage to try—is tattoos. Ink is a commitment, and it can get expensive. Some people, like me, also have health-related reasons why they cannot, or should not, get a tattoo. But if you're open to it and you're well-informed about the potential consequences (it's silly, but some employers are still very closed-minded about piercings and tattoos), cover-up tattoos make for an artful alternative to long sleeves and bracelets.

If you like the idea of a tattoo but not the permanence of it, you might want to consider temporary tattoos, henna, or even—if you're artistically inclined—simply drawing or painting over your scars with non-toxic art supplies. (Just be sure, if you plan to show off your body art at work or school, that you won't be violating any dress codes.)

Similarly, you could use makeup to cover your scars as you would any blemish. Don't assume that you need an expensive, high-end brand—depending on the size and severity of your scars, a simple grocery store concealer might be all you need. However, if you have raised or prominent scars, a specially-designed scar concealer may be necessary to achieve the desired effect.

Laser scar removal and other medical procedures are also gaining traction as more people open up about their self-harm and recovery, and depending on your situation, these may be viable options. However, they are likely the most expensive option and are even more permanent than regular tattoos. Be sure you are confident in your choice before you commit to any such procedure. It might surprise you to know that some people actually grow to like their scars over time.

Have I missed anything? Let me know in the comments if you've tried other self-harm scar cover-ups besides these and, if so, how well they worked for you. You never know who you might be helping simply by speaking up.

APA Reference
Kim Berkley (2021, July 8). Self-Harm Scar Cover-Up Options that Work, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2023, September 22 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/speakingoutaboutselfinjury/2021/7/self-harm-scar-cover-up-options-that-work



Author: Kim Berkley

Find Kim on Instagram, Facebook and her blog.

Rue
September, 11 2023 at 12:47 pm

I have lots of self harm scars all over my arm. I have Homecoming coming up, and want to cover them up. I already get lots of questions about where they came from, and I'm not comfortable with that. They're awfully dark, and I'm not sure if concealer will work. I'm also wondering if you know of any ways to help support the fading of scars? I really want them to go away, they're quite embarrassing. Thank you so much for this amazing article, I appreciate you sharing this.

gyss
September, 13 2023 at 5:16 pm

i would use arm warmers if u have any or if not, then maybe buy some concealer or foundation.. i recommend buying arm warmers if u cant find any of those wear any long sleeved shirt, hoodie, jacket, etc. but yeah i hope that u stop hurting urself and ur beautiful

vale
August, 20 2023 at 8:32 pm

I've been really struggling with sh since may of this year. I used to do it in 2021, but I stopped in January of last year. My parents discovered that I was getting drunk at parties and I thought they were going to take me out of school, they were both outside the country and weren't coming back home for a few days. I didn't know what I was about to do and how much it was going to affect me for the next 3-4 months. Ive had suicidal thoughts for a while, its been really difficult to me thinking about the fact that im getting worse than I was before in 2021. Im almost doing it everyday, and my parents know about it. Yesterday I almost decided to end it all, but I didn't, even though I got drunk at my own house when muy mom wasn't home, I couldn't feel anything to I relapsed really bad and now I have half of my arm with scars that I don't know how Im going to hide it for the next 2 or 3 weeks without anyone noticing. Some of my friends know that I relapsed, but not all of them. People are finding out about my scars and its been really uncomfortable, its like they are treating me diferent. I really don't know what im going to do if my mom finds out, or if anyone does. I just know that is she finds out she will probably get me out of that school, she knows that the people I love the most are there, and that I hate being in my house, it makes me feel alone, and sick, and I don't have anything do distract myself with so its just me and my thoughts, and the worse parti is I can't even cry, I don't know why. Tomorrow im going to a more specialist therapist, I really don't know how is it going to go, but im really nervous, i just want to be ok, happy and not waste my teenage years on this.

Chanel Dickey
August, 3 2023 at 2:45 pm

I have been going through a lot in my life and I have been cutting myself and I don't know how to cover it up because I don't want my mom to find out because I would be in a lot of trouble my boyfriend today was holding my had and decided to left up my hoddie sleeve and seen them and said I need to stop or he is telling on my and I don't want him to and I don't want to lose him so if you guys have any recommendations please help me.

