A woman in a Skin Camouflage Service appointment

Information for health professionals about skin camouflage

Information about the Skin Camouflage Service for health and social care professionals, including what it is, where it’s available and how it’s funded.

People in England and Scotland with a mark, scar or skin condition can seek advice to help minimise or reduce the appearance of their visible difference from our specialist Skin Camouflage Service.

On this page we provide information for you, as a health and social care professional, about our Skin Camouflage Service. We cover what it is, where it’s available, how it is funded and the positive impact it has for people with a visible difference or disfigurement.

We also provide an update on the service as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and explain how to register your patients’ interest in an appointment.

Have a visible difference and need to access support?

This page is for professionals. If you have a visible difference, you can register interest in our Skin Camouflage Service directly without having to speak to a GP or other medical professional – although it is usually helpful to speak to a professional about the challenges you face as a result of your visible difference.

Register your interest

What is the Skin Camouflage Service?

Living with a visible difference can be very distressing, especially for those who experience staring, comments or unwanted attention. As a result, many people with a visible difference struggle with social anxiety and low confidence.

Skin camouflage is an easy to apply, long-lasting, waterproof, highly pigmented cream and powder that can be applied over scars and non-infectious skin conditions to help them blend into the normal skin tone. Skin camouflage is suitable for a wide range of marks, scars and conditions but can’t be applied to infected, inflamed or broken skin. It also cannot level out raised scars, fill in indented scars or alter the skin’s texture.

This is a fantastic service and the lady I saw made me feel so comfortable and I came out so happy and much more confident.

Skin Camouflage Service client

Our specialist Skin Camouflage Service is there to enable your patients to try skin camouflage as an effective tool for managing their visible difference. It is open to anyone over the age of 5, but children and young people under 16 years require a parent or guardian to come along too.

During appointments, our trained volunteer skin camouflage practitioners talk to your patients about their concerns and provide practical advice. Watch the video below to find out more about what happens during an appointment.

The video below, which was created thanks to a generous grant from the British Association of Dermatologists, explains what happens during a Skin Camouflage Service appointment.

Our Skin Camouflage Service clients leave the appointment with a list of recommended products either to request a prescription from their GP or to buy themselves. You can read more about the products that our skin camouflage practitioners use and about prescriptions for skin camouflage products on our dedicated page.

How are your practitioners trained?

All of our practitioners complete an intensive two-day classroom-based training course accredited by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN). They then develop their skills by shadowing an experienced skin camouflage practitioner before delivering consultations on their own.

Where is the service available?

We operate our Skin Camouflage Service at multiple clinics across both England and Scotland.

How is the service funded?

In England, the service is funded by most Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) as well as some voluntary income. In Scotland, we are part-funded by some of the NHS Health Boards but most of the funding is from voluntary income.

Our service only recommends skin camouflage creams and powders listed as available on NHS prescription. These products are considered discretionary and the reason for camouflage use may be restricted due to local policy (CCGs in England and Health Boards in Scotland), which we advise our clients of at the time of their appointment.

What is the impact of the service?

The British National Formulary (BNF) guidelines state that:

[A visible difference] can be very distressing to patients and may have a marked psychological effect. In skilled hands, or with experience, camouflage [products] can be very effective in [minimising] scars and birthmarks.

Between April 2019 and March 2020 – the last full year of delivery for the Skin Camouflage Service before clinics were paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic – we provided consultations to over 2,000 clients. During that period:

  • 93% of our skin camouflage clients stated the service met their needs.
  • 94% of our skin camouflage clients stated they were satisfied.
  • 94% of all service users reported that the service helped them manage their appearance-related concerns.

[Your practitioner] is a credit to your service and team. Please forward on how impressed I was… I left feeling confident and my scars no longer bother me.

Skin Camouflage Service client

How is the service affected by COVID-19?

Following Government and NHS guidance in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we took the difficult decision to pause all of our skin camouflage clinics from the start of the first national lockdown in March 2020.

Our primary concern has always been the wellbeing and health of our clients, volunteers and staff. Skin camouflage appointments involve one of our trained volunteers working very closely to apply products directly to the skin.

Although we already had very stringent hygiene procedures in place, the COVID-19 pandemic means that we need to adapt the way we deliver the service to keep everyone safe. We are working very hard to make these changes as soon as we can, without compromising the high-quality care expected from us.

What we offer during the pandemic

Whilst the service is paused you can still:

  • Share our resources about skin camouflage with your patients. This includes a series of video tutorials to help people apply skin camouflage cream or makeup at home.
  • Register a patient’s interest in the service, so that we can get in touch with them when our clinics resume.
  • We also continue to offer our wellbeing services – either online or by phone – and have a wide range of self-help guides, so that people with a visible difference and their families can get the help they need. Please share this dedicated page with your patients, which details the support available to them during the COVID-19 pandemic.

How can I refer a patient?

Follow the link below to register your patient’s interest in our Skin Camouflage Service when it resumes. If you have any questions about the service, including its suitability for your patient, please get in touch with the skin camouflage team by emailing [email protected] or calling 0300 012 0276.

Register your patient

Complete this short form to register your patient's interest in a skin camouflage consultation, when the service resumes.

Register now

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