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Beautiful Scars: Submit Your Own (PHOTOS)

First Posted: 02/13/2012 9:31 am Updated: 02/13/2012 5:46 pm

We live in a society where looks are very important. No matter what we believe makes someone beautiful, first impressions are often made on our outward appearance alone.

Scars, often considered imperfections, aren't usually included in the conventional notion of beauty. In fact, many television series and movies create villains and criminals with scarred facial features, perpetuating myths about the personalities of people with scars, points out

In some cases, it can take years to come to terms with a particularly distressing scar (counseling may help). That's why some keep their scar stories mostly under wraps. But others accept their scars as part of what makes them unique. Padma Lakshmi told Allure in 2009 that she loves the seven-inch scar on her forearm, which she got in a car accident at age 14. "It makes me a person who has an interesting past, and it reminds me that I can survive any pain," the "Top Chef" host said.

Demi Lovato, who was hospitalized late in 2010 for eating disorders and self-harm, called her scars beautiful battle wounds in a 2011 interview with Glamour. The singer and actress has since had hers wrists tattooed with the words "Stay" on one and "Strong" on the other. "Now I'm able to look at them and be thankful for being alive," she told Glamour. I think that I've been blessed over the past year to be able to start over."

Scars aren't always memories of a painful past. Some are noble marks of triumph over a health problem, badges of honor of a life well-lived or simply reminders of a good story. Whether your scars make you self-conscious or proud, your body -- every part of it -- deserves your love this Valentine's Day. Click through these stories of resilience, and if you feel comfortable, submit your own photo as well.

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  • It's a bit hard to tell from this photo, but I have scars up and down my forearms from self harming and suicide attempts in my teens. I feel no shame for my scars, because they remind me how far I've come since those dark days, and I'm proud of how hard I worked to get here. --Anna Snyder, Comment Moderator, The Huffington Post

  • As the story goes, at age 2 I went running into my bedroom, where I had an iron-framed bed. I was wearing sandals, and the sole of the left one folded back, tripping me. My forehead hit the bedframe, which sliced open my forehead. Blood gushed everywhere. My mom, who was nine-months pregnant at the time, summoned the paramedics, who told her to sit down (they didn't want to be delivering a baby, too) and strapped me to a board. They then took me to my pediatrician, who stitched it up with four or five stitches, inside and out. The result was a hypertrophic scar that appeared to shrink as I grew into an adult. As a kid, I preferred to keep my forehead hidden behind my hair, but the scar couldn't bother me less these days. --Clay Chiles, Associate Blog Editor, The Huffington Post

  • At about eighteen months old, I got a tad bit carried away while jumping on the couch and had to be taken to the emergency room. I got about 12 stitches and a permanent scar on my left cheek. Since then, I've had doctors suggest lotions to lessen the appearance, but I've never been interested. To me, the scar is normal -- my face would look weird without it! --Kaitlyn Davis (right), Assistant Editor, Stylelist Home

  • This is a scar I have on my left cheek that I got about one year ago. Since it's on my face, I have to look at it every single day. At first, I was extremely upset that this would be on me for the rest of my life, but as time goes on I'm slowly starting to accept it as a part of who I am. I know there's nothing I can do to change it, and no matter how much makeup I put on to cover it up, it will always be there. In the end, you can fight that obvious truth or you can accept it as a part of who you are. --Anonymous

  • I was diagnosed with scoliosis when I was 12 and wore a back brace for a year, but eventually required surgery. There's a 10-inch scar down the center of my back, and a 3-inch scar on my hip where the surgeons took pieces of bone for grafting between my vertebrae. I now have two metal rods in my back, which have only ever set off a metal detector once, much to my chagrin. Frankly, I forget the scars are there, but the occasional backne break-out is deeply vexing. --Carol R. Hartsell, Comedy Editor, The Huffington Post