Aspen
June, 29 2023 at 12:38 pm

I've been doing self-harm for a long while now and I've been covering for a while now. However it's grown suddenly unbearably hot round where I live and the scars I have stand out a lot, and are puffy.
I tried using concealer, however it didn't help much.
I'm too young to get tattoos and things like that, and I can't complete any work such as writing, commissions or things like that without them getting in the way.
Moreover, the scars on my under-arms go from my wrist all the way to the elbow, which makes them hard to cover. My parents are getting too suspicious and I don't know what to do.
I wish I could tell them but they are still angry about me 'coming out'.
I'm moving to my other parent soon, who is more calm and won't make such a big fuss, so anything that can last me at least two months would be helpful.
(i am using a fake email so my parents don't get a notification, that's why the name is kind of weird)

Been there
June, 28 2023 at 2:25 pm

I'm late to these comments but hopefully this will help someone. I massively self-harmed when I was younger. Thankfully, I'm now in a much better place, however, I still - 30 years later - am left with the aftermath of very large scars everywhere. Fortunately, there are more options than when I was younger. There is a industry movement towards clothing that protects you from the sun which also have cooling properties built in. I have a few SPF long-sleeved shirts, I have "cooling arms" meant for golfing, cycling, etc. I also (female) have loose, airy "boho" blouses in summer colours with camisoles underneath. Anyone who asks I say I'm sun sensitive and it's generally accepted. And just a final word to anyone still self-harming, don't give up on yourself.

junie
June, 16 2023 at 11:21 pm

hi,
i have scars on my upper thighs, which are typically covered by longer sweatshirts and pants, but i also have scars on my lower thighs (the area above my kneecaps). i am going to start playing soccer in august and am concerned about how i would cover the ones on my lower thighs, because i don't want to sweat makeup off and tons of bandaids will be suspicious. i am too young for tattoos or laser scar removal.
thanks!
junie

Bree
June, 5 2023 at 5:57 am

Hi, I have long scars (six-seven inches long or so) reaching from the middle of my hand down my wrist. I've been trying to wear a hoodie to cover them up, but now it's summer, and I don't own any long sleeve shirts because I don't like to wear them. I've tried wearing bracelets and watches, but the scars go too high on my hand. Do you have any ideas for me?
thanks!

elise
July, 9 2023 at 7:05 pm

try fingerless gloves.. they’re not everyone’s style, but they work as a cover-up. i think regular gloves would be too suspicious so other types can be good. i recommend ones that are made of thin material and go down your entire arm:)

valen
August, 20 2023 at 8:36 pm

hii, you can try makeup, green concealer cancels the red from the scars, and you can also look up YouTube videos for how to cover them up. Band aids can also be useful, you can say you had a accident to cover them up, hope this helpeddd

Vinnie
May, 27 2023 at 11:15 pm

Hi, I'm Vinnie. I've been struggling with my mental health and self harm for several months already and I have been doing it on my upper inner arm close to the armpit. For summer I have been wearing baggy t shirts to help me put here, but summer vacation has started and I don't want to wear one pieces as it feels unnecessary when I have to wear shorts. What do I do? I can't find good long sleeved bathing suits without them being one pieced, and I want to look good as I want to be more confident. I don't know!

Kellie Holly
May, 30 2023 at 5:19 pm

Type into google search: "long sleeved bikini swimsuit". It should show you a bunch of very cute options.

