My life changed when I was just 13 years old. A quiet and active kid, my life was suddenly altered in an instant when I was severely burnt by hot water.
I don’t really like to talk about what happened to me much, because now as a mum myself, I can’t imagine the thought of a child being so badly hurt.
It was bedtime and I hopped under the blankets with my hot water bottle next to me. I snuggled down in bed like I had every other night. Suddenly I felt a horrible burning pain. I instantly jumped up and ran screaming down our hallway to where my parents were in the lounge room. I cannot even begin to imagine the fear that they would have felt in that moment.
They grabbed me and ran to the bathroom where they lifted me into the shower and turned on the cool water. Mum was on the phone to the hospital and dad tried to keep me calm. The pain was awful and I couldn’t stop shaking. After 45 minutes in the shower, we were ready to head to the hospital. My parents carefully lifted me into the car for the two-minute drive to the hospital. The second I arrived the nurses put me straight back into the shower where I stayed for three hours with cool water on my legs and hot blankets wrapped around my chest and head to keep me warm. We were told that the burns had to be stopped from getting worse before they could begin to be treated.
The Recovery Was Going To Be Hard
It was immediately clear that I wasn’t going back to school for a while and that the recovery was going to be hard. I was lucky that I had exceptional nurses and doctors that took care of me both in the hospital and during the many visits to have dressings changed over the following weeks.
When I was ready to return to school, my skin had healed but was still really sensitive and easily irritated. I wore long pants to school every single day not wanting anyone to see the severity of my scars. I was thirteen, I didn’t want to draw any extra attention to myself or feel my peers staring. The experience was far too traumatising to recount over and over again to all the people who’d ask what had happened to my legs.
My mum could see how much the burns had affected me. I was so unhappy with how tight, red and rippled the skin was. She came home with Bio-Oil one day, after it was recommended to her by a nurse at the local chemist. I started applying the oil all over my scars twice a day, with the hope of helping the skin on my legs.
The Scars Began To Fade
I applied Bio-Oil twice a day and eventually the scars began to fade. But it wasn’t just the physical scars that faded, but the mental scaring began to fade along with them. Applying the pink oil daily saw the angry red skin fade to pink and left my skin feeling much more normal. I knew my skin would never be the same as it had before, but I knew that it didn’t really matter. As awful as the burn was it had become a part of my story, something that had happened to me, something that I had experienced and had overcome.
A Different Kind of Confidence
By the time I was 17 the scars ware barely noticeable. I grew a different kind of confidence through my experience of having a burn. A confidence that wasn’t about how I looked, but about who I am. I was proud of who I’d become, what I had been through and what my skin had recovered from. I was no longer afraid to run my finger over the outline of the large scars on my thighs and tell people the story of what had happened to me. I realised that it wasn’t something I had to be ashamed of, but it was an experience that I could share with other people.
I moved away from home and went to university. I met a great guy and we got married. Today, 9 years on we have a beautiful son, Hugo. I’ve kept up with my daily Bio-Oil ritual and my burn scars are almost unnoticeable.
Throughout my pregnancy and postpartum, I used Bio-Oil morning and night to help my body as it was stretching and changing. I used to stand in the bathroom, rubbing the oil into my tummy each morning and evening, each day noticing how my tummy was growing bigger and bigger. It was a bit of ‘me time’, where I could really appreciate the changes that my body was going through and get excited about the little baby that would soon change our lives forever. Hugo was born big and healthy and I continued to use Bio-Oil helping my skin to slowly return to how it had looked before.
I love that Bio-Oil has travelled with me from my young and vulnerable teenage years through to motherhood. From my burn scars, to my pregnancy stretch marks, and even some small scars after a key-hole surgery, I’ve always relied on Bio-Oil. My experience has taught me that beauty really isn’t just skin-deep and I’m thankful that I feel beautiful in my own skin.
Michelle Hardman has been appointed Bio-Oil’s first ‘Skinfluencer’ following a nationwide search to find individuals with unique stories to tell about the way they care for their skin. Michelle was selected as part of the brand’s #SheKnowsBest campaign which asked Australian women to share insights into their scar and stretch mark skincare regime, with many taking trips down memory lane, paying homage to the brand’s long-standing cult status.