How does skin camouflage work?

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For many of us, skin camouflage is an alien word and concept. I often find myself wishing it was called something less scary, something that people don’t associate with the military or wild animals! But there it is – so what does it really mean and how does it work?

Skin camouflage is the art of applying specialist products that provide particularly strong coverage to conditions that can’t usually be fully concealed with more mainstream cosmetics products. These conditions range from the medical (for example psoriasis, rosacea, vitiligo, birthmarks), to temporary discolourations (e.g. bruising), to the after-effects of wounds and lesions (e.g. scarring and hyper or hypo-pigmentation), and the cover of tattoos (either decorative, or a result of laser treatment).

Essentially, skin camouflage products conceal pigmentation of the skin to make it appear the same colour as the surrounding skin. In order to do so, effective skin camouflage is based on a combination of colour theory and product knowledge.

Colour theory is important because if the pigmentation is strong, it may be necessary to apply an initial layer of a complementary colour to the skin to knock the colour out before applying the skin tone. For example, yellow counter-acts a strong red, and orange counter-acts purple or blue. Sometimes it might be necessary to inject life back into the camouflaged area once the colour match has been found and a touch of violet might do precisely that.


Product knowledge is important to understand which product is most appropriate in different situations. For example, certain products contain a high percentage of beeswax. This gives them great sticking power, but you need to be aware that they need warming up before application and need setting with powder so that they don’t rub off on clothes.

As well as finding a colour match that doesn’t highlight the affected area, a skilled practitioner can even show you how to reinstate effects such as beard stubble or freckles to make the area look as natural as the skin surrounding it.

I do think of skin camouflage as an art, but one that can easily be passed on so that the mystery and guesswork is taken out of the equation for you. After an initial consultation, your skin camouflage should be as quick and easy to blend into your daily routine as into your skin. I hope you agree!


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It is possible to obtain certain Skin Camouflage products on the NHS by way of prescription from your GP. Skin Confident can advise you on which products fall within this category, and how to go about requesting them.