Camouflage Make-up

Camouflage-Type Makeup Products

Nick Morante – Oct 21, 2009

There are some specialty products that are used to hide, cover, and eliminate the appearance of unwanted facial or other skin abnormalities. These products are usually referred to as camouflage makeup. Camouflage makeup products are designed to be worn after cosmetic surgery to contour the skin to hide swelling, to conceal the lines resulting from bruises and incisions, and to color correct the skin because scar tissue is usually a different color than the surrounding healthier tissue. In this case the product must be completely and easily blendable so that the color has an overall look. Almost any product can be used as part of a camouflage regimen, especially products that are designed to be “buildable”. Camouflage makeup-type products can also used to cover dermatological problems such as vitiligo which can occur on any part of the body which at times can be quite extreme. The late Michael Jackson was diagnosed with vitiligo in 1986 and received treatments for the ailment.

Depending on the treatment or the healing process, the skin can be different colors and this must all be covered evenly. Camouflage products can also be worn where the skin has large dark birthmarks that need hiding, especially in the facial area. Camouflage makeup is specially formulated to hide all these different contours and discolorations and allow people to get back to their normal daily lives and remove the stigma of having a strange appearance or constantly being stared at by others. Makeup and one’s looks have always been psychological and emotional and more so in these cases. The picture below shows the difference in skin color caused by a burn scar.

Surgery will improve looks but this all takes time. It also could be a result of scarring such as in burn victims. This scarring must be covered as well. And it could take quite a while. The ingredients used in camouflage makeup are the same ingredients used in conventional formulas. The products are designed to be much more gentle and provide more coverage to adequately hide what one does not want to see and at the same time make it look like one is not wearing any product at all. This can pose challenges for the formulator, but experience teaches us how to achieve these goals. But today people have some different views regarding camouflage makeup and other products within this category – – they are supposed to look natural and in many cases be natural. This makes the formulator’s job a bit more difficult, although there are now many more new ingredients that they can use that are safe and mild and considered all natural.

This is also where cosmeceuticals can play a major role. Although there is no true definition for cosmeceutical, a term not recognized by the FDA, these are products that are positioned both as cosmetics and as drugs even though in some cases no OTC claims are being made. But these products are important when used to protect new healing sensitive skin from additional damage. While drugs are reviewed and approved by the FDA, the FDA does not approve cosmetics or the ingredients contained in them. If a product acts like a drug, the FDA must approve it as a drug. Since the FDA does not officially recognize the term “cosmeceutical”, the term “cosmeceutical” may have little to no meaning under the law. So the consumer should use care in any of the products they select for this purpose.

There are companies that specialize in the manufacture of camouflage makeup. Some dermatologists have their own product lines that they use to help their patients, as they do with cosmeceutical-type products. It’s a very specialized area and not too many formulators (or consumers) understand the details behind them or how they are formulated. To care for skin that has just been through major surgery, one must provide the skin with plenty of water to keep it moisturized. Also, to keep it healthy, the skin should be thoroughly cleansed. The skin must be cleansed gently to remove all traces of any makeup or treatment product that has previously been applied. Proper makeup removal should now become part of the basic daily routine, but this is especially important if one is using heavier camouflage-type cosmetics.

Certain camouflage cosmetics may require different types of cleansers to properly and safely remove them. Since these products are designed for extended wear, have heavier coverage and be water and oil resistant, plain water may not do the trick and makeup removers or mild detergents may become necessary, such as the one pictured below. There are many others like it positioned in the market. Since it is mainly for eyes, it should be safe for other sensitive areas. Very mild alky sulfates, betaines or sarcosinates can also be used as long as they are on the “least’ irritating side and at low concentrations. The product should also contain sufficient moisturizers and emollients to keep the skin from drying out which can be normal in the healing process. Skin repair is almost like an infection with heat generated and loss of moisture. The normal skin moisture level must be maintained to keep the skin healthy and prevent further damage.

No products should be applied too soon after the surgery and the products one does choose must be gentle and safe. This also means the products should be fragrance free and hypoallergenic. I have mentioned the following in many articles I have written in the past, but now one can see why these statements are so important. One should read all ingredient labels and package information to make sure the products and ingredients are safe for them. The product should also have special instructions for use as stated by the FDA as part of package and labeling requirements and undergo the necessary product safety testing. A patient should wait for stitches to be removed; all incisions to be closed and all skin grafts should be completely healed. Once any wounds heal, only then should the proper camouflage-type product be used.

Author: Mags Kavanaugh

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