Having experienced self harm myself I understand what it feels like to be in so much distress that the only way of shifting the internal pain to something physical, is to cut, burn, bite or scratch oneself. In that moment you don’t think about the damage that you are doing to your body and how it will leave physical scars of your mental distress. You just want relief. However this act only provides a temporary solution, soon the pain comes back and you have to do it again, only this time deeper, stronger than before. The reasons for self harm are different for everyone; they can be as a result of anger, abuse, anxiety, bereavement, school or work pressures, difficulties at home, bullying, and many other reasons as to why one would want to harm their body in this way. Unfortunately once the damage has been done these scars become physical daily reminders of your distress and can in turn result in you self harming again due to the disgust you feel about yourself and how your body looks.
Self harm is a way of coping from emotional distress but until that distress is dealt with the self harm will continue. This is why it is necessary to receive psychological support to help you to uncover the reasons behind why you feel the need to self harm and to find new ways of dealing with your emotional distress. However, therapy doesn’t help to remove the physical scars that you are left with once the damage has been done, and as already stated scars can actually prevent someone from being able to fully let the events go and can in turn perpetuate a viscous cycle of distress and self harm.
Skin Camouflage can help to conceal physical scars and the act of applying the skin camouflage has been seen to actually help the healing process. Once applied clients have said that their “skin feels brand new,” that they can wear the clothes they want to wear, not have to cover themselves up or feel anxious that people might stop and stare. It can really help a sufferer to experience a sense of relief that they perhaps had not felt before and can prevent future self harming by feeling more positive and confident with how their skin looks.
Here is a very honest and open account from one of my clients who has suffered from self harm and her experiences of skin camouflage as a part of her recovery.
“After suffering from mental illness and self harming for over half of my life I have been left with a lot of scars all over my body. Having these scars has an impact on me mentally. Having to see them constantly reminds me of the pain I went through when I hurt myself. They make me feel abnormal and feel like I have to hide myself and cover my skin for the rest of the world, as other people don't know how to react and I find it hard to explain or when people just stare. Having the skin camouflage done with such great coverage and results was amazing. My skin looked almost new and like it did before the damage I'd done to it. I also had a tattoo that I had done to cover some of my scars and the camouflage totally covered up that too.
During my appointment Charlotte was very understanding of my worries about showing her my scars and was sensitive in her questions and just let me say what I felt comfortable sharing. She showed me how to use the products and the different types of make up that there was and which ones were most suitable for each type of skin damage. I felt safe in being exposed in terms of showing the parts of me I have always kept hidden and I didn’t feel at all judged.
Charlotte was very understanding about my concerns of using the products and answered all the questions I had about the makeup and applying it in different circumstances. Overall I would definitely recommend it to anyone who has any type of skin condition that is causing them distress or making them unhappy or uncomfortable. Once the camouflage was applied I really felt confident that I could go out and actually wear what I wanted to, without feeling anxious about looks or remarks. It also felt good to look down at myself and not feel sadness or pain from seeing what my illness and life had led me to do.”
The act of self harming is a very private way of transmitting one’s emotions and for most sufferers it can be extremely anxiety provoking to have to unveil their skin to another person, especially a stranger, and they can often feel embarrassed or ashamed at what they have done to themselves. Self harm is a coping mechanism and way of numbing off from the pain inside. A Skin Camouflage Practitioner like myself will never judge you, ask you questions about the how, when or why the injuries came about. You will be treated with the uppermost sensitivity and care and the experience will hopefully be a positive step forward in your recovery.
Skin camouflage can be applied to all areas of the body and once set is smudge proof and water resistant for 2-3 days, so you don’t need to worry about it coming off and leaving you feeling exposed. Skin camouflage creams feel so light that it won’t feel like you’ve got anything on your skin, leaving you with a blank canvas and an increase in confidence and self-esteem.
Please note that skin camouflage can only be applied to healed and sealed scars not open wounds, to prevent the risk of infection. It can however act as a good incentive for the user to not engage in future self harm once the wounds have healed. It is always recommended that someone seek psychological or medical support to complement skin camouflage, in order to address the root cause of the distress as well as manage their physical appearance.
When you feel the need to self harm try to use these excellent distraction techniques (146 things to do besides self harming; More distractions and alternatives to self harm) and where possible speak with a trained councillor to help you to tackle the roots of your distress.
Don’t suffer in silence – there are help lines out there that can offer support. www.harmless.org.uk, www.nshn.co.uk are great resources to help you manage your feelings and connect with people who understand.
If you would more information on Skin Camouflage and how it can help you to feel better about yourself and your skin, please contact me for a consultation. Skin Camouflage can help, seeing is believing.