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How do you get rid of scar camouflage?

Scars can be a source of insecurity and discomfort for many people. While some scars fade over time, others remain visible for years or even a lifetime. For those looking to minimize the appearance of scars, using camouflage makeup or undergoing cosmetic scar revision procedures are two options.

What is scar camouflage?

Scar camouflage refers to the use of makeup to conceal scars and help them blend in with the surrounding skin. Special camouflage makeup products are thicker and higher in pigment than regular cosmetics, allowing them to opaque scars more effectively. The goal is to make the scar less noticeable or distracting when looking at a person’s face or body.

Camouflage makeup can be used to cover scars resulting from:

  • Surgery
  • Injuries and burns
  • Skin conditions like acne
  • Self-harm

The makeup typically comes in sticks, palettes, or tubes. It can then be applied to the scar and blended to match the surrounding skin tone and texture. Coverage lasts 4-12 hours before needing to be reapplied.

Pros and cons of scar camouflage makeup

Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of using scar camouflage makeup:


  • Provides immediate results
  • Non-invasive and non-permanent
  • Relatively inexpensive
  • Easy to apply and remove
  • Multiple color options to match different skin tones
  • Can be used on scars anywhere on the body


  • Requires daily reapplication
  • Doesn’t work well on raised, uneven, or keloid scars
  • Can rub off and transfer onto clothing
  • Doesn’t improve scar appearance, only conceals it
  • Not waterproof

How to apply scar camouflage makeup

Properly applying scar camouflage requires following some key steps:

  1. Clean and dry the scar – Remove any oils, lotions, or debris so the makeup adheres.
  2. Exfoliate if needed – Use a gentle scrub on any rough or flaky skin.
  3. Apply primer – Prime the scar and surround skin to smooth texture.
  4. Choose colors – Use flesh-toned shades slightly lighter and darker than your skin.
  5. Apply the makeup – Dab on the lighter color over the entire scar, then add the darker color just to the edges to blend.
  6. Set with powder – Dust on translucent powder to set the concealer and prevent smudging.
  7. Touch up – Check coverage and touch up any areas as needed.

It takes practice to achieve optimal results. The makeup may need to be built up in layers and regularly maintained. Application tips can help the camouflage last longer.

Application tips for longer-lasting coverage

Here are some useful application tips to extend the wear time of scar camouflaging makeup:

  • Use a primer underneath to help the makeup adhere to the scar surface.
  • Opt for oil-free and transfer-proof camouflage formulas that are more longwearing.
  • Apply powder on top and between layers to set the concealer.
  • Mist with a makeup setting spray after application.
  • Use a subtle touch when blending to avoid wiping off coverage.
  • Set with translucent powder to prevent smudging and transfer.
  • Carry concealer for touch ups if needed during the day.
  • Avoid touching or rubbing the area once makeup is applied.
  • Carefully wash the scar when removing makeup at end of day.

Properly cared for, scar camouflage can typically last between 4-12 hours before needing to be reapplied. Following these tips will help extend the wear time.

How to remove scar camouflage makeup

It’s important to gently and completely remove scar camouflage makeup at the end of the day. Here are some tips for easy, safe removal:

  • Use an oil-based makeup remover – Look for a gentle cleanser with oils that will dissolve the heavy makeup.
  • Soften with a warm washcloth – Hold a warm, damp cloth over closed eyes and scar to loosen stubborn makeup.
  • Gently massage – Apply remover and lightly massage in circles to break up the concealer.
  • Rinse thoroughly – Ensure all traces of makeup are rinsed off the scar.
  • Moisturize – Apply a fragrance-free moisturizer after washing.
  • Use gentle motions – Avoid scrubbing or irritating the delicate scar tissue.
  • Repeat if needed – Double cleanse if makeup still remains on the scar.

Harsh scrubbing or the use of irritating cleansers can damage sensitive scars. Careful yet thorough removal of camouflage makeup is key to maintaining healthy skin.

How effective is scar camouflage for different types of scars?

The effectiveness of scar camouflage makeup can vary based on the characteristics of the scar:

Scar Type Effectiveness
Flat scars Most effective at concealing
Minor texture changes Moderately effective
Indentations Less effective
Raised/hypertrophic scars Usually not effective
Keloid scars Not effective

In general, camouflage makeup works best on flat, smooth scars with minimal surface textural changes. Very raised or indented scars are harder to conceal with standard cosmetic products. Consulting a dermatologist can help determine if scar camouflage is a viable treatment option.

Should I see a professional or DIY scar camouflage?

