Scars may make you feel imperfect or self-conscious. They can evoke feelings of shame and guilt. Oftentimes, they serve as a consistent reminder of the event that caused them. Here, we’ll help you deal with them in both a physical and psychological sense to give you a restored sense of confidence.
Minimising the appearance of physical scars
How you treat your scar during the first six months of acquiring it will determine how well it will heal. Don’t attempt to apply any cream or treatment until the affected area no longer needs to be bandaged up.
Once your scar no longer requires a bandage, you can apply creams and other treatments. The best scar creams for you will depend on the specific type of mark you have.
For example, atrophic and raised scars need to be treated differently, so do your research and consult specialists like Dr Raquel Skin & Medical Cosmetics before you start treatment.
Some other ways you can minimise the appearance of your scar include:
- Apply a moisturising cream. When the skin around a cut produces excess collagen, your scar will become raised and make your skin uneven. To prevent this from happening, apply moisturising cream around the affected area. Do so twice a day for the first month or so after obtaining your blemish.
- Massage the area gently. Use your index and middle finger to massage the affected area in a circular motion. Massaging a scar has been known to reduce its visibility once it fully heals. Do so once a day for approximately three months for optimal results.
- Use sunscreen. Scarred skin burns easily because it doesn’t contain the normal pigments that your healthy skin does. If you don’t use sunscreen regularly, your blemished skin will become and stay darker than the rest of your skin. Get into the habit of applying sunscreen around the affected area, especially if you plan on spending a prolonged amount of time in the sun’s rays.
- Apply make-up: If you really dislike the appearance of your blemish, apply makeup around the area. Experiment with different shades to find one that best fits your skin tone.
Reflect on how you perceive your scar
How you perceive your scar can affect your daily life. Consider the following factors you should think about:
- Exposing it. Are you OK with exposing your scar? Exposing your blemishes is not necessary to accept them as part of your body. If you are uncomfortable with people seeing them, hide them using clothing or make-up. Never feel obligated to expose a blemish.
- Accepting it. While flawless skin is often idealised in the beauty world, your physical appearance is only a portion of who you are. While you should accept your blemishes, reflect on your inner beauty and what differentiates you from those around you. Reflecting on who you are on the inside will help you accept the blemishes on your outward appearance.
- Embracing it. Scars can serve as a reminder that you survived a trauma. They can represent your ability to overcome the pain you have experienced in the past and remind you that you are stronger today.
Talk about your scar (if you want to)
If talking about your scar helps you deal with it, do so. Decide on what you would like to share and what you don’t want to talk about. Recruit the listening ears of supportive friends and family. Eventually, you may become comfortable talking to acquaintances and people you have never met before about your blemish.
You may receive unsolicited questions from both strangers and people you know. How and when did you get your blemish? Did it hurt? You are under no obligation to answer these questions if you don’t want to. Politely state that you are not comfortable answering these questions if you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation.
Everyone with scars has had different experiences with physical and emotional recovery. Use this as a guide to deal with your recovery and adapt it as necessary to meet your unique needs.
Peter Wallace has been an advocate for mental health awareness for years. He holds a master’s degree in counselling from the University of Edinburgh.