Thanks to the body-positive movement, many people have been empowered to embrace the skin they are in and show it off in the most inspiring ways. One photographer has taken things further, by visually capturing the stories behind women, men, and children with scars, and the captivating photos are going viral for all the right reasons.
U.K.-based photographer Sophie Mayanne officially kicked off her photo series in 2017, and as noted on her Instagram page, “The series celebrates scars of all shapes and sizes and the stories behind them … [and] aims to challenge how we think about the skin we are in, and others around us.”
Mayanne’s latest work showcases a 24-year-old woman named Bianca, who wears braids and poses with her back turned to the camera to give a full view of her keloid scars. She explains in her caption, “My keloid scars developed after I had severe acne on my face, back and chest. I was prescribed tablets to clear the acne but unfortunately they turned some acne spots into keloids.” Bianca goes on to describe how the keloids themselves have caused her pain, and so have the comments of some insensitive people. But she ends on a more positive note.
#behindthescars Bianca " My keloid scars developed after I had severe acne on my face, back and chest. I was prescribed tablets to clear the acne but unfortunately they turned some acne spots into keloids. Since the age of 13 I've had multiple injections and I’m now going through surgery to try and flatten the scars on my face even though keloids are known to grow back. Keloids itch and burn and cause pain on a daily basis. They've stopped me from living my life, wearing certain clothing and caused anxiety and depression. Sometimes people don't realise how scars/skin condition can ruin an individuals mental health. From the nasty comments I have received, I have now realised life's too short to care what people think. I am starting to try love my skin and to believe I am unique. This is the beginning of my journey to become free from negativity and to regain a positive mind set" @biancahoneybeex #scars #keloid #positive
A post shared by SOPHIE MAYANNE (@sophiemayanne) on May 6, 2018 at 12:01pm PDT
Since Mayanne shared that about a week ago, the Instagram post has received over 3,000 likes, and people have left admiring comments such as, “As someone who has also developed keloids as a result of acne, I can totally relate to this. It can be so hard to stay confident. Stay strong beautiful girl.” Another person chimed in to say, “You’re truly beautiful. And your scars look cool, to be honest.” Media outlets and social platforms like Girl Gaze have shared this powerful post as well — raking in more than 6,800 likes.
Mayanne’s photography continues to inspire others to embrace their scars, and we can’t wait to see who will be her next muse. Keep scrolling to see more of her beautiful visual stories, as well as images from others who have joined the #behindthescars movement.
A post shared by BBC News (@bbcnews) on Jan 8, 2018 at 7:37am PST
Having a #birthmark, along with my scars, used to be tough. In the early days, there were times that I would try to avoid people because I didn’t want to answer any questions or deal with people staring at me. I had hard feelings so many times making me not like the way I look. . Everything changed when, still as a child, I finally embraced it and told myself these things: – The way I was born was not a choice. – It is not bad. I am not sick. It is just a superficial difference on my skin. – I have my unique version of beauty. . Being born different has helped develop me to a stronger person. THAT.IS.WHAT.MATTERS. ♥️ . As someone with a birthmark (Nevus), I'd like to celebrate Vascular Birthmark Awareness Day with my birthmark friends, spread LOVE and celebrate the people whose journey has inspired me. Thank you @kymseletto @flawless_affect @lizardpushup @caseyhall9517 @jyaracri @lifewspots @andopham @birthmarkprincess @thetravelin_chick ♥️ @albaparejo_ @vanilla_von_keks @maca.rod_ @rozilene_camilo @cassandranaud @libmolano @gemm_lw @ichendanielle @yulianna.yussef @isaolivieriii @marywestminster @jaclynfromthevalley . Please check out the link in BIO to learn more. Let’s educate ourselves that everyone has their own beauty and unique flaws, and that’s ok. . . . #vascularbirthmark #putonyourbirthmark #portwinestain #pwsalove #love #nevuslove #nevus #birthmarkgang #bareyourbirthmark #embraceyourself #scarstrong #behindthescars #underneathwearewomen #photooftheday #photoshoot #selfie #losangeles #la #flawlessaffect #empowerment #spreadlove #beautyinsideout #borndifferent #barcrofTV #sundaymorningview
A post shared by Nathalia Freitas (@freitas.nath) on May 15, 2018 at 4:24pm PDT
** #RevealTheRealYou ** _ It took me a while to get used to my scars, my confidence was low and I was afraid of what people would say. The worst thing is, these scars could have cost me my life, over people I no longer associate with. But you live and you learn. _ It was not until I started to weight lifting that they started to cause me pain. I used to cry (real tears ) when I had to execute most upper body exercises. However on a positive note, over time they have flattened which means they are not as visible. _ My young people (maybe other people do to, but are not vocal) think I'm a gangster, as on first glance they say the scar on my face looks like a teardrop tattoo. Something I don't like, but there's not much I can do about it. _ Now I'm able to celebrate the beauty of scarring and disfigurement (SWIPE ⬅️) #flexFriday _ Thank you to @sophiemayanne @behindthescars_ with her latest project for @huaweimobileuk @dazed for continuing to #transforming the way I and many others feel about our scars #positivethinking #thisisme _ Focus On Creating your Ultimate Self #FOCUS #IamFOCUSEd _ Hoodie @iamherathletics . #scars #behindthescars #beautyisintheeyeofthebeholder #beauty #confidence #muscle #womenupliftingwomen #transformariontuesday #model #modelling – #regrann
A post shared by Wellbeing & Motivational Coach (@andreacorbett_) on Apr 27, 2018 at 12:20am PDT
