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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 through a free appointment with 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 information about the changes we have made to our service due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and explain how to register your patients’ interest in an appointment. If you are ready to refer a patient, please use our referral form.

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 a free service which enables 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.

We offer face-to-face appointments and, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, have recently introduced appointments online and over the phone to offer clients more choice and flexibility. Further down the page, we explain the additional measures we have introduced to keep clients and practitioners safe during the pandemic.

During appointments, our trained skin camouflage practitioners talk to your patients about their concerns and provide practical advice. The video below, which was created thanks to a generous grant from the British Association of Dermatologists, explains what happens during a face-to-face 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.

Online appointments

Our new online and phone appointments typically last about 30 minutes. As in a face-to-face appointment, clients will speak to an experienced practitioner about their individual skin camouflage needs.

Unlike in a face-to-face appointment, a colour match cannot be made online. However, the practitioner will find other ways to support the client, such as by helping them decide whether skin camouflage is the right option, which application techniques might work best and how to make products last longer.

Following the session, the practitioner will email the client a summary of the discussion as well as other useful advice and support.

How are your practitioners trained?

Our practitioners complete an intensive training course combining practical skin camouflage techniques alongside important elements like safeguarding, data protection, and client care. 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. The service is free for clients.

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?

We have reopened our skin camouflage clinics following an extended pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • We have made some changes to our face-to-face appointments in line with NHS and government guidance, to help keep clients and practitioners safe and to limit transmission of COVID-19. We are also offering clients the choice and flexibility of having an appointment online or over the phone.
  • In some areas of England, we have a significant waiting list due to the service being shut during lockdown. Waiting times are shorter in Scotland. Our priority for now is to provide appointments for those who are already waiting.
  • However, we encourage healthcare professionals to refer any patients they feel may benefit from a face-to-face or online Skin Camouflage Service appointment, in whatever part of England or Scotland they live. We will offer them an appointment as soon as we have availability.

Changes to face-to-face appointments for COVID safety

Following NHS and government guidance, we have introduced enhanced hygiene and safety protocols to keep our clients and practitioners safe.

Do clients and practitioners have to wear a face covering?

  • Skin camouflage practitioners wear personal protective equipment (PPE) in appointments and have received full training in how to deliver clinics safely and hygienically.
  • Clients are required to wear face-coverings in appointments and when inside the venue, such as when using the toilet.
  • There are situations in which clients may be asked, and will be permitted, to take off their face-covering. This includes when the area to be camouflaged is on the face.
  • Clients do not need to wear a face-covering if they are exempt from wearing one for medical reasons.
  • Children under the age of 11 do not need to wear a face-covering.

What can my patient expect during an appointment?

  • Before and after appointments, practitioners wash their hands and forearms thoroughly. They use hand-sanitiser gel and wear gloves when touching the skin.
  • Before clinics, we phone clients and practitioners to make sure they are not displaying any symptoms.
  • We may ask clients to wait outside until their appointment is due to start. Each piece of equipment used will be fully sanitised before the appointment begins.
  • Every clinic area is thoroughly sanitised between appointments. 70% alcohol cleaning wipes are used on all surfaces.

What other support do we offer during the pandemic?

We also offer other services and support which your patients may find useful during the pandemic. We encourage you to:

  • 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.
  • Where appropriate, recommend our wellbeing services. We offer a variety of support options online and over the phone.
  • Share our 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. 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.

A skin camouflage practitioner applying skin camouflage to a service-user

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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