  • This scar is from a surgery I had at 16 for a congenital intestinal problem. As a teenage girl, my pediatrician chalked my symptoms up to being all in my head -- so this mark is a reminder to always listen to my body. I know it better than anyone else. --Anonymous

  • My scars from my first ACL surgery have healed pretty well, so I'm not that concerned with the way this one (from my second surgery, in September) looks. If you look closely, you can still see the first one at the bottom. At the very least, it's a conversation starter! --Jeremy Klein, Boston, MA

  • trio of knee scars

    <a href=""><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="" /></a><a href="">slowpaddler</a>:<br />three scars-don't bother me at all--good reminder of how I should never try walking on a tightrope, or any sport that requires grace and scar is from a bike accident-first time ever on a bike w/ hand breaks..forgot where they were; one scar from breaking into our rental using a folding chair (it folded, and I slid into the gas meter); another was from racing to the '88 elections, I was winning until I tripped and fell. the first and third accident required stitches.

  • My Zipper

    <a href=""><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="" /></a><a href="">Caitlin Lyons</a>:<br />This scar is from surgery to replace my vertebra after a burst fracture. 8".

  • Baby Scars

    <a href=""><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="" /></a><a href="">enaj689</a>:<br />I got these scars when I was pregnant with my first son. I had appendectomy surgery at 27weeks and then an abscess removed 3 weeks later. At first I was very sad to look at them, but now I see my son who is 5 and how far we have both come from almost dying and I now wear my scars with pride!!

  • scar

    <a href=""><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="" /></a><a href="">beanmama</a>:<br />This is 12 inch scar on my left leg from a total knee replacement I had in 99 when I was 30. I had Osteoscarcoma and a tumor the size of my fist in my femur bone. It reminds me I beat cancer and am a stronger person because of it.

  • Stupity Scar

    <a href=""><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="" /></a><a href="">biglakejudy</a>:<br />At 65 years old I finally managed to slice my leg with a chainsaw. It was one of those gapping 'talking' cuts. I didn't have any money to have it stitched. Its my reminder that I was a very stupid woman and that I heal well.

  • My Scar

    <a href=""><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="" /></a><a href="">Christina Fernandes</a>:<br />this scar takes up pretty much half my arm almost, ended up slicing my arm open with glass. I wouldnt change the way it looks for the world its a part of me

  • Cancer Sucks

    <a href=""><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="" /></a><a href="">sstokes521</a>:<br />I love my scar, it is my battle wound that shows that cancer can be beat. And I kicked its a$$...

  • My scar and journey

    <a href=""><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="" /></a><a href="">Loriw226</a>:<br />I got this when I was 9 years old. They had to remove half of my thyroid and I was left with this scar it took 10 years and 18 shots a month to get it to be flat and no longer the bright red it use to be. Scars are beauty... Lori W.

  • My chest scar

    <a href=""><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="" /></a><a href="">blondemom2855</a>:<br />This is a scar on my chest from where I had open heart surgery and a quad by in 1998 at the age of 43 years old. My mother had a migraine headache, a saturday, and asked me to take her to the ER to get treated for the headache. I had a heart attack standing at the counter signing my mother in to get treatment. My mom says she was never so happy to have had a headache, as being there at the hosptial when it happened is probably what saved my life. I wear this scar like a battle wound, and I won. Also in the same surgery, I have scars down both legs and left arm where they harvested arteris for the bypass grafting.

  • My new tummy

    <a href=""><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="" /></a><a href="">Jaylene Welch</a>:<br />This photo represents 3lbs of excess skin I had removed after a 100+ pound weight loss. It was the final part of my transformation!

  • Window Scar

    <a href=""><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="" /></a><a href="">mplwy</a>:<br />I got this little beauty after, not thinking, and slapping a storm door window in January (cold glass), telling my Mom's dog to go home. Stupid thing to do? Yes.

  • Wendy's Nightmare.

