What's the first thing you do when a mysterious rash crops up on your baby's precious skin? If you're like most parents, you take to the Google search bar. After all, it's a 24/7 resource and you want answers ASAP. But a quick image search of "baby rash" returns a sea of white babies with red, irritated skin which, if your baby has any melanin at all, does not reflect what you're dealing with.
According the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIH), eczema, a skin condition that causes dry, irritated and itchy skin affects 30 percent of the US population–mostly children and adolescents. And while it's a condition that occurs across all races, Black babies are 1.7 times more likely to develop it than white babies despite the discrepancy in Google.
The ability to quickly access information, identify resources and know when to bring concerns to your baby's pediatrician should not be a privilege. But for parents of darker skinned babies, it can be incredibly difficult–if not impossible–to do so. Not only does eczema look different with darker skin tones, the treatment can vary as well. Unfortunately, the problem doesn't just lie within search engines. Less than 5 percent of the images in general medical textbooks show conditions on darker skin.
Less than 5 percent.
Additionally, Black children are 30% less likely to see a doctor for their eczema than white children, and when they do, they actually have more visits and prescriptions than white children.
To help close this glaring gap, Aveeno Baby just launched a campaign called Eczema Equality to provide families of color with the proper resources–starting with over 1,800 images of eczema on every skin tone. "Knowing eczema occurs more frequently on Black skin but is often undiagnosed, alongside the real problem that when you search for eczema on the internet, there is little to no diverse image results - it didn't feel like this was going to be an issue that was resolved on its own. We felt like someone needed to do something about it. With that, it is so important to Aveeno Baby to make sure parents can see, understand and have tools to help navigate eczema and how it relates to their baby's skin tone," says Trisha Bonner, Head of Marketing for US Johnson & Johnson Baby.
In partnership with CreativeSoul Photography, Aveeno set out to create the library of images parents so desperately need and shed light on the discrepancies. In a deeply touching and emotional video, BIPOC parents hold their babies and speak to the struggles of comforting their babies and the hopelessness of finding answers in a space that makes them feel forgotten.
Watch the video below.
Additionally, Aveeno has also launched "Eczema on Skin of Color," a page dedicated to raise awareness and provide BIPOC parents even more support and education. There's also a digital tool and quiz to help identify their little one's conditions.
There's still more work to be done, but with brands like Aveeno stepping up in big ways to address change it feels more hopeful than ever.