At this point, there’s no denying it. Summer is in full swing for a lot of us. And for those of us with Hidradenitis Suppurativa, it can be an unwelcoming feeling. The weather gets hot, things may start to flare up. The last thing you want to do is deal with your HS scars. Especially in 90-degree weather. Most of us with HS have been there. I used to wear cardigans in the summer because I didn’t want anyone to see my scars. I was embarrassed and irritable. I felt ashamed of my body. It took a long time to get there. But eventually, I had to make the decision that enough was enough. It’s not easy embracing your HS scars, especially in a society where we don’t see it represented much. But please know that your HS scars are nothing to be ashamed of. Here’s why.
They Tell Your Story
Even though many people have HS, it’s not talked about in mainstream media very much. Because of this, a lot of people don’t even know HS exists. And when you don’t see something represented, it’s easy to feel like there’s something innately wrong with your body. And at times, HS can make you feel like you’re at war with your body. But your HS scars are your battle scars.
As hard as it may be to do, I like to think of my HS scars as my badge of honor rather than a sign of weakness. Think about it. You’ve survived a type of pain that most people don’t even know exists. And while I don’t mean to glorify the pain of HS, your survival of it is something to be proud of, not discouraged by. I see the scars under my arms and on my legs as a constant reminder that my HS didn’t take me out.
It Reminds You of How Far You’ve Come in Learning About Your Body
HS can definitely take a toll on you. And as someone with HS and Type 1 Diabetes, there’s a lot to stay on top of on a day-to-day basis. You learn so much about your body when you’re healing it. You learn how food, exercise, and stress affect your body in ways others might not be able to understand. And even though that can be tiring and frustrating, it can be empowering as well.
When I think about how far I’ve come on my HS journey and how much I now know about my body, I feel good about the knowledge I now have. I’ve learned how to tune in to my body and to pay attention to how it feels, what it’s telling me, and what it needs. I encourage you to feel proud about what you’ve learned through this journey and how you may even be able to help other people dealing with the same issues.
Everyone has a Different Perspective and That is Okay
Personally, I’ve never been into health and fitness. And while I’m not exactly trying to open up a gym or anything, I definitely see health and fitness from a different perspective. And to be honest, had it not been for my HS and my Diabetes, I probably wouldn’t even think about paying too much attention to my body. Oddly enough, HS has taught me to accept the things about my body that may not change. I used to look at my HS scars and feel bad for myself. But then I started thinking about how painful it was when my scars were cysts that I felt were attacking my body. Now, I see them as battles I’ve conquered.
Caring for Your Scars Can Be a Form of Self-Care
I’ve had surgeries on both of my arms and they left me with some pretty deep scars after the wound healed. I now use Vaseline and Bio-Oil to care for those scars. I don’t use it to erase the scars, but to make sure the skin doesn’t get too rough in those sensitive areas. I take my time applying my products and see it as much-needed time for me to nurture my skin and show it some love. And not to be unnecessarily corny, but I’ve even named a few of them that I know are here for the long run. (I know it’s lame; don’t judge me!)
If I’ve learned anything from HS – it’s that spending so much time hating parts of your body can be mentally taxing. It can also be detrimental to your mental health. I’ve also learned that if I act ashamed of my scars, it attracts the very response I don’t want. People feel sorry for me. The look of pity I’ve received in the past makes me cringe internally beyond belief. But when you see your scars as just a normal part of your body, people just ask questions. Or more often than not (in my experience), they may just ignore it entirely. Either way, we show people how to treat us and how to see us because our actions tell a lot about how we feel about ourselves.
I’m not saying to go around printing photos of your HS scars. And putting them on flags or anything because you feel proud of them. (even though I completely support your decision). But I’ve found that there’s a lot of honor in loving every part of yourself. Especially the parts that don’t exist on everyone else. Your scars tell your journey, they show your strength and they’re a special part of you. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
About the Author:
Shatece Haynes is a HS Warrior based in the USA. She is a content creator and runs a YouTube channel featuring all things lifestyle, beauty and passion. Her goal is to motivate, inspire, learn, and have a ton of fun with you guys along the way!