Practice Practice Pointer

Skin camouflage

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.d7921 (Published 05 January 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:d7921
  1. Louise McMichael, product information officer
  1. 1British Association of Skin Camouflage, Stourbridge DY9 9QA, UK
  1. louise.mcmichael{at}tiscali.co.uk
  • Accepted 17 November 2011

Skin camouflage can play an important part in improving wellbeing for patients with permanent or chronic skin problems

A Health Care Needs Assessment, Skin Conditions in the UK, estimated that skin problems account for about 10% of a general practitioner’s surgery time and 6% of hospital outpatient referrals.1 According to the British Association of Dermatologists (www.bad.org.uk, July 2011), 15% of the population per year will be seeking help from their general practitioner for a skin condition, and most patients will have their skin disorder diagnosed and treated in primary care.1 2 As many as 30% of these patients also experience psychological distress owing to perceived disfigurement.3 This can affect quality of life and ability to participate in work and social activities, which in turn can affect the quality of life of their family members.4 For those with permanent or chronic disfigurement, use of skin camouflage can help a patient to adjust to an altered image and regain their self esteem by creating a sense of personal wellbeing.5

Which patients might benefit from skin camouflage?

For skin camouflage to be applied safely, the skin needs to be sealed, healed, and non-infectious, which rules out its use in many skin conditions seen in primary care.6 The Monthly Index of Medical Specialities (MIMS) lists the conditions suitable for skin camouflage as port wine stain, vitiligo, and scarring (see table), but it overlooks other conditions in which these products may be suitable and beneficial. For example, beauticians and make-up consultants traditionally advise that patients with acne and rosacea should not cover up their skin with any …

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