Riley (using a fake backup email in case my mom finds out)
March, 28 2023 at 10:47 pm

Hi, I’ve been self-harming for 3 years now so some of my scars are raised. I’m going to a surf camp in a couple months and it’s obv at a beach. I can’t get tattoos or surgeries since I’m only 14 and I never wear makeup ever so if I asked my mom if we could get makeup she would prob be suspicious. I’ve worn bracelets and scrunchies but now it’ll look sus since my scars are all around most of both my forearms. I also have some on my left shoulder. I’ve been wearing long sleeves and hoodies for three years straight and have gotten away with it. But, wearing a hoodie in the water and at the beach would definitely be really sus. I don’t know what to do since I’m afraid of judgement and the camp I’m going to is Christian. Do you know what else I could possibly do? If not, I could try to figure it out but right now, I have no idea.

gabi
April, 7 2023 at 9:33 pm

waterproof bandaids might help. and you could say that you’re just clumsy and scraped it, or a pet scratched you. or if you spend time with a baby, you could say the scratched you. all of those things have actually happened to me lmao. but no matter what make sure you’re cleaning them as much as possible because that ocean water can’t be good.

Mary
April, 15 2023 at 7:43 am

You can also buy long sleeves swim suits, or You can find Dermaflage at most drug stores for around $40.
Dermaflage is flesh-colored, but you can apply makeup on top of it if you want to.
Dermaflage is flexible, so it will move with your skin as you walk around. If it’s a Christian camp you could also say that your get burned easily. Or you could say that your very religious and that you don’t usually wear reviling clothes, this would make sense and I say this a lot, you can wear light white cotton t-shirts under your summer short sleeves, and light blouses over your tops too, it can look very nice if you look it up on Pinterest, and tell your mom that everyone at the camps have long sleeved swimsuits

Kim
April, 25 2023 at 10:51 pm

For quick social interactions, I’ll throw fake tattoos on my arms and pass them off as a fun thing my friends and I did, completely “forgetting” the family whatever.

Calem
March, 27 2023 at 10:01 pm

Hi, i've been self-harming for months now, and my thighs are absolutely mottled with scars, fresh and old. (it's a number-based thing for me, so i have a concerning amount, and a concerning amount more to do)
It covers the majority of the top of my legs, hitting just behind my knees, but my family likes hiking and swimming, and with summer coming, i need a way to hide them from my crazy mom (she's a whole 'nother can of worms). I don't know what clothes will fit, cover them, and not overheat me, and since i'm only 15, tattoos aren't an option either (not even temporary)
Do you have any possible suggestions? (the scars are rather dark, and very obviously scars, some are raised, and they look extremely intentional)

Matty
April, 2 2023 at 9:56 pm

Hi! I understand this and went through this. Some tips I have learned is wearing your skin tone of tights and then shorts over top or cropped leggings

Aro
March, 13 2023 at 10:14 pm

hi sorry my name is Aro and i have fresh cuts on the back of my ear that i would like to cover
my mom and dad already saw and punished me for when i use to self harm on my ankles so i had moved to behind my ear and im cutting my hair short so i cant use my hair to cover these scars anymore also i have been going back to on the ankle cuts and was wonding how i could cover them if i went swimming

Mais
April, 17 2023 at 7:52 pm

Hi, so I have had one of the same things happen (just in a different spot/s) and I use waterproof concealer. You can also use waterproof plasters/band-aids. You can also buy flesh coloured plasters/band-aids to help. (You can cut them to size needed) I hope this helps! x

Nobody
March, 12 2023 at 9:35 pm

I’m trying to play basketball with my friends I wear hoodies so I overheat and I’m a trash shooter with them for no reasons but I need them covered up I don’t have makeup they are kinda puffy but they are small like a thumbnail width only my mom, dad, and brother know I keep them hidden to the best of my abilities but I overheat they are a pinkish purple and I scar very easily what do I do I feel weak with them I regret it so much they are like 1-2 years old I was numb and when I did it I felt pain but it was something to feel I’ve never told anyone why I did it and I hate talking about it what do i do?

heartsopper obsessed
April, 22 2023 at 8:54 pm

hii, im sorry i dont know if ill be much help cus i just started self-harming, but i’ve heard that concealer and make up is very helpful. if swimming or like sweating a lot you can also get water proof makeup.

