Michael Jackson's only daughter had her family worried when she started cutting herself three years ago, but she insists she's over that dark phase in her life and now wants to cover up scratches, scars and cuts with beautiful skin art.

Responding to her critics, who think she's too young for tattoos, Paris has taken to Instagram to explain why the new skin art is important to her.

She writes: "the craftsmanship of tattoos will always be a controversy. some people like them, some people absolutely hate them. i appreciate art, i always have. especially when that art means something to me.

"today i can look at my inner forearms and see art that has meaning for me, i don't see a dark past anymore. my scars... of self-hatred have been covered by loving marks, creativity, ingenuity... and depth."

And Paris insists her new tattoos, which feature skin art tributes to her father, who died in 2009, are "a way of changing for the better, always improving (myself).

"they represent strength for me," she adds. "i look back at my old self and then i look in the mirror, and i see a fighter looking back at me. i'll always keep fighting, and encouraging others to stay strong. we all go through hell every now and then but it makes us the warriors of love we were meant to be. so to anyone struggling, it gets better."

She ends the Instagram post with a line from one of her father's songs, adding, "you're not alone".