Injuring yourself on purpose by making scratches or cuts on your body with a sharp object enough to break the skin and make it bleed is called cutting. Cutting is a type of self-injury, or SI. Most people who cut are girls, but guys self-injure, too. People who cut usually start cutting in their young teens. Some continue to cut into adulthood.
People may cut themselves on their wrists, arms, legs, or bellies. Some people self-injure by burning their skin with the end of a cigarette or lighted match.
When cuts or burns heal, they often leave scars or marks. People who injure themselves usually hide the cuts and marks and sometimes no one else knows.
The dangers of cutting are obvious, such as the risk of losing too much blood or of getting an infection. But there are hidden emotional dangers in cutting too. It can become enough of a habit that some people feel that they are addicted cutting. 
Anyone showing cutting behavior needs to seek help to find solutions for dealing with their painful issues. This could be through a school counselor or a professional therapist or a support group. Whatever the setting, the outcome should be finding healthy outlets for overwhelming negative feelings. It is difficult to overcome cutting by yourself and you don’t have to do it alone. If you, or someone you know, is struggling with cutting and you don’t know where to turn for help, you can always start by calling Safe2Tell™ at 1-877-542-7233 (SAFE).
For additional information on cutting, link to The Children’s Hospital website.
 The Children’s Hospital website, September 2007.