Nobody
March, 12 2023 at 9:06 pm

My scars are kinda puffy I’m a male so I can’t use makeup and I can’t use bandaid excuses because they are spreed out I want to play basketball with my friends but I get really hot because I wear many hoodies my scars are like 1-2 years old I stopped because I regret it so much I don’t feel normal I feel weak also my scars are a purple-ish pink and I have 6 of them what do I do

Iisa(Fake name)
June, 29 2023 at 11:46 pm

Hey I have the same thing except I'm a girl. I think you should ask a friend who is a girl to borrow her make up and tell her that you have a couple of scars from messing around and they make you feel embarrassed for being clumsy and if you have a sister just secretly use it or your moms actually. But if your skin type is different try blending it in with different shades of blush maybe or eyeshadow. I hope this helps.

Nobody
March, 12 2023 at 9:06 pm

My scars are kinda puffy I’m a male so I can’t use makeup and I can’t use bandaid excuses because they are spreed out I want to play basketball with my friends but I get really hot because I wear many hoodies my scars are like 1-2 years old I stopped because I regret it so much I don’t feel normal I feel weak also my scars are a purple-ish pink and I have 6 of them what do I do

Jaymmie
December, 28 2022 at 8:12 pm

Hi um basically i have been cutting for about two yrs now. In January I am joining university and do not necessarily want anyone to see my fresh cuts/scars. However it is very warm in the building and i an the average male with homophobic parents. So me buying makeup would be highly suspicious. Is there another way to hide scars without long clothes or makeup and bandages .

January, 7 2023 at 4:38 pm

Hi Jaymmie,
Thank you for your comment. I understand your concerns (and I'm sorry your parents are homophobic). Would it be possible to buy the makeup under the pretense of buying it for a friend or someone else? If not (or if that seems too risky), long sleeves or accessories that might cover them are usually the safest bet, unfortunately. Thinking out of the box here—would temporary tattoos or body art work, or would that also trigger unwanted attention (from your parents or from others)?
(Also, please remember that you shouldn't apply makeup, temporary tattoos, paint, or anything else like that to fresh wounds, as it can cause infections and/or take longer to heal.)
The most foolproof method would, of course, be to stop hurting yourself entirely. I know that's easier said than done, but if and when you feel ready for that step, know that there are resources (here on this blog and elsewhere) that can help you get started.
I hope this helps? If you have any more questions/comments, feel free to reply here or elsewhere on the blog.
Sincerely,
Kim

Jaymmie
January, 7 2023 at 4:58 pm

So the one of the professors saw my scars and told my parents about them. So now i go to therapy. If i had seen this sooner i may have been able to avoid this situation however thank you for the suggestions.

January, 31 2023 at 2:59 pm

Hi Jaymmie,
I'm sorry that your situation was revealed without your permission, but for many people, therapy can be a huge help in quitting self-harm and establishing a sustainable path of recovery. So even though the circumstances under which you were sent to therapy weren't ideal, I hope it turns out to be helpful nonetheless.
Take care,
Kim

Ves F
December, 5 2022 at 5:45 pm

Hello my name is ves, I have fresh scars on my arms and would like to know if covering it up with makeup will work. I am unsure if it well, I am extremely pale. It’s hard for me to even find the right type of makeup that matches my skin tone

January, 7 2023 at 4:23 pm

Hi Ves,
I have a similar problem; I am also very pale. However, I do think if you shop around a bit (possibly online) you should be able to find makeup options that work! Just make sure that your scars are, in fact, scars that have fully healed; applying makeup to fresh wounds that have not fully scarred over can cause an infection or, at the very least, impede the healing process. You may have to try and search specifically for makeup for very light skintones; for me, I always have to look for makeup that says "translucent" or something to that effect.
Hope that helps! Let me know if you have more questions.
Sincerely,
Kim

Mary
April, 15 2023 at 7:50 am

I’m also extremely pale, and I’ve always managed to find perfect shades from k beauty shops

