It is estimated that over 1,000 people in the Channel Islands have disfigurements to their face, hands or body. Every year children in the islands are born with cleft lips and palates, cranio-facial conditions, Bell’s palsy, skin conditions and birthmarks. Over 100 people are seen by our hospitals each year with burns and scalds and a similar number are sent to the UK for treatment for cancer of the head, neck, throat and skin.
If you have a disfigurement, you can face discrimination because of the way you look. You might be stared at, teased or avoided, especially at school or in public places. You may feel isolated and find it easier to avoid going out. You may believe that you have little chance of leading a successful life. Family and friends may not always know how to help while others may be unsure how to react when meeting you for the first time.
Changing Faces Channel Islands (CFCI) aims to support and represent children, young people and adults with disfigurements of all kinds, whether present at birth or as a result of accident or violence, skin conditions, illness or paralysis. Our work complements medical and surgical treatments by addressing the psychological and social challenges posed by disfigurement.
How we help
Skin camouflage - rebuilding your confidence
The Healthcare Group in St Martin's, Guernsey, offer a camouflage service from their Cosmedical clinic. For someone living with scarring or a skin condition that affects their appearance and confidence, specialist camouflage products offer a way to cope. A Cosmedical practitioner, trained by Changing Faces in the UK, will select the best colour match for each person's skin tone. They then teach clients how to apply the cover creams to improve the appearance of affected areas. If you believe that skin camouflage could help you, please arrange to visit your GP who will refer you to the Changing Faces Channels Islands skin camouflage service. Once your GP has referred you, CFCI will pay for your appointment. Find out more about this service on the following web page: www.cosmedical.gg/2013/11/skin-camouflage .
We also work closely with Changing Faces in the UK who have a team of counsellors and psychologists, as well as schools, employers and health professional consultants. Changing Faces in the UK offer professional counselling and advice to enable you to find ways of:
• Coming to terms with a changed appearance
• Cultivating self-confidence and self-esteem
• Dealing with staring, public situations, teasing and bullying
• Managing comments and questions about your appearance
• Developing your child's self-belief and social skills
• Preparing your child for changing schools or going to college
• Forging close relationships
• Improving career prospects
• Talking to health professionals about treatment options
• Contacting support groups for a particular condition.
We also provide information for health professionals, teachers and employers to help them understand and address the particular challenges experienced by children and adults who have disfigurements. Our aim is to ensure that children and adults with disfigurements in the Islands have high self-esteem, access to the very best health and social services, and enjoy equal rights and opportunities throughout their lives.