A NEW skin camouflage clinic is being launched to help Halton people conceal self-harm scars and improve their self confidence.

It is the first of its kind in the UK and is available on the NHS.

Trained experts will teach people how to apply the waterproof camouflage creams, colour matched to each individual, at home.

It has already changed the lives of 10 young people who used it in a pilot scheme.

The project has been pioneered by Dr Sandeep Ranote, consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist at 5 Boroughs Partnership NHS Trust.

She said: “It was an amazing pilot.

“Four of the young people swam for the first time in four years and two felt confident enough to go to their school prom.

“Listening to their stories is really powerful.”

One student who used the cream said: “With the camouflage cream, I was able to go to college and meet new people without having to worry about being judged on my scars. The creams have really boosted my confidence and self esteem.”

The trust has teamed up with the charity, Changing Faces, to offer the service to patients as part of their mental health recovery.

Dr Ranote said: “The most common form of self harm is cutting or scratching, but there can be cigarette and freezer burns.

“People can become isolated by their physical scars. Some are bullied and don’t feel able to participate in group activites.

“This cream mimics the first two layers of your skin, it is not make-up.

“We feel extremely proud to help people recover from the emotional and physical impact of scars.”

It is hoped to extend the service to people who suffer psychological distress from disfiguring skin conditions, such as acne or eczema.

The UK has the highest rate of self harm in Europe, with one in 10 young people reporting injury.