Working as a medical skin camouflage practitioner - Jenny's story
The British Association of Skin camouflages' definition of Para-Medical Skin Camouflage is "To conceal non infectious skin Dermatoses & Scars". It is a truly fascinating and unique area to work in!
Unfortunately I believe it is an often misused and misunderstood aspect of health care. For those of you who don't know -Camouflage is a product which can be used to conceal many types of skin conditions and disorders. We try not to refer to it as make up or cosmetic as this is very gender specific- Camouflage can be used successfully by men, women, adults and children!
There is a vast range of people who can benefit from camouflage from those with birthmarks, port wine stains, scarring, psoriasis, burns and many more.
The products are thick, highly pigmented and sweat proof/waterproof. The products are matched to your skin (a process known as colour matching) and applied to the area. This could be using a brush, a sponge or even your fingers! The product is then set with a fixing powder, this seals the product and makes it waterproof, sweat proof and smudge proof. Making it perfect for everyday life or a special occasion. The products can last on your skin for up to 48 hours and then are easily removed.
I qualified as a makeup artist in 2010 and during my course we had touched upon camouflage, mainly to cover tattoos and scars. I thought it was such a fantastic idea, why had I never seen this before? I wanted to learn more! In September 2010 I was lucky enough to go to Chester and train with the British association of skin Camouflage (BASC) this opened up a whole new world for me and the ability to give people their self confidence back. I applied to every hospital, doctors, health centre in my area to offer my services but unfortunately had no luck. I was told due to NHS cuts in my area, it was not seen as a "Necessity”. Now I have seen the results that camouflage has on people lives, to be able to put a smile on someone's face, to help them feel "accepted" and more importantly to help them feel confident again. In my opinion, it may not be life and death BUT it definitely should be offered to anyone who wants it. I have seen some fantastic results and nothing beats the feeling of seeing the clients smile when they look in the mirror.
BASC have a perfect quote
The psychological benefit to people who have been shown how to successfully apply and manage skin camouflage cannot be over-emphasised...
...it empowers them to face the world, with confidence!
I decided to work freelance as a camouflage practitioner, getting my own clients and having some referred to me through BASC.
One of my favourite examples was a young girl who had psoriasis. She ed me and was so upset. She wanted to go out, she wanted to socialise, and lead the same life that all her friends were living. But, she had to face a lot of stigma, bullying and abuse all because of how her skin looked. We arranged a consultation, and spent hours trying to get the perfect colours for her (you may often need separate colours for different areas of your body) As her psoriasis was very inflamed, we used a green colour first to neutralise the redness. Then a specially chosen skin colour match. The results were fantastic! Camouflage will never change the texture of your skin but it certainly improves the way it looks. And to make someone feel happy enough to go out into the big wide world and hold their head high, that's what my job is all about, and that's why I love it.
I have been a voluntary camouflage practitioner for the Katie Piper foundation for nearly two years, and again we have seen some amazing results - and some very happy clients! Burns are a very difficult thing to deal with both mentally and physically. But helping people get that little bit of confidence back is fantastic. I have met some truly amazing people and they have taught me far more than I have shown them. Camouflage is sometimes just the stepping stone for people to get their get up and go back.
I really hope that it Skin Camouflage becomes more accessible to people and more highly placed by the medical profession.
All in all I urge anyone who is interested in skin camouflage to give it ago – you may be presently surprised!
Written by Jenny Statham
Medical Skin Camouflage Practitioner
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