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When Will Scars From Cutting Go Away

Published: September 06, 2013
Dear TeenHealthFX,


I decided this month to stop hurting myself, and I really want to know when the scars caused by my cutting will finally fade away, 'cause I'm getting tired of always trying to hide them. Some of them I made by scratching until I bled. That was in July-August. Most scars I made by driving a sharp pencil point into my skin. Anyway, the clots have healed but the scars haven't left. Please tell me when they will go. Or are they permanent???

Signed: When Will Scars From Cutting Go Away

Dear When Will Scars From Cutting Go Away,


TeenHealthFX is glad to hear that you no longer are harming yourself. It is not clear from your question whether you stopped hurting yourself on your own or in combination with some form of therapy. We ask this because while you stopped cutting the underlying issues that led to the cutting need to be addressed so the cutting behavior does not return. The process often involves developing more effective coping skills, cognitive behavior strategies and in some cases medication. Stopping cutting was a huge first step but please don’t stop there.


Now to answer your question, a scar is a manifestation of the skin's healing process. After skin or tissue is wounded, the body releases collagen to fix the damage. Collagen (a protein), reattaches the damaged skin. As the wound heals, a temporary crust forms and covers it. The crust is a scab that protects the damaged area. Once the scab disappears you will have a scar. How noticeable the scare depends on the type of injury and the severity of the wound.


Once your wound has completely healed talk to your doctor about the scarring and let him/her know that you want to minimize any scarring from your cuts. If it looks like it might be a problem he/she will refer you to a dermatologist (skin specialist.) The dermatologist will do an examination and describe the treatment options and come up with a plan for you.


Beware of these over counter products that claim they remove scars miraculously. The only thing they are removing is money from your wallet. There are legitimate products that are sold of the counter and your doctor can advise you on which product would work best for you. There are some home remedies mainly vitamin E and Aloe Vera lotion. There is some debate as to whether vitamin E is effective but Aloe Vera has some anti-inflammatory properties and may also reduce the redness.


If you live in northern New Jersey and need help finding a therapist you can call the Access Center from Atlantic Behavioral Health at 888-247-1400. Outside of this area you can log onto the US Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website for referrals in your area.

If you don't have a doctor and live in northern New Jersey, you can call the Adolescent/Young Adult Center for Health in Morristown 973-971-6475 or the Adolescent/Young Adult Center for Health in Summit at 908-522-5757 for an appointment. Outside this area contact your local teen health center.



Signed: TeenHealthFX