Question 20. Camouflage: when and how?

Key points

  • Cover-ups should be considered in global approach to vitiligo, mainly in those cases when vitiligo subjects cannot overcome the emotional stress deriving from their skin change.
  • Corrective cosmetic products used for camouflage can include cover creams, instant self- tanning topicals, stains and dyes.
  • Camouflage can be just temporary (make-up), semi permanent (self-tanning topicals) or permanent (tattoo).
  • Camouflage and active treatments for vitiligo may be combined.

Most therapies for vitiligo may require treatment periods lasting for months or years before repigmentation eventually occurs.
Thus, palliative treatments could be used in the meantime, with considerable improvement in quality of life of vitiligo-affected subject .
Sunscreens are usually added to most of those cosmetic products in order to avoid sunburn.

The vitiligo patients should know how many different topicals are available for them on the market, and should become familiar with different methods of application and cleaning.

Cover creams, stick correctors, tinted cover creams and fixing spray applications on the vitiligo-affected areas require expert recommendations in order to get optimal results. Permanent camouflage is obtained with cosmetic tattoo, usually done by implanting iron oxides pigments into the dermis.

Colors of the tattoos naturally fade over years, thus, they require periodic maintenance, usually every 30 months.

The quality of life of vitiligo subjects is usually improved significantly by use of cover-ups, which can temporarily cancel vitiligo areas and give vitiliginous skin a natural color.

Unfortunately, reliable clinics devoted to knowledgeable application of camouflage in vitiligo are not always available.

Author: Prof. Torello Lotti, MD

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