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Changing Faces and Healing Souls

By: Christine Heathman
Posted: April 28, 2009, from the May 2009 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
burn camouflage application

The second-degree burn on the left side of the face is no longer visible after an application of camouflage makeup.

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It is important not to underestimate the emotional, social, psychological and economic impact of any visible deformity. Most individuals afflicted with post-operative, congenital, dermatological and accidental facial challenges understand surgical and medical limitations and will embrace the potential benefits of camouflage makeup realistically. Under these circumstances, the true objectives can be accomplished and can yield great final results.

Due to the delicate nature of any skin that has been traumatized, powder mineral makeup or regular makeup may not be the most appropriate choice for a distressed skin condition. Camouflage makeup is a high pigment, opaque substance formulated in a concentrated cream or fluid that is waterproof, as well as heat- and muscle-resistant, with the long-lasting ability to withstand many hours of wear on the skin’s traumatized surface. Camouflage makeup should also be able to adhere to slick, nonporous surfaces, such as hypertrophic scars. A significant benefit of using camouflage makeup is also for the physical protection it provides and the sealant ability to protect against a hostile environment. Titanium dioxide, an inorganic substance, is the primary pigment in makeup, providing an effective barrier of sunscreen. The rule of thumb in camouflage SPF sunscreen is the lighter the camouflage color, the more titanium dioxide, the more sunscreen ability against environmental damage for lighter skin.

It does not matter how thick a foundation is to maintain coverage. Thicker makeup may not provide the best concealment; therefore, do not judge the makeup’s ability to disguise a discoloration by a thick viscosity. Rather, look for the concentration of inorganic pigment, such as titanium dioxide, for optimal application.

Proper color selection

Corrective makeup is not new. I have worked with patients at Saint Francis Memorial Hospital’s Bothin Burn Center in San Francisco, and the many challenges I encountered there with various skin trauma conditions led me to understand the importance of selecting a corrective makeup that satisfies all undertones and ethnic values.

All makeup artists are also obliged to recognize the new skin of color because it is the ultimate skin snapshot for the future. The hallmark of the traditional skin color for makeup has been altered throughout the decade. During the past several years, the demographics shifted with respect to the predominate white skin types and are juxtaposed with like-kinds that can appear light, only to have genetic ties to infinite blends of many racial combinations.