Sophie
November, 8 2022 at 11:13 pm

Hi, I have been struggling with mental health and self harm for a while now. And just earlier I saw your website and I was like "oh my god, a website that doesn't paint self harmers as attention seeking or sick or whatever" So thanks for that:)
As we are going into summer where I live and I graduate next week, I am freaking out about how I am gonna be able to hide my sh. Especially on my arms, it looks so obvious bc I have been harming in the same sort of spots for months, and it is not just my wrists so I can't really just cover it up with jewelry.
I am really stressed about it, because it looks so sus to wear sleeves in warm weather. I know literally nothing about make-up, so if I was to try to use it, what should I sort of get?
I am so worried lol, I can hide the scars on my torso and hips and upper legs alright, but the ones up and down and across my arms?... ahjhhhjff
Also, does self harm have to be particularly deep to leave lasting scars? Like, I can't tell if mine are healing bc I keep going over the top of them again, but... will they go away? I hate the disgusted looks I get from people if my sleeves ever fall down a bit.
Thank so much in advance:)

November, 9 2022 at 11:30 am

Hi Sophie,
I'm so glad you found the website a helpful resource! I'm by no means in charge here, but I am grateful to contribute what I do to the self-harm blog—and I'm happy you found value in what I've shared here.
As for your cover-up options... For makeup, you'll want a foundation and/or concealer that matches the skin tone where your scars are. If you're planning on swimming or doing anything that will make you sweat, look for waterproof options or sporty brands if you can. Depending on how much you can spend on this option, you might even want to look at theatrical makeup that's made specifically to resist being sweated off or rubbed off, if that's a very big concern for you.
Also, be sure to patch test any makeup you buy—this means putting a very little on, usually on the inside of your wrist, and leaving it for a few hours to make sure your skin doesn't have a bad reaction to it.
Regarding depth—no, they don't have to be deep to last. Whether scars fade or not depends on a lot of things, but I'll use myself as an example here. My wounds were relatively small and shallow on my arms—but at the time, I thought I *wanted* scars, so I did certain things to try and make them last. I'm not sure if those actions had any effect or if my scars were going to last no matter what—but ten years later, they are quite faded but still visible if you know where to look.
I will say that if you keep tracing over the same spot, they are much more likely to become permanent. The obvious answer is that if you can stop self-harming and let your skin heal, you're more likely to get them to go away—but I know that isn't an easy decision to make, or to stick to. Still, I hope you are able to stop someday. It's worth it just to not stress over whether every new scar will fade or not—not to mention all the other good reasons to get clean, of course.
I hope that helps. I'm here if you have any more questions or concerns you'd like to share. Take care!
Sincerely,
Kim

Natrium Alkali
January, 4 2023 at 12:38 pm

Straightforward answer. The scars are most probably never gonna go away. It also depends on the depth of your cut. But since you're doing it in the same spot, you're carrying that with you forever. I still have scars from over months ago(and they weren't even that deep). Still all bodies are different,maybe you won't scar?

ezra
October, 19 2022 at 8:05 pm

hello, i have freshly scabbed scars near my inner elbow and im not sure how to hide them from my parents. i would come out to them about it but im scared about how they'll take it, is there any way i could hide them??

October, 26 2022 at 3:18 pm

Hi Ezra,
Thanks for reaching out. In general, I think it's best to come out to your parents if you feel you are safely able to do—but I understand that this is not always possible. So, that being said, yes, you do have some options for hiding them. I've listed many of the ones I've tried in this blog post; I've written a few others on the topic as well, which I'll link down below:
https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/speakingoutaboutselfinjury/2022/3/hiding-self-harm-sca…
https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/speakingoutaboutselfinjury/2021/9/self-harm-scars-in-t…
The good thing about your scars being fresh is that they might only be a temporary problem; depending on a few factors, you may be able to get them to fade entirely in the near future. I've written a bit about this in another post:
https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/speakingoutaboutselfinjury/2020/3/do-self-harm-scars-e…
Beyond the options I've listed in my blog posts about hiding scars, I'm afraid I don't know of any other options. In your case, it sounds like makeup MAY be a good bet, if you're able to apply it without tearing up the scabs and interfering with the healing process. (The fact that they have scabbed is a good sign; it means they're healing.) Depending on where you live, the weather may be getting cooler soon—maybe you can get away with long sleeves until they finish healing? Or if you can think of some excuse that would be plausible and match the appearance of your scars (nothing too elaborate, something like falling off your bike or a friend's pet accidentally scratching you), that can sometimes be a short-term solution, though one I'd use only as a last resort.
I hope that helps. If you have more questions or concerns, feel free to reply again here or elsewhere on the blog. I'll be reading.
Sincerely,
Kim

Anna
October, 18 2022 at 12:52 pm

I have a big problem in family im the mom and my mom and my siblings are my kinds. To feel better I cut myself, my friends tell me to don't. They understand my situation but they don't know how I fell. I Wana talk to my teacher but I know she will tell my mom...