You can apply scar camouflage makeup yourself at home or get it professionally done:

DIY application:

  • Less expensive
  • More convenient
  • Color matching can be tricky
  • Takes practice to master technique

Professional application:

  • Expert skill and techniques
  • Custom color matching
  • Can teach you how to apply
  • More expensive
  • Need to schedule appointments

For those new to camouflage makeup, starting with professional application can be beneficial. The expert guidance on colors and techniques can then help you learn to apply it yourself moving forward.

How much does professional scar camouflage cost?

The cost of professional scar camouflaging can range depending on factors like:

  • Location – Major cities typically have higher prices
  • The provider’s experience level
  • How large an area needs to be covered
  • How many sessions it takes to teach application

Some average price ranges include:

Service Cost
Single session with makeup artist $50 – $150
Cosmetic clinic session $100 – $300
Private lessons – 2-3 sessions $200 – $500

Scar camouflage is not typically covered by health insurance. Saving up or finding providers running specials can help manage the costs.

How to choose the right camouflage makeup for your skin

Picking the right camouflage makeup involves matching both color and formulation to your skin. Considerations include:

  • Skin tone – Opt for shades identical or slightly lighter than your natural skin color.
  • Undertones – Pick cool, warm, or neutral tones to match the scar area.
  • Coverage level – Sheer, medium or full depending on the severity of scarring.
  • Skin type – Cream or drier formulas if skin is oily, hydrating if dry.
  • Finish – Matte finishes withstand sweat and touchups better.
  • Ingredients – Avoid irritating dyes, fragrances or preservatives.

Test out samples first whenever possible to color match. Consulting a dermatologist or makeup artist can also help guide the right product selection.

Are there any risks or side effects?

When used properly, quality scar camouflage makeup is generally safe with minimal risks. However, potential side effects can include:

  • Acne breakouts – Heavy products can clog pores.
  • Allergic reaction – Uncommon if avoiding ingredients you’re sensitive to.
  • Irritation – Harsh scrubbing when removing makeup.
  • Scar worsening – Picking at the skin to remove stubborn makeup.
  • Infection – Unclean applicators introducing bacteria.

To avoid problems, test products first for allergies, thoroughly cleanse skin at end of day, and disinfect applicators between uses. Consult a doctor if irritation persists.

How long do the results of scar camouflage last?

On average, a single application of scar camouflage makeup lasts between 4-12 hours. Results vary based on:

  • Application technique – Proper blending and setting extends wear.
  • Camouflage formula – Matte, transfer-resistant formulas have greater longevity.
  • Scar characteristics – Smoother scars allow longer-lasting coverage.
  • Oil production – Oily skin breaks down makeup faster.
  • Activities – Exercise, swimming, etc. remove makeup quicker.

Reapplication is necessary by end of day for continuous coverage. Permanent camouflage solutions like surgical scar revision may be preferable for those wanting very long-term solutions.

What are the limitations of scar camouflage makeup?

While often effective, camouflaging makeup does have some inherent drawbacks and limitations:

  • Not a permanent solution – Requires reapplying daily.
  • Doesn’t work on all scars – Severely uneven texture is harder to conceal.
  • Can rub off easily – Friction and moisture remove it.
  • Transfers to clothing – Can stain light fabrics.
  • Visibility up close – Obvious on close inspection.
  • Can irritate skin – Improper use and removal risks.
  • Daily hassle – Time consuming morning and evening.

Camouflage makeup works best for minor scars in low friction areas. Other treatments like laser resurfacing or surgical revision may be better options for severely disfigured scars.

What are some alternatives to scar camouflage makeup?

Those looking for more permanent scar improvement may want to consider these alternative treatments:

  • Laser resurfacing – Uses focused light energy to smooth scars.
  • Chemical peels – Apply acidic solutions to peel away scarred skin layers.
  • Dermabrasion – Sands down scar surfaces for improvement.
  • Steroid injections – Flatten and soften keloid and hypertrophic scars.
  • Silicone gels/sheets – Help flatten and gradually fade scars.
  • Surgical revision – Excises or alters scar shape for optimal results.

More invasive treatments like these require consultation with a dermatologist or plastic surgeon. Combined approaches are often used for severely scarring injuries and conditions.


For those seeking to conceal or minimize scars, camouflage makeup provides a non-invasive and affordable option with minimal risks. While it requires daily reapplication and has some limitations, proper application techniques can offer effective and confidence-boosting results. More permanent scar revision solutions may also be considered for severe scarring not sufficiently improved with cosmetic coverage alone. Discussing all treatment options with your dermatologist can help determine the optimal solution for your unique scarring needs and goals.