Providing support and promoting respect for everyone with a visible difference

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A woman holding a range of skin camouflage products up to the face of a white woman who has a facial birthmark.

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 scar, mark 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 explain how to request an appointment for your patient.

If you are ready to make a referral, please use our referral form.

Refer a patient

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 products are highly pigmented creams and powders that can be applied over scars and non-infectious skin conditions to help them blend into the normal skin tone. The products are easy to apply, long-lasting and waterproof. 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 for your patients, enabling them to try skin camouflage as a tool to manage their visible difference. Appointments can be made for 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 plus online or phone advice sessions, where our trained skin camouflage practitioners talk to your patients about their concerns and provide practical advice.

Face-to-face appointments

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. It was made before the pandemic and some of the information relates specifically to face-to-face appointments rather than our advice sessions, but it provides an overview of the service.

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 and phone advice sessions

Our online and phone sessions 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. We have clinics in:

  • Aberdeen
  • Birmingham
  • Bristol
  • Cambridge
  • Dunfermline
  • Edinburgh
  • Exeter
  • Glasgow
  • Lanarkshire
  • London
  • Luton
  • Manchester
  • Nottingham
  • Orpington
  • Reading
  • Sheffield

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 explain to your patient 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 2022 and March 2023, we provided consultations to almost 2,000 clients. During that period:

  • 98% of our skin camouflage clients stated they were satisfied or extremely satisfied with the service they received.
  • 85% of our skin camouflage clients stated that the service helped them with their appearance-related concerns.

Clients reporting a low level of wellbeing reduced by 15% after their appointment and clients reporting a high level of wellbeing increased by 12%

[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

What changes did we make due to the COVID-19 pandemic?

We 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 also offer clients the choice and flexibility of having an advice session online or over the phone. Current procedures include:

  • Phoning clients before their appointment to make sure they are not displaying COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Our practitioners wash their hands and forearms thoroughly before and after appointments. They use hand-sanitiser gel and wear gloves when touching a client’s skin.
  • We sanitize equipment before each appointment and use 70% alcohol cleaning wipes to sanitise the clinic surfaces.

How can I refer a patient?

Follow the link below to refer your patient to 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

Refer your patient

Complete this short form to refer your patient to the Skin Camouflage Service. We will then contact your patient for further details and to arrange their appointment.

Refer now

What other support do we offer?

We also offer other services and support that your patients may find useful.

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