Skin Camouflage

The skin camouflage service is available for Cleft Lip patients at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital

If you’ve had a cleft lip repair, you may have a visible scar that makes you look a little different. We call this a visible difference. There is no right way to feel about having a visible difference, some people feel more comfortable when the scar left from surgery is not as noticeable.

Skin camouflage offers products and techniques patients can use that differ from traditional concealer products. These products are more pigmented and long-lasting. Originally designed as a ‘scar crème’ for soldiers they are easy to use giving full coverage with a natural look.

What is Skin Camouflage?
‘Skin camouflage’ refers to specialist cover creams that are designed to conceal discolouration or scarring when applied to the skin. Blended into the surrounding unaffected skin to create a natural look and reduce the appearance of imperfections.

The products
The products are not intended to alter the condition of the skin, but aim to replicate the skin’s natural colour and appearance. They are fully waterproof and opaque. This means they adhere better to skin that has become more textured and are formulated to give excellent coverage using a thin application.

In order to learn how to apply the products patients are offered a consultation with a specially trained practitioner. Our practitioner find the best colour match for each person’s skin tone. The patient will be taught how to easily cover their cleft lip scarring. One application should last all day.

At first the process may seem complicated but will soon become easier.

Skin camouflage products can become a hassle-free part of a daily routine and can give patients the freedom to choose how much they want to reveal.

Who are skin camouflage products suitable for?
The products are suitable for men, women and children. They are not usually recommended for babies or very young children unless suggested by their doctor.

How do I obtain skin camouflage products?
Some skin camouflage creams and powders are available on NHS prescription. These are considered discretionary and the reason for camouflage use may be denied. Your GP will advise you what is available and should write the prescription for you to take to your pharmacy.

The same products can be purchased without a prescription by ordering them at the prescription counter. Concealer products are available to buy in shops. These may be helpful in camouflaging minor discoloration, but may not have be effective on cleft scarring.

What to do if you would like to be referred to the skin camouflage programme?
If you would like a referral, speak to a member of the Cleft team. The referral will be discussed with the consultant cleft surgeon, who will confirm they are happy for you to be considered. If no concerns are raised, you will be offered a clinical psychology assessment. After this assessment, if are no concerns you will be offered a skin camouflage consultation. If any concerns are raised, alternative options will be explored.

The Products:-
 Contain ultra-violet sun protecting properties
 Oil-free sun protection, topical medication and emollients can be applied under the camouflage
 Silicone scar treatment can be applied under the camouflage but not silicone sheeting
 If required, decorative (oil-free) make up can be applied over the set camouflaged area
 Creams will easily mix together to create an acceptable match for your skin colour.
 Camouflage is smudge and smear resistant
 Camouflage is waterproof. You can swim or shower so long as care is taken afterwards to gently pat
the area dry
 Camouflage can be removed and immediately reapplied with no adverse effects

Where can I get more information about skin camouflage?
Call the Manchester Cleft Unit, RMCH on 0161 701 9091
British Association of Skin Camouflage (NHS and private practice)
Tel: 01254 703 107

Changing Faces
Tel: 0300 012 0276 (for the Skin Camouflage Service)

During the outbreak of COVID-19 the Cleft service will have reduced capacity following government advice. However, our team are still busy working behind the scenes. If you require urgent assistance please contact 0800 970 0708 For further, up to date advice please refer