Scar Camouflage – Summertime With Scars

Nikki Butler

Nikki Butler

Scar camouflage during the warmer months.

Scar camouflage, and dealing with scars in the summer time are things I am personally very familiar with. 

I’ve grown up with significant facial scarring since the age of 11. And, amongst the multiple other surgeries/scars, I have significant scarring on my knee. 

When I think about the times that my scars have bothered me the most, it’s in the summertime. I have previously found this time of year so hard – I have wanted to hide my scars away, at a time when it can be super hot and sweaty! I used to avoid a lot of things in the summer, choosing to wear jeans and trousers in public and covering my facial scar with makeup (and my hair). So this led to avoiding situations where it was simply too hot to cope! 

In the last few years, I’ve really let go of a  lot of the trauma and anxiety attached to my scars, but I still have my moments where I feel super conscious. Of course, improving the visual appearance of my scars with treatment has hugely helped, but you can’t remove scars completely, so they are still there – for the world to see. If you’d like to know more about scar improvement treatments, then click HERE.  

In this blog, we’ll look at ways to look after newer scars in summer, and we’ll look at scar camouflage in varying forms, including makeup and clothing. 

Emotions run high

The fact that you’re looking at scar camouflage options may, or may not, be to with how your scars actually look. 

The one thing that I notice when working with my clients, is the emotional element of scars. The reason that scar camouflage is something that many of us do, is often around not wanting to have to have uncomfortable conversations about our scars. And, not wanting others to judge us, form opinions about us, or know that we have experienced something traumatic. 

I frequently have people tell me they can’t see my forehead scar. And no, when I have makeup on it, it’s barely visible now, thanks to an incredible army surgeon and scar improvement treatments. But I know it’s there, and it has an immense amount of trauma attached to it. What causes me to scar camouflage with makeup, or my hair, is the fact I don’t want ANYONE to see my scar because I don’t want to relive the trauma and discuss that episode in my life. It’s just that simple for me. 

Never let anyone tell you that your scar doesn’t matter, or that you’re ‘silly’ for worrying about it. Whilst I know people are trying to be kind when they say this, it can be incredibly invalidating. How you feel about your scars are 100 percent valid feelings. They are your feelings, and others dismissing them can feel very hurtful.  Please know that you don’t have to accept their views! 

This statistic might blow your mind

I used to feel so self-conscious about my scars. I dreaded someone asking me about them, and I dreaded having to explain them even more. 

A lot of my scars can be hidden by swimwear, but my facial scar and knee scarring are easily visible, and my spinal scars are visible in a bikini.  Being on the beach, or out in the summer heat was my worst nightmare. I used to feel so self-conscious. 

And then, I read the results of surgery from Bristol University in 2019, that over 20.4 MILLION people in the UK alone have scars.  That’s amazing, isn’t it? Knowing that statistic changed my view dramatically. 

I then started noticing that lots of people had scars.  All sorts of different scars, from self-injury to surgery, and everything in between. 

I immediately felt a little more relaxed and felt comforted in knowing I wasn’t alone. 

It was clear that some of the people I saw were confident in their bodies and with their scars. I was in awe of those people and knew that whilst I could improve my scars through scar treatmentsI also had to work on my emotional relationship with my scars. 

sunscreen factors

How to protect your scars

Before we touch on scar camouflage options, my first piece of advice is to use sun protection.

It can take up to two years for a scar to completely heal, in terms of the stages of natural healing process.  It’s really important to protect your skin during this time. When your scar is in the early stages of healing, your skin is at an increased risk of hyperpigmentation – this is where your skin overproduces melanin. Melanin is your skin’s natural sun defense, and typically what happens, is the skin around the scar can become darker that your natural skin tone. It’s often referred to as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.  Naturally darker skin tones are at higher risk, but it can happen to anyone. 

Make sure you apply a factor 50 sunscreen, UVA & UVB protection, 4/5 start rating. And make sure you apply it every 2-3 hours.  I’d recommend keeping a wound out of the sun completely for the first 4-6 weeks. 

You can download my Ultimate Guide To Looking After Scars, via the button below. 

Scar camouflage with clothing

Scar camouflage with clothing is one of the most common ways to keep scars covered in the summer. I’ve done it for years, and I’ve spoken to hundreds of clients that have also done this. 