    <a href=""><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="" /></a><a href="">Beth Rearick</a>:<br />I was around the age of two (I'm 19 now). I was still in my potty training days, of course. I always carried around a backpack with an extra change of clothes just in case I had an accident. One day, my parents decided to treat me to something from Wendy's for doing a such a good job with the whole potty training thing. While we were standing in line, I had went to adjust my backpack, lifting it higher on to my shoulders. In the process, I lost my balance and fell forward. Wendy's used to have the brick ledges under the windows. And, that is where my head ended up. I hit right on the corner of the short brick wall and sliced open my forehead, right between my eyes. I'm just going to skip the rest of the gory details, lol. However, I can't really picture myself with out the scar today. It's a part of me and always will be.

  • Rock Bottom

    <a href=""><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="" /></a><a href="">Frankie Anderson</a>:<br />This was rock bottom. Finding myself in the hospital after a particularly bad cut inspired me to stop for good. As you can see there are over 40 scars. Almost all of them are between 2 and 6 years old. I will have to live with them for the rest of my life.

  • A portion of my scars

    <a href=""><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="" /></a><a href="">David Manoucheri</a>:<br />This is the portion near my wrist where I was burned by coffee at 12 mos. old. I never think about them until someone brings them up, but they cover my arm and I have discoloration on some parts of my body. But they never defined me, which might be why they hardly ever come up in conversation.

  • Toddler Dog Bite

    <a href=""><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="" /></a><a href="">Nikigoldeye</a>:<br />As a toddler I chose at the exact wrong moment to do a common practice of mine: lay on the dog. She turned around and bit me my head was in her mouth, I ended up with dog bites on both checks and approximately 16 stitches in each check. I was embarrassed of my scares in middle school but now in college I have learned if I don't mention them people don't notice

  • battlescars

    <a href=""><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="" /></a><a href="">Kait Snyder</a>:<br />

  • Head table

    <a href=""><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="" /></a><a href="">Sqeakerbug</a>:<br />It's hard to see but, its above my right eye (sorta right above my tear duct).My parents tell me that this happened when I was like two. I wasn't paying attention to where I was going, and ran into the one corner of our coffee table that the dog had chewed off. I used to get all weird when people would ask me what happened to my eye, because I'd forget it's there. I've never tried to cover it. I honestly don't mind.

  • Endo Scar

    <a href=""><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="" /></a><a href="">NaturallyCoco</a>:<br />Surgery scar from when I was diagnosed when Endometriosis. Reminds me of how strong I really am.

  • Desperation

    <a href=""><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="" /></a><a href="">Savage Von Drachenberg</a>:<br />My arms are riddled with cutting scars but this is my biggest one. I can't remember why but I was terribly desperate to feel so I took out my switchblade and sliced my arm open. I severed a nerve and I don't feel anything anymore in that area. I get a lot of comments about it, but I'm not embarrassed that people can see i've been to the darkest corners of the world. I think it puts some people at ease because they think that I will understand what they're going through. And I do. Good luck everyone.

  • Scar

    <a href=""><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="" /></a><a href="">niblet81</a>:<br />I was bitten by a dog during a family reunion at the age of nine. My doctor placed the thirteen stitches and said if it had been one more tooth I would have lost that eye and my face. I'm blind in the other eye, so needless to say thirteen is my lucky number. I once held in my hands the funds to have it removed, but it's a part of me and my story. It will stay with me for the rest of my days.

  • 3rd degree road rash.

    <a href=""><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="" /></a><a href="">l4stm4n0nth3m00n</a>:<br />This is my back four and a half years removed from trying to kill myself by jumping from my car at 70 mph. Obviously, it failed, but that's ok.

  • My moment of fear

    <a href=""><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="" /></a><a href="">willy327</a>:<br />

  • leg

    <a href=""><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="" /></a><a href="">imoshx3</a>:<br />I hate that this is who I used to be. And I hate it when people asked what happened. As if they don't know. I know I am supposed to embrace my scars and whatever but I just think they are embarrassing. It's like I cant even go hottubbing without having to explain myself to some stranger. If I had the money I would get them removed.

