“I wish I could make my scars less visible…”
“What can I do to make my features look more even?”
“Even though I was burned, I want to look my best. I want to feel beautiful.”
Burn survivors undergoing physical rehabilitation, wage a daily battle against contracture and deformity, to try and regain the best physical functions possible. But once the battle is won, and despite all the developments in reconstructive and cosmetic surgery, the scars will remain and burn survivors must then learn to live with them. The process of accepting one’s changed appearance can be difficult; apart from dealing with their own internal struggle, burn survivors must also deal with the stares, questions or even negative reactions of strangers.
That is why in 2002, Sunshine Foundation launched its image enhancement services, to accompany burn survivors on the road towards building self-confidence. By offering skin camouflage consultations, styling consultations and social skills trainings, the specialists of Sunshine help burn survivors learn techniques and skills that will enhance their confidence and courage to face the world.
Skin camouflage is an important component of our image enhancement services. By using water-proof covering creams and special makeup techniques, our specialists can help burn survivors reduce the appearance of scars or skin discoloration, as well as regain some of the facial features they lost due to burns. With the stroke of a makeup brush, lost eyebrows can be drawn and the slant of the mouth deformed by scars can be corrected.
Apart from organizing individual consultations and group activities centered on image enhancement and social skills building, Sunshine Foundation also promotes skin camouflage with the wider public, to raise awareness about this special makeup technique, and at the same time educate the public about the process of self-acceptance and confidence building that burn survivors must go through. One of our most important “public-oriented” activities is our bi-annual participation in the International Cosmetics Exhibition held in Taipei. For this year’s event, Sunshine Foundation recruited the help of two famous Taiwanese stylists to demonstrate on stage simple image enhancement techniques.
One of the models was Hsuan-Ju, who was severely injured 9 years ago in an explosion at the factory where she worked. Burns covered 65% of her body, including her face, lower and upper extremities. For a long time, Hsuan-Ju avoided mirrors and rarely went out. When she did go out, she did her utmost to cover herself up, relying on pressure garments to hide her scars, and wearing a hat and a mask to cover her face.
When Hsuan-Ju was introduced to image enhancement services of Sunshine Foundation, she learned skin camouflage techniques to make the color of her scars more uniform, and she learned hairstyling techniques to make her scars and asymmetrical features less obvious. By using these techniques, she progressively regained the confidence to go out and face people. Hsuan-Ju is now a busy, confident businesswoman who owns a carwash center, and she no longer needs skin camouflage every time she goes out.
For some burn survivors, skin camouflage becomes part of their daily beauty regime. For others, skin camouflage is used for a while, during the process of re-learning how to face the world confidently. Either way, skin camouflage is a tool at the disposition of burn survivors. Burns might have taken away a lot of things from them, but it hasn’t taken away their right to look and feel beautiful and confident.
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