What is Skin Camouflage?
In short, skin camouflage creams are highly pigmented creams used by people with a visible difference to match the area of concern to the surrounding, unaffected skin. They can be used to cover scarring or other skin conditions such as Vitiligo, Melasma, Rosacea and many more conditions. There are many brands of skin camouflage in hundreds of skin colours and with differing properties making some more suited to large areas of the body, some to smaller areas of the face and others for use on the hands. Skin camouflage creams can be used by any gender, age or skin colour. They are applied daily, are waterproof and are long lasting. Most skin camouflage creams are fixed in place using a Fixing Powder.
What is the role of a Skin Camouflage Practitioner?
A skin camouflage practitioner will have a consultation with the client in order to assess the area to be covered. During the consultation the practitioner will try a number of products and colours to find the best match to the surrounding skin. Sometimes more than one product is needed to provide an accurate match and sometimes a number of different techniques are required. Once a solution has been found, the practitioner will then teach the client how to apply the products, the best way to maintain them throughout the day and how to remove them at the end of the day. A client consultation usually lasts between one hour and 90 minutes.
How can a Skin Camouflage Practitioner help in a claim involving a client who has been left with scarring or another visible difference following an accident, possible malpractice or intentional harm?
If a client has been left with a change in their appearance, they can be assessed by a skin camouflage practitioner. If it is found skin camouflage creams can be used to reduce the appearance of the scarring or other visible difference, the practitioner will write a report for the court outlining all the recommended products and tools needed to cover the area. They will further list the costing of the products and tools and how often each would need to be replaced. These costs can then be added to the claim the client is making.
Can a consultation be done by photograph or video?
No. A consultation must be done in person. A practitioner will try many different products to find the best solution. This can’t be guessed at via video link as even a product a practitioner feels may be the best one can prove not to be when tested directly on the scar or condition. A practitioner cannot even assess the suitability of skin camouflage for a scar or condition without testing the products in person. Sometimes a scar may appear to be suitable for skin camouflage creams but in practice the creams do not reduce its appearance.
Here is an example of skin camouflage creams at work
Below is a photograph of a client who had a skin graft taken from his thigh area and placed on the right side of his face to replace skin which had to be removed. There are two aspects which make the area stand out and cause the client distress. The first is the outer edge of the scar which is red in colour. The second is the skin from the thigh area has a yellow undertone, differing from the client’s redder undertones in the surrounding facial skin. The client had been applying a commercial cosmetic over the whole area which didn’t blend in the skin graft and in fact drew more attention to it than the graft itself. After a consultation with the client I was able to find a suitable yellow toned skin camouflage cream to cover the red scar area. This was applied as randomly as possible so as to avoid a block of colour and to break up the appearance of the red scar ‘ring’. Secondly a pink toned skin camouflage cream was gently stippled over the yellow graft area. This helped to better match the graft to the client’s surrounding skin. Once applied and blended the whole area was set with translucent fixing powder setting it in place for the day.
As you can see, some texture of the scar remains as skin camouflage creams do not alter texture but the overall effect greatly reduces the appearance of the graft and its scar and improved the everyday confidence of the client. This example shows it is not always a case of finding just one colour which matches the client’s skin, but a combination of colours and techniques to achieve the best results possible.
This article was written by Phil Briggs, London based Skin Camouflage Practitioner, for The Expert Witness Journal.
Photographs © Camouflage Consultations.