The coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown impacted everyone. Here at Changing Faces, we had to act quickly to determine how best to manage the situation.
Due to government guidance, and to keep everyone safe, we had to suspend our Skin Camouflage Service for 13 months. This service offers appointments with trained skin camouflage practitioners at clinics across England and Scotland, and gives people living with a visible difference a choice over their appearance and a sense of control over how they want to look day-to-day.
It was such a tough decision. We knew we already had many people in need of our support, and that this number would only grow while we were paused.
During lockdown, we explored new ways to support people with a visible difference to access the Skin Camouflage Service. As you can imagine, this wasn’t easy – our service has only ever been delivered in person. In response to client feedback, we filmed top tips videos so we could pass on some of our skin camouflage knowledge while people were at home.
We also developed online sessions, which are delivered by our wonderful group of practitioners. These sessions aren’t a replacement for a face-to-face appointment, as it’s not possible to receive a colour match online, but can offer advice such as whether skin camouflage is for you, which application techniques might work best, or how to make products last longer.
As you’ll know, some lockdown restrictions were eased on 12 April 2021, and since then we’ve been reopening clinics under new COVID-19 secure guidelines. We’re working our way through the waiting list (which is significant in parts of England) to offer these as quickly as possible.
What are we doing to keep everyone safe?
Safety is always my priority as the head of service. We have put a lot of thought into how we can deliver our close-contact appointments as safely as possible. Some of our new measures include:
- Personal protective equipment (PPE) for practitioners.
- Additional time in clinic for cleaning and hygiene procedures.
- Information for clients to keep them safe during their visit.
- Finding new venues to replace those where clinic rooms are small, or where ventilation could be better.
- Checking-in with clients and practitioners prior to clinic to make sure they don’t have any symptoms.
- Asking all clients to wear a face covering, unless exempt or having skin camouflage on the face.
If clinics are reopening, why is there still a long waiting list in England?
I’ll be honest, reopening the service after a 13-month pause has been a massive challenge for me and my small team of three! Many things have changed in the last year or so, whilst our waiting list has continued to grow.
We all care deeply about providing clients with a good service and running into problems whilst reopening is disappointing. I know our practitioners feel the same. We’re still working hard to resolve some of these issues, which include:
- Finding suitable venues – some of our previous venues have closed or are now being used as vaccination centres.
- Covering practitioner gaps – some of our practitioners have not been able to return due to health concerns or a change of circumstances.
- A higher than usual rate of cancelled and missed appointments – in fact, in April, one out of every three appointments that we set up was missed.
If you are based in England, you can still register your interest in the Skin Camouflage Service, but it might be a while before we can offer you an appointment. If you opt-in to emails from us, we will let you know the availability in your area and share new skin camouflage resources that might support you whilst you wait.
Accessing clinics in Scotland
In Scotland, we have less demand per area, so don’t have waiting lists. If you live in Scotland and would like an appointment, you can register via our webform, and we’ll be happy to help. I’d like to personally say thank you to everyone on our waiting list for their patience and understanding. I know it is frustrating to wait for an appointment. Please be assured that the team and I are doing everything we can to rebuild the service and get you an appointment. We will be in touch as soon as possible.