For an entire generation of girls who grew up watching Tia Mowry day in and day out on television, it’s easy to think of her less like an untouchable celebrity and more like a family friend — or even a sister. The multitalented actor has never shied away from unflinching looks at her real life — both the glamorous and mundane — but her candid approach to beauty is particularly refreshing in a world of filters, FaceTune, and pressure to appear perfect at all times. Tia Mowry’s vulnerability around eczema, a condition she’s dealt with for years, is more than just a star getting real about a just-like-us skin issue — it’s illuminating, especially considering the lack of visibility around how skin conditions appear on women of color.
“I was experiencing skin sensitivities for a very, very long time, and I didn't necessarily know what was going on,” Mowry shares with TZR, detailing her journey to diagnosis. Mowry’s mother was seeing similar irritation in her own skin, but it wasn’t immediately clear exactly what the problem was, in large part due to an ongoing lack of information and visibility on what eczema looks like on Black skin. “It was hard, it was frustrating, it was confusing,” she says. “I didn't know what was really going on.” It wasn’t until an unrelated doctor’s visit that Mowry would finally get the answers she was desperately searching for. At a routine gynecological appointment, her doctor, a fellow Black woman, noticed her red, itchy hands. “‘Tia, you have eczema,’” she recalls hearing, “‘that’s what that is.’” Finally, armed with the knowledge of exactly what she was up against, she could find relief.
Mowry isn’t alone, either. A new report by Aveeno reveals that a whopping 71% of adults experience skin sensitivity, a term that can cover a wide range of issues from winter-induced dryness to a more serious, underlying medical condition. Skin sensitivity seems to be evenly spread among all ethnicities, the report details, but as Mowry personally experienced, resources certainly aren’t. Everything from medical school training to textbooks to advertisements have a serious representation problem, which makes it more difficult for professionals and patients alike to quickly identify skin conditions.
A large part of Aveeno’s robust, sweeping report is honing on a deeper understanding of what causes sensitive skin reactions. That factor does vary a bit by ethnicity — Europeans are more prone to intense wind irritation while Asians and Pacific Islanders show a stronger skin reactivity to spicy food, for example — but the report stresses the importance of the mind-body connection. Mowry is personally a big proponent of what she describes as intentionality, focusing on her mental state, her food choices, and steeling her skin against extreme weather changes. “If I'm emotional or if I'm stressed, I'll know that there's going to be some sort of flare-up,” she explains, sharing that she meditates and consults an allergist to keep the eczema at bay.
But along with smart lifestyle choices, Mowry has quite a few products in her daily lineup that help keep things calm and clear. Aveeno was actually one of the first brands her dermatologist recommended on her eczema journey and she stayed a lifelong fan, eventually becoming an ambassador. One of her favorites is the just-released Eczema Therapy Rescue Relief Gel, loaded with colloidal oats — an Aveeno favorite — for soothing restoration. “Another thing that I've been doing for years, just with my skin in general, is very practical, very easy. I'll put some water in some ice cubes and I'll put some antioxidants in that — whether that's green tea or vitamin C — and just rub it all over my face. It really helps bring circulation to my face and to my skin.”
Though twin sister Tamera doesn’t experience the exact eczema, she does deal with dry patches and irritation, too. “We are constantly sharing products and information,” Mowry says. “That's what mommy communities do, and she's a part of my mommy community. I have shared the products that I use for my kids when they have flare-ups with eczema.” It seems like clear, smooth skin is officially a family affair.
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