- ‘Skin camouflage is best described as the application of highly pigmented creams that are designed to effectively mask skin discolouration and/or scarring. Skin camouflage products are matched to normal skin colour and are significantly different from ordinary cosmetics.’
- ~ British Association of Dermatologists [link to their site]
There is no accepted dictionary definition of skin camouflage, but the above definition by the British Association of Dermatologists captures it pretty well. ‘Camouflage’ in the way that we think of it, in animals, or army personnel, describes the way in which it is used to match something to its surroundings so that it appears invisible. And that’s exactly what skin camouflage does – it tries to make the discoloured skin look as much like the surrounding area as possible so that it no longer attracts attention.
It is important to understand that it doesn’t make the skin condition disappear. It does no treat or cure it, but what it does is to trick the eye and the brain so that anybody who doesn’t know that there is anything there won’t be able to pick it out because there are no clues.
Skin camouflage is not make-up, and has been designed with very different purposes in mind. In particular, it is designed specifically for damaged skin, to be waterproof, to be long lasting (up to 24 hours) and to be much more pigmented. In addition, as a para-medical product, it is tested to a higher standard than cosmetics to ensure that there are no adverse reactions. For anyone who may no wish to think of themselves as using make-up, for whatever reason, you can rest assured – you are not.
Skin camouflage was first developed for veterans of the world wars, and its purpose was, and still is, rehabilitation. It is intended to alleviate distress and to help you live life as you would want to. If your social interactions have changed or been limited because you do not want your scar or skin concern to be on display, skin camouflage may be a simple way of allowing you a little more freedom in your interactions.
This is a picture of Mr Max Factor, whose name you may recognise. He is the first person we know of to have developed skin camouflage products for veterans of World War I alongside US surgeons.