Scars: skin camouflage 

An expert explains how skin camouflage is used to cover marks and scars. Dina, who has hyperpigmentation, describes how it improved her confidence.

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Transcript of Scars: skin camouflage

Skin camouflage really is about drawing the eye away from a disfiguring mark

through the use of a cover cream.

I didn't have scars until I was about 16 years old.

So I tended to sort of cover up then,

whereas my friends were out and about and I'd be sweating under jumpers

because the skin camouflage wasn't available at that point,

not that I was aware of.

It can be a loss of pigmentation in the skin, vitiligo.

It can be too much, hyperpigmentation, too much pigmentation.

It can be scarring.

Really, it's not important to us what people come with.

Our role is solely to help somebody

cover whatever it is that's bothering them.

It was an issue for myself and how I saw myself.

So even if I was walking around the house, I'd still wear a jumper,

just so that I didn't have to see it,

but even more so when I was out and about in public.

(Sheila) When somebody comes to the clinic we discuss what camouflage is,

what kind of cover it can give,

we tell them that it is available on NHS prescription

at the discretion of their GP.

The second step is the skin matching

and that's where we're looking to find the best cover

for their natural skin tone.

Once we agree that that's a good colour for them,

that's then set with a fixing powder

and the fixing powder helps the camouflage cream

to be waterproof and showerproof.

People can swim with it on and they can shower with it on

so it can stay on the body for up to three to four days.

(Dina) In the second half of my consultation

she made me apply the creams,

taught me the techniques,

so that I walked out of there being able to do it

and then I've been using them ever since.

If people wish to access the Red Cross Skin Camouflage Service

they can either go to their GP or their consultant dermatologist

who can provide a referral,

though we do accept self-referrals as well from people.

I think I might have actually cried when I walked out of that room

because I was so...

Because I've had doctors and consultants

and all sorts of medical people try and treat my skin.

I've had private medicines and nothing's worked.

So, to be honest, I walked in there with quite realistic expectations.

The fact that I came out just completely chuffed was just mind-blowing

and it was just quite an emotional moment actually.

Skin camouflage offers a coping mechanism.

It's just another tool in the box.

Some people may want to use it every day.

Others may want to just use it for a special occasion.

So we're not saying,

"Come to our clinics and you must use this camouflage." It's a choice.

It's giving somebody another choice.

(Dina) My confidence is certainly improved

because I can see that I can do something about it.

I would certainly recommend the skin camouflage system

for both men and women.

It can make such a difference.

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