October, 26 2022 at 3:11 pm

Hi Anna,
I'm sorry to hear you're struggling. It's not easy when you feel like you have no one to talk to who fully understands what you're going through, especially when it sounds like you have so much responsibility weighing on your shoulders.
Is there anyone else you might possibly reach out to besides your teacher who might be able to support you without talking to your mom about it? You might try calling a hotline or exploring one of the resources on this page, if you're not sure where to start:
https://www.healthyplace.com/other-info/resources/mental-health-hotline-numbers-and-refer…
You might also want to look and see if there are any local support groups you can attend, or even perhaps an online one (I've never participated in one, myself). Online therapy might also be an option, depending on what your financial situation is like—some platforms offer financial aid options for patients who don't have a lot of disposable income, when insurance isn't an option.
I'll also be here, if you'd like to continue this discussion here or elsewhere on the blog. Just know that you are not alone, and that there are people (including your friends, and myself) who hope you will eventually be able to find other ways besides self-harm to cope with everything you're dealing with—and some of us do, at least to some extent, understand what it's like to feel like self-harm is your only option. But please, believe me when I say it's not.
Sincerely,
Kim

Alannah
October, 14 2022 at 3:49 am

Hello, the most noticeable scars i have are on the TOP of my hand and i dont know how to cover them up without ANYONE knowing. i have work, so i can use fake tattoos and stuff because its not professional, and its too far up from my wrists to be able to use bracelets. im really freaking out because ive already used the bandaid trick and told everyone its a scab but that can only last a few days and ppl will notice its not a scab and scars. but i really dont want people from work noticing. hiding it at home is quite easier than in public, but im really struggling to find something to cover up for them. i used the bandaid trick on them a week ago so i cant use it again. please help me :(

October, 17 2022 at 12:59 pm

Hi Alannah,
Thanks for reaching out. I can definitely understand your worries and your frustration, and it makes sense that you wouldn't want to use fake tattoos in this case. But would you perhaps be able to use makeup instead? Assuming your scars aren't too puffy (and are fully healed), covering them up might be as simple as finding a decent-quality foundation and/or concealer that matches the skin tone where your scars are.
Another option, depending on your work and dress code, might be to wear gloves (regular or fingerless). If you work in a cooler setting (maybe an office where they blast the A/C so it's a bit chilly?), you might get away with simply telling people you have poor circulation in your hands and they get cold easily. (I actually do have this problem, so it's definitely a believable excuse!)
You might also just want to keep yourself armed with some decent excuses in case someone does see them (or in case these options don't work for you and you can't cover them up all the time).
I hope that helps. If you want to talk through this more or have other comments/questions/etc., please feel free to reply here or comment elsewhere on the blog. Take care!
Sincerely,
Kim

Anna medley
August, 28 2022 at 9:58 pm

I have fresh scars on my upper arms (scars on lower arms are old) and upper thighs, I have a sort practice for the next 2-3 months how am I supposed to keep them hidden
, From cowches players and watchers, I'm really scared someone could find out and tell my parents