#behindthescars Alexandra “When my mum was around 24 weeks pregnant she found out that I had a diaphragmatic hernia. In the 90s the condition only had a 50 percent survival rate, especially as the lungs can not grow properly. At 3 days old I was operated on (by a specialist consultant who had only done the op twice before). I was one of the lucky ones! My scar grew with me – some days I love it because it reminds me that I am strong, but as an actress/ model, it sometimes holds me back from gaining certain work, which can be frustrating, but clearly that work just wasn’t meant to be! One photographer actually edited my scar out and I was insulted – the world and the media need to accept scars and their stories.” @alexandraforduk
A post shared by SOPHIE MAYANNE (@sophiemayanne) on May 14, 2018 at 11:21am PDT
Behind The Scars: Kola “When I was 16 I was a big party animal, I loved to be out every single weekend. One weekend, my friends invited me to a house party not too far from me – and being such a big party person, I agreed to go. Turned out this was one of my biggest mistakes. The party started, dancing started, and drinks started to roll. I ended up drinking too much and lost control of myself and went outside. I attempted to do a front flip and failed, face planted my face into the pavement and cut my head open.” @kolaoladetoun #behindthescars #scars #story #sophiemayanne
A post shared by SOPHIE MAYANNE (@sophiemayanne) on May 10, 2018 at 9:22am PDT
#behindthescars Renee “The story behind my scars is a chronic autoimmune disease in which my immune system has become hyperactive and attacks normal, healthy tissue. My skin can become very itchy, and flares up in rashes which leads to scarring. I first discovered a rash in late 2015, which formed on my ear. Initially, I had no concerns – it was just an occasional itch now and then. However, after about 8 months, thick scabs began forming on my ear which became very sore and tender. My first visit to the Doctors was very concerning as no-one was able to tell me what it could have been, and I was constantly provided with light creams as a pre-caution. By 2016, rashes had appeared on my fingertips and face – the Doctors then informed me it might be Lichen Planus. In 2017, lesions begun appearing in my scalp, and on my chest – by this time scarring on my ear had become so deep that the shape of my ear appeared very odd. After having a biopsy the doctors confirmed my condition was Lupus. Since having the biopsy, my skin continues to itch, and my scalp now has bald patches. Scarring has appeared in so many random places – my back, chest and face. Adapting to this condition has not been easy – it’s really affected my hobbies and overall confidence. I have changed my eating habits, and have been concentrating on skin care regimes to promote recovery.” @_renzo_ #lupus #skin
A post shared by SOPHIE MAYANNE (@sophiemayanne) on May 2, 2018 at 10:41am PDT
Behind The Scars: David "I am 51 years of age. I grew up in Battersea, South London and I had bad acne on my face which turned gradually into Keloids (a form of deformed scaring). These got to a stage where by it was extremely painful and unsightly so I had hospital treatment of steroid injections into the scar.This process took up to 3 years to finally flatten the scar to one I was extremely happy with. In my early thirties I developed minor acne on my chest. This also developed over the years into severe keloid scaring and was again extremely uncomfortable and painful. Again I had to have hospital treatment of steroid injections. This is a very painful procedure. I had this for about a year with no success so I had to go for medical funding to have laser treatment for a year and this has been successful to the point I have no more pain although there is still scarring but a flatter scar. I now feel a lot more comfortable exposing my chest on the beach or swimming etc." @dashby460
A post shared by SOPHIE MAYANNE (@sophiemayanne) on Apr 26, 2018 at 12:22pm PDT
Behind The Scars: Rime “I was diagnosed with breast cancer in May 2017, age 37. It was no huge surprise to be another stat, coming from a public health background, I was very much aware that breast cancer is the most common cancer among women and it's on the increase among women under 50's. Sadly, it is also on the increase among men. Although an outrageous amount of money has been invested in cancer treatments over many years – it has become a very profitable industry – very little in comparison has been invested in the root causes of the alarming increase in various cancers. So although, I am grateful breast cancer can be treated and survival rates have improved. I feel imposed to be grateful, and I certainly did not lightly decide to choose the imposed medical treatment pathway, as I knew the extent of all the side effects and the fact my body will no longer be the same again and neither will I be. However, with such diagnoses, it is no longer just about you, but it is also about the feelings of your loved ones around you. So with some hesitation, I opted for a one breast mastectomy with immediate reconstructive breast surgery using my own tummy tissue. I was, in and out of hospital with a slowly failing reconstructive breast which in the end had to be completely removed as it was delaying my chemotherapy treatment. This has left me with several scars which will continue to evolve as my body will keep changing, and I have several further operations in the next couple of years. I am currently half way through my chemotherapy treatment, so I am very much in the midst of my breast cancer treatment pathway/journey. Its been nice hearing different people's journeys. I have always been body and nudity confident, but I have to admit I am very much still adjusting to my changed and ever changing body. I hope one day, I will reflect on this testing journey and grow from this stronger and more insightful. I am not sure how I feel about my scars right this moment in time… Continued in comments @rimehadri
