Humans place a great deal of emphasis on beauty. In fact, according to Penn Medicine News, Americans alone spend more than $12 billion a year on procedures designed to enhance their appearance. The most common cosmetic procedures include nipping, tucking and tanning.

Why, though, is appearance so important? Research shows that appearance plays a role in nearly every aspect of a person’s life, from his or her career to relationship prospects to self-esteem. This sentiment is just an opinion, either. Studies reveal that strangers who view photographs of individuals with abnormalities, such as scarring and disfigurement, are more likely to perceive those individuals as being unemployable, unintelligent, dishonest and yes, unattractive. It makes sense, then, that individuals who live with visible scars suffer on a psychosocial level.

Scarring goes more than skin deep

According to findings published in the National Library of Medicine, the changes caused by scarring can negatively impact a person’s self-esteem and body image. The publication confirms what Penn Medicine said — that the reason behind this is because society places such a huge emphasis on beauty. In fact, it goes so far as to stigmatize or even villainize people with deformities through comic strips, horror movies and fairy tales.

While some scars can, indeed, cause functional impairment, in the majority of cases, scarring has emotional repercussions. Individuals with visible scars are more at risk of developing depression and anxiety than those with flawless skin. Over time, these feelings can progress into feelings of shame and low self-worth and, eventually, anger and aggression.

Each of these feelings, from depression to anger to aggression, can eventually result in strained social interactions, reduced intimacy, stunted communication abilities and avoidance tendencies. Sadly, as of yet, there is little treatment available to address these very real and very devastating psychological effects of scarring. If a major scar occurred because of a devastating accident, you can still seek legal action to hold those responsible for your major injury accountable.