A ^Retired Plastic Surgeon's Notebook

Self Harm Scars

There is no easy treatment for self harm scars.

blog cutting scars self-injury-scars-before-after-treatment-2

Surgery probably won’t help but camouflage tattooing might.

I get a lot of questions about “scar removal” and sometimes these scars are self inflicted.  Cutting, as it is called, occurs most commonly in the young and is associated with a myriad of mental health problems.  Often the turmoil that characterizes these challenging years dissipates with maturity but unfortunately the scars of cutting do not dissipate.  In addition to being unsightly, these scars serve as a reminder to the patient and to others who see them of a difficult and unpleasant period of life.  And unfortunately, these scars are very difficult to treat.   Contrary to popular wishful thinking, scars can never be removed.  They can only be revised and replaced with a better scar.  With a typical scar revision, the surgeon would endeavor to replace a wide and pink and firm scar with a narrow, soft and pale scar.  And most cutting scars are already narrow, soft and pale so there is little to no room for improvement.   And most times there are so many of them.

I rarely recommend surgical treatment of these types of scars.  The most reasonable treatment, in my opinion, is camouflage tattoo.  A good tattoo artist is able to restore a more normal color to these scars.  Often times, these scars are on areas of the body (inner arm, thighs, abdomen) that do not get a lot of sun and this makes camouflage tattoo pretty reasonable.

Oh, and it’s not just disturbed teenagers who have these scars.  I occasionally see a perfectly well-adjusted and happy middle aged patient who comes in for liposuction or a face lift or some other procedure who has these scars.  They are a testament to the reality that most of time, the angst of youth – well, it just gets better.

Thanks for reading and follow me on Instagram @sowdermd and @breastimplantsanity.   Dr. Lisa Lynn Sowder


Category: Scar, Skin Care

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