Picture:
Picture:
Facebook / Aoife Lovett; Instagram / ryanseanthepirate

Each year, 1 in 5 women and 1 in 7 men self harm.

Even when sufferers have moved beyond that tough period of their lives, the scars can act as a permanent reminder of painful memories.

19-year-old Aoife Lovett wanted to cover up her scars - but tattoo artists refused, as scarred skin is trickier to work on than smooth flesh.

Then Lovett found Ryan Kelly, a tattoo artist from Dublin who covers up the marks from self harm for free.

Lovett chose a rose and a dagger to cover up the scars on her forearm.

Lovett explained to Independent.iehow covering up her scars helped her reclaim her body.

She said:

I think what Ryan is doing is brilliant because it’s very hard to get someone to tattoo over it and it’s such a meaningful to me to get them covered and get them covered well.

It’s very hard to find an artist who will do that and is passionate about it.

A lot of artists just won’t cover them because it’s a lot of work and they’d just not rather take the risk of it looking bad.

Lovett added:

It gives you a new sense of freedom and you get you confidence back because it’s very hard to go into jobs and wear t-shirts with scars because you get looks and you get questions a lot about it.

You don’t want to be standing in work and having people asking you questions. 

Lovett is one of many that Kelly has helped - and hundreds are on his waiting list.

Kelly launched the Scars Behind Beauty project in February, inspired by a friend who had a tough time finding a tattoo artist willing to cover up their scars.

His motivation also came from personal experiences, as he lost his mentor Johnny Connolly to suicide, and he too struggles with anxiety.

Kelly told UNILAD:

I knew I wanted to highlight mental health through my tattoos, but wasn’t sure how!

I then thought of how the Scars cover ups had helped my friend so decided to start the project Scars Behind Beauty, where I cover up the scars left behind from self harm, one person per week, completely free of charge!

Here is some more of Kelly's work:

HT UNILADIndependent.ie

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