A post shared by SOPHIE MAYANNE (@sophiemayanne) on Apr 23, 2018 at 12:07pm PDT
Behind The Scars: Tulsi "2006. What seemed like a simple blood test at my GP surgery soon turned into my life changing again! I got diagnosed with end stage renal failure. I was going to die! That’s all I concluded as I couldn’t process what my consultant was telling me. 24 hours of lying in one position post biopsy was painful but hearing that my kidneys were failing sent me into a shock. All I wanted to do was complete my degree. I don’t want to quit now! 4 months post diagnosis I was on peritoneal dialysis. Everything was happening so fast, from severe metallic taste in my mouth to suddenly training to use my machine every night at home! I was so exhausted all the time and suffered from nausea daily. This was due to the toxins building up. I had a catheter surgically fitted into my adnominal region. This is where I was connecting to my machine every night for 8 hours. My spare bedroom became a store room for all the fluids and cleaning items. The first few months were difficult as I was always fatigued. I managed to attend university and deferred my dissertation to the following year as I couldn’t cope with it all. Before I plugged myself to the machine I would place my text books and laptop on my bed so I could complete my assignments and revision.I managed to complete my degree with a 2:1 which was amazing! January 2009 I got a phone call at 1am from the hospital informing me that a kidney became available. I was in the midst of renovating my house during this period so my mind was on meeting with the builders and architect. I asked the doctor when can I let him know, surely they can keep the kidney for a few days!!! He said you have 5 minutes to decide, it would be a shame to let it go as it’s a near perfect match! So I guess it was a yes!! I was sure I'd be discharged soon after the operation so I could get back to the renovations… 4 days in hospital recovering from the transplant I felt ready to tackle the world again. However when I got home something didn’t feel right – surely it must be the post operation pain. I couldn’t sleep or sit, suddenly my bed was the worst place and I was angry all the time. Continued in comments. @tulsidivalove
A post shared by SOPHIE MAYANNE (@sophiemayanne) on Apr 21, 2018 at 11:20am PDT
BEHIND THE SCARS: IYASS "Hi I am Iyass and I am 3! I was born 4 months early, so spent 4 months in hospital. I was very strong and kept going for Mummy. I had a grade 4 bleed on the left side of my brain. Everyone was so worried about the bleed, but there was more. I got an infection and my tummy became so big Mummy thought it would explode. They said it was NEC and I was rushed to Chelsea & Westminster hospital from Hillingdon to be operated on. They had to cut my bowel in 2, and leave them outside my tummy for 6 weeks. After that, they closed me back up and put glue on my tummy. The bleed turned out to mean that I have right sided cerebal palsy, and developmental delay. I didn’t walk until I was 2, and get confused and upset when I am over stimulated. I am a very happy boy, and I have a baby sister called Mariya" @zebedee_management
A post shared by SOPHIE MAYANNE (@sophiemayanne) on Apr 18, 2018 at 9:34am PDT
BEHIND THE SCARS: LIZZIE “I get a lot of misunderstanding regarding my scars. People often react with discomfort and confusion. Some empathise and share their own experience of self injury with me. Others invade my space and feel they need to touch my skin. Just because a person lacks the tools to express their emotions in a healthy way, doesn’t make them a bad person. My suffering is no greater than anyone else’s – the only difference is that I wear mine on my sleeves (pun not intended.) Through raising awareness, I hope the stigma surrounding self injury will be replaced with understanding and acceptance.”
A post shared by SOPHIE MAYANNE (@sophiemayanne) on Mar 15, 2018 at 11:12am PDT
The @bbcnews video has had such an incredible response – and I'm excited to say I'll be live on BBC world news on the 18th Jan (4.40pm) talking about #behindthescars – the project has been on an incredible journey so far, and I'm really excited to see where it goes next. I've had a lot of messages from people asking me to carry on the series – I just wanted to say don't worry, I don't have plans to stop anytime soon! I would love to bring the project to the point where it can become a book – but for now I will let the project take it's course and see where we go! Lots more photos and stories to come! Sophie x
A post shared by SOPHIE MAYANNE (@sophiemayanne) on Jan 11, 2018 at 10:20am PST
Help #behindthescars get to NYC! Can you spare just £1 to back the project? If 833 more of you put just £1 in the goal would be reached! Click the link in my bio to help make it happen! Photographed is @barbie_childs who's story you can read just a little further down the page Sophie x
A post shared by SOPHIE MAYANNE (@sophiemayanne) on Aug 23, 2017 at 8:03am PDT
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