For many people in Black and Brown communities, access to adequate dermatological care is few and far between. While the conversation of proper skincare may seem cosmetic and trivial to some, Vaseline understands inadequate care and access to skincare health—for the body’s largest vital organ—can have a negative impact on those affected.
With health disparities at the forefront of conversation, Vaseline has announced the launch of its Equitable Skincare for All campaign. In partnership with Vaseline brand ambassador Regina King, the pivotal campaign aims to bring awareness and change to the healthcare inequities that unfairly impacts care for Black and Brown skin.
“I love being a Black American woman. Using my platform to celebrate who I am affords me the opportunity to remind people that the inequities experienced by Black people still exist,” King said in a press release. “Black and Brown people have been at a disadvantage for far too long. The lack of access to healthcare resources is still a huge concern.”
Studies have found that Black and Brown people receive lower quality care than White people and are less likely to receive more aggressive treatments for the same conditions. Additionally, skin health for Black and Latinx communities continues to be underserved. Regrettably, the likelihood of misdiagnosis (or no diagnosis) increases without access to proper care. It also threatens long-term consequences for these communities.
To help bridge the gap, the legacy brand is teaming up with HUED, a first-of-its-kind app that connects Black and Latinx individuals with doctors who understand diverse patients’ physical, mental, and cultural needs.
Together they’ve created an online resource that includes a search tool specifically focused on helping people identify and connect with dermatologists who are experienced in treating skin of color. The online platform will also offer educational resources that provide expert recommendations on how to treat and monitor skin at home, understanding when to seek dermatologists for proper care, how to prepare for an appointment with the right questions, along with what to expect.
More precise diagnoses and proper care
Before patients can heal, medical professionals must first correctly diagnose their problems.
Identifying specific skin disorders can be challenging. Still, they can be even more difficult to pinpoint when a physician isn’t trained or educated about the nuances and unique reactions that many Black and Brown people experience with certain conditions.
“I often hear frustration from my patients who have previously seen multiple doctors, had multiple treatments and nothing seems to be helping to make their condition better, which speaks to the need for cultural competency in the field,” says Dr. Caroline Robinson, MD, FAAD a Chicago-based dermatologist and founder of Tone Dermatology.
For example, recent studies found that 19% of African American children have atopic Dermatitis compared to 16% of white children. “In urban areas, we’re finding that air pollution drives a lot of flares and can contribute to some of the higher rates that we’re seeing in communities of color,” Dr. Robinson explains. “This (eczema) condition, in particular, is very chronic and for some, especially for Black patients, it can be resistant to treatment — we often have to go through phases of treatment to get to a place where we can have some control.”
Open communication between patients and providers is crucial. Comfortability and cultural competency go a long way.
“Having a skin condition can create feelings of shame, embarrassment, and hopelessness,” says Dr. Elyse Love. “Those feelings can be amplified by a healthcare system that often makes Black and Latinx patients feel unheard. Positive relationships between physician and patient drive compliance and positive outcomes. Everyone benefits from increased cultural competency.”
Keeping the conversation going
Be sure to tune into BET HER, on April 22 at 8/7C for the “Equitable Skincare for All” special. Hosted by Tai Beauchamp and featuring Regina King, the discussion will highlight current inequities Black and Brown people face, the consequences of these inequities, and the importance of properly treating Black and Brown skin.