September, 12 2022 at 3:48 pm

Hi Anna,
I'm sorry to hear about your new scars, and that you're in such a stressful position. I hope it's not too late for my reply to be helpful. While I don't believe anyone should feel like they HAVE to cover their scars, I know it's not always a safe option to open up about your self-harm to everyone involved, either. So here are a couple of ideas.
I'm afraid I'm not much of an athlete, so take what I say here with a grain of salt—but perhaps there's a makeup option that would work for you? Most cheap options won't stand up to the heat/sweat/etc., but if you can afford to, some professional makeup (especially high-quality theatrical makeup) might be able to stand up to the wear and tear of sports. Some might even work in the water, but you'd have to do your research to find options made specifically for that. (This will work best if your scars are relatively flat/thin... thicker, puffier scars or more extensive scarring might be too much to hide, even with good makeup.)
I can't tell from your comment what sport you're practicing, so I'm not sure if this is an option or not, but is it possible to wear slightly longer sleeves/shorts that might cover your scars without being too obvious (or making you too hot to practice safely)? Or maybe you could wear sweatbands, at least to cover the ones on your upper arms?
Depending on how your scars look, you might also be able to come up with some excuses just in case someone does notice your scars. (I imagine the arm ones would be easier to write off as being the fault of a pet or some sort of an accident—upper thigh ones are a little harder to explain away.)
I'd also urge you to reach out for some extra support, not just for coping with the self-harm itself but also for more extensive guidance for situations like this—because this may not be the first or last time you face something like this. Here's our resources page, which includes some websites and hotlines you might want to check out:
https://www.healthyplace.com/other-info/resources/mental-health-hotline-numbers-and-refer…
I hope that helps, and I hope things go well with your practice sessions and that you're able to maintain your privacy as well as your safety. If you have more questions/concerns, reply here or elsewhere on the blog. I'll be around.
Sincerely,
Kim

Ray
May, 19 2022 at 3:31 pm

I have fresh cuts on my legs a little higher than my knee and 2 on y calf but my mom makes me wear shorts cause it gets so hot so I have to pull my shorts down low to cover the knee ones but can’t cover the calf ones I’m not good at make up and it would be obvious (I’m scared she will get disappointed) any ideas?

June, 6 2022 at 10:47 am

Hi Ray,
I shared most of my good ideas already in this post, but I will add: if the wounds are fresh, the best thing you can do is take really good care of them and the skin around them to promote healing and minimize the chance of long-term, noticeable scarring. Every body is different, so I can't tell you how fast your skin will heal or whether you can 100% prevent scars or not, but if you haven't already, please check out this post for more info:
https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/speakingoutaboutselfinjury/2020/3/do-self-harm-scars-e…
You can also check these posts and see if you can find any more inspiration there:
https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/speakingoutaboutselfinjury/2022/3/hiding-self-harm-sca…
https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/speakingoutaboutselfinjury/2021/9/self-harm-scars-in-t…
I suppose it goes without saying (but it bears saying anyway) that the best way to avoid this situation is to avoid hurting yourself in the first place. I know it isn't easy, and I don't know where you're at in your personal journey (if you've already begun trying to heal, or are thinking about it, or not feeling ready yet) but I do hope that eventually you are able to find other, healthier coping mechanisms. If you haven't yet, please consider reaching out to a mental health professional for support—or even just someone you know and trust whom you can talk to about this—and take that first step towards healing. I'm sure it will be a huge relief to you, not to have to worry about hiding your wounds anymore.
I hope this helps! Feel free to reply here or comment elsewhere on the blog if you have any further questions, comments, concerns, etc., and I'll reply as soon as I can.
Take care,
Kim

Kir laybourn
June, 15 2022 at 5:57 pm

Hi I have fresh cuts in my arms and hands and I am scary just in case my mum see it

June, 27 2022 at 3:43 pm

Hi,
I hope things turned out all right; I'm sorry I wasn't able to reply sooner. Please take good care of your wounds; keep them clean and avoid disturbing them more than necessary to keep them from getting infected and minimize the chances of scarring. Would it be possible to talk to your mom about what you're going through? If not, I hope there is someone else you can reach out to, whether a friend or family member and/or (ideally) a medical professional, to help you through this.
Here's a list of resources, including some hotlines you can call, in case it helps:
https://www.healthyplace.com/other-info/resources/mental-health-hotline-numbers-and-refer…
If you have any further questions, comments, or concerns, feel free to share them here or elsewhere on the blog. I hope this helps, even a little.
Sincerely,
Kim

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