Katie's scar solutions
In 2008, model Katie Piper, then 24, was left profoundly disfigured and blind in one eye after her ex-boyfriend arranged for an accomplice to throw sulphuric acid in her face. Now married with a two-year-old daughter, Belle, Katie is a TV presenter and writer, and runs her charity, the Katie Piper Foundation (katiepiperfoundation.org.uk). Trauma affects people in different ways. Post-traumatic stress disorder is a big problem and often, despite treatment, rears its head again years later. My own mental recovery has been a rollercoaster and I’ve dipped in and out of therapy.
I’ve learnt that confidence and happiness are life choices, not luck. When I was first dating Richard (Sutton, now my husband), I thought, ‘He’ll never fancy me, what’s the point in going out with him?’ But then I thought, ‘What have I got to lose?’
The mentoring scheme I run for people with burns and scars offers contact and support throughout sufferers’ lives. It’s about being a consistent person who understands their journey and can empathise.
When my face was rebuilt, I had to relearn make-up. I had some not-so-great experiences with camouflage at the hospital: shades, tones and colours were dated and the application was poor. But things have improved greatly.
Nowadays I am happy to go barefaced when I’m not working. When I’m on TV, I use high-street brands such as L’Oréal and I’m a fan of High Definition make-up (beautyinhighdefinition.com).
Collagen wave facials, which use radio frequency energy to heat skin at deep levels, are brilliant for softening tight scar tissue and hydrating the sore parts. Once a week I sleep with my face covered in Sudocrem Antiseptic Healing Cream (from £2.37/boots.com).
Areas around my nose, mouth, chest and hands have tough scar tissue, so I massage them nightly and then apply silicone-based Remescar gel. My surgeon Dr. Mohammad Ali Jawad at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital recommended Remescar to me years ago to help reduce my scarring. I have used it ever since.
I recently agreed to be an ambassador for Remescar. It helps the healing process for new and old surgical and burn scars, smoothing and softening the tissue. Remescar Silicone Scar Stick SPF 15 (£19.99/boots.com) is my hero product. I use it on my face under make-up and on my body where I have scarring from skin grafts.
I will need more surgery, but I live a very happy life with Richard and Belle. Also, the Foundation has just launched a pilot rehabilitation centre in Liverpool, which is exciting.
STARS OF SKIN CAMOUFLAGE
● Changing Faces Skin Camouflage Service (changingfaces.org.uk/skin-camouflage). Consultations are free and products may be available on prescription from your GP.
● The British Association of Skin Camouflage (01254 703107/www.skin-camouflage.net) has a nationwide network of fully trained members who offer a consultation service – some within the NHS, some privately.
● Dermablend corrective make-up (dermablend.co.uk) provides information on products, advice and tutorial videos and stockists on its website.
GIVE RELIEF TO RESTLESS LEGS
Q. I was at a play last night when my legs began twitching. It has been happening quite often since I reached late middle age. Is there anything I can do about it?
A. Restless legs syndrome (RLS ) is a common condition of the nervous system. As well as involuntary twitching, RLS , which is often worse at the end of the day, can cause an irresistible urge to move your legs voluntarily (and sometimes other parts of the body) and/or a creeping crawling sensation in the legs. The charity RLS -UK offers information and support (01634-260483/rls-uk.org). Symptoms are more common in women and in middle age. Many women, including myself, find that taking a magnesium supplement relaxes the muscles. (It also helps prevent night cramps.) Pharmacist Shabir Daya recommends taking Solgar Magnesium Citrate (£17.04 for 120 tablets/victoriahealth.com) twice daily. If the symptoms occur, topical Better You Magnesium Oil Sensitive Spray (£12.20/victoriahealth.com) may help.