Scar Color and Skin Camouflage
The Benefits of Camouflage Tattooing
Improving one’s appearance and body image can significantly impact self-confidence. For individuals with skin color loss, or de-pigmentation, medical corrective tattooing can help. De-pigmentation may occur for a variety of reasons. Medical procedures, trauma, burns, congenital anomalies, and skin diseases can all lead to pigmentation irregularities. While many scars and skin abnormalities can be improved with medical treatments and surgery, skin color may still need to be addressed in order to recreate a “normal” appearance.
Understanding Skin Camouflage and Scar Camouflage
Skin camouflage and scar camouflage refer to the process of tattooing the skin using different shades of flesh tone pigments with the goal of disguising a scar or pigment irregularity. This form of medical or paramedical tattooing is considered a specialized form of cosmetics. You may find it referred to by a number of other names, such as Corrective Pigment Camouflage (CPC), Skin Repigmentation, Scar Camouflage, Corrective Camouflage, Skin Camouflage, Skin Color Tattooing, and Camouflage Tattooing. Scar and skin camouflage requires a specialist with a thorough understanding of the science behind pigments and the physiology of human skin and tissue, as well as advanced knowledge, training, skills and experience in cosmetics and an artistic eye for color.
Candidates for Skin Color Repigmentation
Not all individuals with scars or skin abnormalities are candidates for skin repigmentation. The best candidates are generally those with scars that meet the following criteria:
- Healed. Scars should be healed, at least 9 to 12 months old, with stable color and no be still be healing and premature tattooing may lead to additional skin damage. An experienced, reputable medical tattooist will not work on scar tissue prematurely. If you are wondering whether you may be a candidate for skin color repigmentation, your physician may be able to advise you.
- Smooth, flat appearance. Issues with skin texture generally cannot be addressed with camouflage tattooing. For this reason, bumpy or raised scars may not be appropriate for treatment. The best scars for treatment are smooth and relatively flat. There are treatments available which may be able to first improve the skin texture before undergoing camouflage tattooing.
- Free of dark edges. Scars with dark edges or borders may be indicative of post inflammatory hyper-pigmentation (PIHP) resulting form trauma or surgery. Increased hyperpigmentation and wider, darker borders may result from the camouflage tattooing process, though this tends to be more common among those with darker skin tones.
Some skin and pigment abnormalities are not good candidates for treatment with skin color repigmentation. These include port wine birthmarks, spider veins, freckles, age spots, under-eye circles, hyperpigmentation, and unstable Vitiligo. These conditions may be improved with other treatments such as laser therapy, sclerotherapy, or chemical peels. A consolation can help to determine the best treatment for you.
Candidates for camouflage tattooing must have realistic expectations and understand that treatment cannot completely restore the skin to its pre-injured state or fully erase the scar or abnormality. The goal of camouflage tattooing is to improve upon color differences to help disguise the imperfection. Patients who spend time tanning may not be satisfied with their result as the tattooed skin will not darken like the surrounding skin when exposed to sunlight or tanning booths. The results of camouflage tattooing take time and may require more than one session.