Skin Camouflage is used to make damaged skin appear healthy by a range of exterior powders and creams. The products are specifically designed to cover imperfections, but at the same time be thin enough to exactly resemble the user’s normal skin tone. Camouflage make-up was first developed by plastic surgeons during World War Two in order to hide the burns that fighter pilots received. Today, this treatment is safe for women, men and children of all ages.
Joyce Allsworth developed skin camouflage in around 1967 after serving with the WAAF throughout World War Two. She studied beauty therapy and theatrical make-up artistry, and worked in an outpatient clinic at St George’s Hospital in London, during which time she gather support to take her skin camouflaging method to the Red Cross. In 1975 a training programme was set up within the Red Cross, and Allsworth began training volunteers. The British Association of Skin Camouflage (BASC) was started in 1985, and was a place where patients could be treated without their doctor’s referral. BASC has since trained thousands of volunteers, and set up and international network.
Skin Camouflage involves the application of a variety of creams and powders to the skin. They are designed to conceal any defects and discolourations by masking them at surface level. This treatment is intended to leave the patient improved immediately, and as obvious defects are covered, Skin Camouflage is aimed at also increasing the patient’s self-esteem and confidence. The treatment does not interfere with any medical treatment that might also be going on in the same area, and can therefore be used after plastic surgery, to cover bruising, and after major operations. Creams can last up to twelve hours on the face and body.
Skin Camouflage has a range of techniques designed to give optimum coverage for discolourations. Concealers are a base that are thicker and more opaque than standard foundation — usually a cream colour matched to the patient’s skin tone. They are intended to cover incision lines from surgery, scars and bruising on the face or body. Colour correctors are mostly used to hide the effects of burns. They are usually tinted either green or purple in order to disguise the yellow and red of bad burns. Colour contouring is designed to correct the surface contours of the face, which may be affected after surgery. This treatment uses light tones to make surface depressions look shallower, and dark tones to make swelling or protrusions appear less severe. Patients are instructed to remove the creams from the face before bed using an oily cleanser, followed by soap and water.
Skin Camouflage treatments are designed to cover conditions such as traumatic injury scarring, birthmarks, rosacea, vitiligo, permanent pigment problems, melasma, tattoos, spider veins (telangiectasia), leg veins, age spots, and dark under-eye circles. They are also used for the post-surgical concealment of reconstructive surgery, rotation flaps, skin graft discolouration, scar tissue, scar revision treatment, bruising, and burns. Along with this, Skin Camouflage is designed to reduce redness after chemical peels, dermabrasions, laser re-surfacing, and laser tattoo removal.
Skin Camouflage is not only about exterior image. It is also intended to make the patient more confident in their body image, which then affects all aspects of their life. Self-esteem has been credited with making people more socially active and community minded, as well feeling more positive about life in general. British studies have shown that people with major skin discolouration have been verbally abused in the street, rejected from social situations, and called derogatory names. This leads to anxiety, depression, unemployment and learning difficulties. Skin Camouflage is designed to better the quality of life for patients with serious skin defects.