  • My reminder that I am still ALIVE!

    <a href=""><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="" /></a><a href="">unionhill3</a>:<br />I crushed my elbow when I was 16 in a car accident. This is only one of many scars I have from the accident. It a reminder to me that I not only still have my right arm but also I AM ALIVE!

  • Lost Lung

    <a href=""><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="" /></a><a href="">trouble681</a>:<br />This is a nice 10 inch scar to remove the lower 1/3 of my right lung after finding a baseball size tumor non cancerous. I am grateful it was fine. I don't think about the scar anymore I am proud I came out of it ok and I used to do modeling so this was hard on me at first. Now it is part of me.

  • I got it when I was two.

    <a href=""><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="" /></a><a href="">lilylady1989</a>:<br />I was very sick for a long time, got "diagnosed" with the flu multiple times until on morning my mom went to get me out of bed and I was limp and lifeless. I has a severe kidney infection and 1/4 of my kidney had to be removed.

  • My most intense scar

    <a href=""><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="" /></a><a href="">Alex Connor</a>:<br />from my surgery for my shattered vertebrae.

  • Chin Scar

    <a href=""><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="" /></a><a href="">emsich</a>:<br />This may look like a cleft in my chin. It is actually a small pox vaccination scar. When I was young I accidentally transfered it from my arm to my chin by wiping my chin across my upper arm. I then transfered it to the other arm, so now I have three.

  • Triangle Scar

    <a href=""><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="" /></a><a href="">LJKennedy</a>:<br />This is a small perfect triangle-shaped scar above my left wrist that I got as a young girl when my arm got caught on the thorn of a rose bush. It tore a perfect shaped flap in my wrist and it healed just like this.

  • Top surgery scars

    <a href=""><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="" /></a><a href="">Rowan Griffith</a>:<br />These are the scars from my top surgery (bilateral mastectomy with nipple grafts). Some people get tattoos to cover their scars, but I love mine! They are a testament to the the journey I've taken and how much I've grown as a person. I will never be made to feel that I have to apologize for being trans.

  • Scar

    <a href=""><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="" /></a><a href="">Robin Ortiz</a>:<br />I was born clubfooted on both feet. I had correction surgery when I was 6 months old. I ended up with flat feet and curly toes but they are a reminder of what I went throw when I was a baby and it made me stronger. Robin Ortiz PHCC Student

  • Neck disection

    <a href=""><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="" /></a><a href="">chemokiki</a>:<br />The "4th stage incurable throat cancer" that I lived through. Those are over 40 stainless steel stitches. I am still embarrassingly self conscious about the scar. I should see it as a sign of strength.

  • Eye scar

    <a href=""><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="" /></a><a href="">Lisa SmithBrooke</a>:<br />I wandered into a cow pasture when I was 3 years old and a bull saw me and started to come toward me. I ran toward the barbed wire fence and it almost ripped my eyelid off.

  • Storm Door

    <a href=""><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="" /></a><a href="">amc141plt</a>:<br />Accident as a young boy, I was 5 or 6 and put my hand through a storm door window. All I remember is how it freaked out Mom!!

  • Choices

    <a href=""><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="" /></a><a href="">lafarm10</a>:<br />Life is full of choices. Sometimes they're not always the for the best, sometimes they leave behind things. But each moment, each scar, represents something in your life that can never be erased. Scars should be embraced, not frowned upon.

  • Hodgkin's Lymphoma

    <a href=""><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="" /></a><a href="">vitaminh2o</a>:<br />I had cancer when I was 17 and here you can see the biopsy scar on my neck and a scar from where they placed a portacath for receiving chemo therapy.