It can be hard in the summer, especially if the weather is hot. I used to literally melt in trousers or jeans, in 30+ degree heat. Choosing loose clothing, that lets air move around is a good option, and can help to keep you cooler. 

I think that beach clothing is perhaps easier to  wear for scar camouflage, the challenge can come with work wear, or more formal occasions.  But lightweight clothing does not always provide full UV protection, so please ensure you have sunscreen on underneath.

There are some other scar camouflage options that can help, so lets have a look at those. 

using makeup for scar camouflage

Makeup tricks and techniques

A lot or people don’t know that I’m a qualified makeup artist! I actually used to do wedding makeup ‘for fun’! My desire to qualify as a makeup artist was driven by my interest in scar camouflage. 

I have trained with traditional makeup, and also with makeup designed for scar camouflage. In truth, I am not a fan of traditional scar camouflage makeup. I find it incredibly cakey and difficult to work with, and it’s a workout in itself, to get it off! But there are some newer brands on the market, so it would be worth shopping around. 

The brand that I tend to recommend is Jane Iredale. The reason I love this makeup for scar camouflage (and cosmetic makeup), is because it’s mineral based and beautifully easy to use.  Scar camouflage makeup is best layered. I recommend using a cream base, then powder to set, followed by a fixing spray. Usually, using more than one colour will give the best effect, as our natural skin tone isn’t flat. For more noticeable scars, repeating the process a couple of times will help to build up coverage. Have a look at: Disappear concealer, pure pressed powder and Pommist spray. 

Medical Tattooing for scar camouflage

I say this with trepidation, as it’s no longer something I’m a huge fan of for scar camouflage. Medical tattooing for skin camouflage absolutely has its place and can be life-changing for many people. 

However, it is a lifelong commitment and something that you’ll need to consider carefully. Also, if you have medical tattooing to conceal your scars, you have to be super careful in the summer. 

Bear in mind that your skin camouflage tattooing will not match your skin if you tan. Also, UV exposure affects tattoo pigment, it can cause it to fade and change colour, so it may actually look more obvious. Wearing a factor 50 every day and reapplying will help with this. 

I personally stopped offering this service some time ago, as I am conscious of the long-term commitment that this requires. This is why I favour scar improvement treatments, as once you’ve had a course of treatment, there’s no long-term requirement for maintenance. 

Nothing will remove scars completely, but there are options for improving the look and feel of scars.  If you would like to speak with a medical tattooist, then you can find my recommendations HERE

Emotional Scars - Healing inside out and outside in

I believe that scar improvement involves healing scars from the outside in and inside out. I offer a range of treatments that can help improve the appearance of scars, but I understand that these treatments can also trigger emotions. That’s why it’s important to have support in place, and I’m here to be that support for you.

It’s not just about improving the visual appearance of scars, it’s also important to change the stories around them, so you can feel happier and more confident in your skin. I want to help you see where your scars are holding you back in life, and I want to help you find a way to change the stories and beliefs that are keeping you from healing.

You don’t have to share your experiences or emotions with me, that’s not an essential part of your treatment program with me, but you can if you’d like to. I have been a coach for well over 20 years, and I have also lived with life-impacting and life-changing scars. I have physically improved my scars AND changed the stories and narratives that held me back from enjoying my life fully.  If you don’t wish to share your story with me, then check out Venka and Danny, who are experts in trauma therapies. You can find out more about them in my Little Black Book, HERE

Long term scar options

Scar camouflage can be helpful for the short term, and also if you are in the middle of treatment.  There are longer-term options to improve the look and feel of your scars, but choosing the right time to go through this is really important. Here’s a checklist for considering whether you’re in a good place to start scar improvement treatments: 

Thank you for reading

I really hope that you’ve found my blog on scar camouflage helpful. If you’d like help with your skin or scars, then please get in touch via the button below.

My aesthetics clinic is based in Alton, Hampshire. I am on the Hampshire/Surrey border, 15 minutes from Basingstoke and Farnham. I’m also at the end of a direct line from London Waterloo, and a 5-minute walk from the station.

You can also book a consultation via the ‘book now’ button. 

I look forward to hearing from you. Best, Nikki


On Key

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