How people see your child, and how they see themselves, is an important part of life. Most people do not like some aspect of their appearance, and any disfigurement, particularly on the face, can increase this dissatisfaction.
Cosmetic camouflage creams can be used to cover birthmarks and scars. They are more effective than ordinary make-up because they come in a wider choice of shades and they are lightweight, which helps to make them less visible.
Can my child use cosmetic camouflage?
Anyone can use cosmetic camouflage, no matter what their age, sex or colouring. It may seem complicated to begin with, but it is no more difficult than brushing your teeth or shaving.
How long can they leave it on for?
If your child uses cosmetic camouflage on their face or neck, it should be removed every night using a cleansing cream (ask your child’s nurses or doctors for advice about which one). However, if you use camouflage cream elsewhere on the body, it can be left on for three or four days before removing it and re-applying.
Where can I get advice?
We offer a cosmetic camouflage service once a month to patients being treated at Great Ormond Street Hospital.
Patients who are being treated elsewhere should ask their treatment centre for advice, or ring Changing Faces who also offer these services.
What happens during an appointment?
Each cosmetic camouflage appointment lasts one hour or longer, to give enough time to find out how best to camouflage your child’s mark. It is rare for one single shade of cream to suit a person completely, so the staff at the appointment will probably have to blend several shades together to get the right skin tone, plus any additional features such as freckles!
The aim of the appointment is to teach you to feel confident about applying the creams.
Will it wash off?
Cosmetic camouflage creams are waterproof, and they will stay in place during swimming, showering or getting caught in the rain! However they do not offer any protection against the sun, so your child must wear sunblock underneath the creams.
How do I order cosmetic camouflage cream?
Cosmetic camouflage creams are available on prescription for people of all ages, but your treatment centre will not usually provide them. They will give you a letter requesting a prescription which you should take to your family doctor (GP).
Once you have the prescription, take it to your local pharmacy. The pharmacist will send the prescription to the cosmetic camouflage supplier who will return the creams to the pharmacy, usually within about 48 hours.
Are there alternatives?
Laser treatment can help but rarely removes the birthmark completely, and surgery will itself usually leave a scar.
Last reviewed by Great Ormond Street Hospital: July 2012
Ref: 2012F0639 July 2012
Compiled by the Birthmark Unit in collaboration with the Child and Family Information Group.
This information does not constitute health or medical advice and will not necessarily reflect treatment at other hospitals. If you have any questions, please ask your doctor. No liability can be taken as a result of using this information.