  • My Left Cheek, biggest insecurity

    <a href=""><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="" /></a><a href="">JHill517</a>:<br />I got into a car wreck right before my senior year of high school at a new school. The road was slick from rain, and I caught the side of the road and over corrected. I rolled my car 3 times, totaled it. One more roll, and I would've hit a telephone pole. I was very lucky to only sustain minor injuries, the most obvious to everyone else being the huge gash on my left cheek. The most obvious to me was the ptsd I was experiencing every time I got behind the wheel. This was 6 years ago, so time and mederma have helped heal it so I can cover it with makeup. Therapy has helped me heal. When people asked me about it, I wanted to avoid talking about the wreck so I told them I had been in a knife fight and they should see the other guy. lol Those days are gone. I have come to a point where I can appreciate my scar now; it's a reminder that life is short and it can be taken from you in an instant. I am lucky.

  • A Beautiful Face

    <a href=""><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="" /></a><a href="">mhill51109</a>:<br />I still remember the date: Thursday, May 19, 1977 at 3:39pm. It was a few weeks before the Indianapolis 500. I had met Janet Gutherie, at the Speedway the weekend before. On that very hot day (85°), I was hit by a car, which was driven by my little league baseball coach, who went into shock after the accident. My face went through the wind shield, causing severe lacerations needing 100+ stitches. I woke up in the hospital to crying parents. I was never so scared as when I saw my parents. It was the first time I understood what love actually was. I have keloid skin so the plastic surgeries never worked on me. My smile is lopsided: one can still see the scar above my lip. However my family and husband tell me how beautiful I am. Today, I am grateful that I didn't die or loose my vision or ear, which had to be reattached. The accident taught me to value my life. On the flip side, I am very hostile toward the plastic surgery industry, which hasn't immensely improved techniques for people with keloid skin It's a pity the plastic surgery industry is more concerned with making money i.e. breast implants then improving people's lives. My childhood was very painful. Every person who has scares like mine says the same thing. As for Janet Guthrie, I watched the Indy 500 from hospital bed. Janet came in 29, because of engine problems. It was comforting to know that even she had disappointments in her life. The following year I chipped my tooth doing gymnastics on a cement wall. Compared to the 100 stitches, the chip tooth was a cinch to live down!

  • The things we do...

    <a href=""><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="" /></a><a href="">adgey1006</a>:<br />One of many scars I love to show off. This one is from having a dorsal cyst removed from my wrist back in December. Was back to pushups 1 months later. Rock on.

  • knee surgery

    <a href=""><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="" /></a><a href="">Nancy Munford</a>:<br />

  • C-Section

    <a href=""><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="" /></a><a href="">khultukun</a>:<br />Emergency C-Section scar. Approximately six and 1/2 months after giving birth. Was in labor for two 1/2 days before this went down!

  • I am strong. I have a reminder that shows it.

    <a href=""><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="" /></a><a href="">Brennan Sayler</a>:<br />I have had 13 surgeries because of Endometriosis. These scars are from the surgery that changed my life. I have dealt with chronic pain for 6 years and finally my pain doctor decided to implant a spinal cord stimulator..and it has improved my life greatly. These scars show my determination and show what I've been through. I am not ashamed of them, I have an amazing reminder of who I am and what I've been through.

  • Lapo Kidney Scar

    <a href=""><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="" /></a><a href="">Zona Garcia</a>:<br />January 31, 2007 I received a scar that I proudly wear. I received it becoming a living kidney donor... to my mother. She own kidney had failed and she was on dialysis, and I was a match. This is only one of 4 scars I receieved that day, it's also the biggest one at 3" long. It is about 3" below my belly button. I've never been self conscious about it because it reminds me that I was able to do something for a woman that did so much for me.

  • Leg Scars

    <a href=""><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="" /></a><a href="">divegal404</a>:<br />These are the scars that go down my left leg from the lengthening surgery I needed after an accident destroyed my growth plate. I love them not just because they're unique but also because they remind me that even if something seems impossible you can always find a way to make it happen.

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