JANICE Brown loves swimming but for years, she couldn’t bear to go to her local pool.

“When you look different, people stare, and you feel awful,” she says. “It destroyed my confidence. Skin camouflage made me feel like myself again.”

This Wednesday (May 22) is Face Equality Day, the UK’s only campaign to ensure that everyone is treated fairly and equally whatever the appearance of their face or body.

It is organised by Changing Faces, which supports the 1.3 million people in the UK with a mark, scar or condition that makes them look different.

Read more: "I said I was fighting a shark" - Wishaw schoolboy Craig Mitchell speaks up for Face Equality Day

As part of our three-day series on the work of the charity and the people it supports, the Evening Times spent some time with Scottish skin camouflage co-ordinator Christine Carrick.

Christine volunteered with Changing Faces before she took on the position and she continues to volunteer at local clinics on her days off.

There are clinics across Scotland, including one at Glasgow Royal Infirmary. Clients are shown how to use the camouflage creams, which can be provided free of charge on prescription.

“The Glasgow volunteers are brilliant,” says Christine. “It’s a really busy clinic with male and female clients of all ages, and they do fantastic work. Skin camouflage is an optional tool, for people to pick up if they want to. Some people use it every day, some for particular occasions and some just like to know it’s there if they need it.

“We’re trying to empower clients by giving them a choice.”

Christine, who lives in Fife with her husband Alan and daughters Skye, 13, Summer, 10, and six-year-old Sophie, trained as a beauty therapist.

“I always liked the therapeutic treatments more than the cosmetic ones,” she says. “I liked helping people.

She admits sessions with clients can be emotional.

“You are meeting people often after a very difficult time in their lives,” she explains. “It takes a lot for someone even to come in to talk to us.

“I remember one gentlemen, who had had surgery on his face and felt very self-conscious about it, coming in with his wife. He wouldn’t look at me, or talk to me – his wife would answer for him and she explained he had not left the house for seven months.”

Christine adds: “At the end of the session, his whole body language changed, and he smiled at me. His wife said they were going out for lunch, something they hadn’t done together for such a long time.

“It seems such a simple thing, applying some cream - but the results are huge.”

Janice Brown agrees. The 60-year-old, who lives on the south side of Glasgow with her husband William, daughter Lisa, 23 and son Martin, 20, has rosacea, an inflammatory skin condition which causes redness on her face.

“When I was 14, I had very bad teenage acne,” she explains. “I was given some very strong medication, with unpleasant side effects, which got rid of it eventually.

“Then, in my 30s, I started to get spots again, and I didn’t understand what was happening. When the doctors told me I had rosacea, I just broke down in tears. I was really upset to think I had gone through my teenage years with acne, and now this.”

A nurse suggested she try the skin camouflage at the Royal Infirmary.

“It was wonderful,” she says. “They spend time with you to understand all about your condition, then match up the creams with your skin tone. They teach you how to apply them, and what a difference it made to me.

“Now I can go swimming, and I just apply the creams and powders before I go, as it’s completely waterproof. It’s amazing to be able to walk between the changing rooms and the pool without everyone staring at me.”

Janice now volunteers for the charity, and spent a spell on reception at the Glasgow clinic.

“I’d see people go in and then come out, completely transformed,” she smiles. “It was incredible, they were so happy.”

If skin camouflage is Christine Carrick’s career and her passion, it’s also responsible for saving the day much closer to home too.

“It prevented my wedding day from being a complete disaster,” she smiles. “My husband had been working with fire retardant materials as part of his job, and he had an allergic reaction to them.

“He woke up on the morning of our wedding and his skin was red and puffy and his eyes were swollen .”

Christine laughs: “Because I didn’t want to see him until the ceremony, I was sending him camouflage creams I thought were a good match for his skin tone, and someone else was applying them and telling me how it was going. It was crazy – but it worked, and if you looked at the wedding photos, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.”


Changing Faces provides advice, support and psychosocial services to children, young people and adults, challenging discrimination and campaigning for Face Equality - a world that truly values and respects people who look different.

The Changing Faces Support Line is 0300 012 0275.

To support the work of Changing Faces text FaceEquality to 70085 to donate £5 plus your standard network rate message.

Alternatively visit www.changingfaces.org.uk/donate

For more information on Changing Faces or to get involved email

scotland@changingfaces.org.uk or call 0141 559 5028