Neutrogena’s Latest Initiative Honors the Skin Heroes Fighting For Skincare Equity

Neutrogena’s Latest Initiative Honors the Skin Heroes Fighting For Skincare Equity

In April 2021, Neutrogena launched its newest initiative and a succinct tagline as part of its long-term commitment to addressing the disparities in skincare: “For People With Skin.” Naturally, the official launch video yielded comments questioning the company’s word choice (“Last I checked everyone has skin,” one user wrote). But Neutrogena’s message was clear: skincare is for everyone—at least it should be. Equity has been the topic du jour, from healthcare and criminal justice to fair pay. With its latest project, Neutrogena joins the fight for skincare equity for Black and brown skin.

On January 27, Neutrogena announced its latest contribution to the skin health equity discussion, the Neutrogena Heroes of Skin Health Equity initiative. “More than 68 million BIPOC Americans face disparities in skin health education, access to expertise and product for all skin types and tones, which we at Neutrogena find simply unacceptable,” Roberto Khoury, general manager of Neutrogena, said in a statement.

The first of what will be an annual event aims to honor the work of those “skin heroes” who use their platform and resources to bridge the gap in skin health and align with each of the brand’s four core pillars: advocacy, education, expertise, and transparency. Hosted by brand ambassadors Kerry Washington and Jennifer Garner, amplifying the work of these skin heroes during the inaugural ceremony (launching on the Neutrogena TikTok channel today, January 31, 8 pm EST) is just the surface.

neutrogena skin heroes kerry washington jennifer garner


In the advocacy category, Neutrogena will spotlight Malone Mukwende, founder and creator of Hutano, a social platform for Black and brown people to safely and freely discuss their skin concerns. Neutrogena will become the official sponsor for Hutano and will launch a separate page on Hutano’s site named SkinU by the Neutrogena community to further expand the platform’s reach. Up-and-coming filmmakers Sarah Jean Williams and Kyra Peters will be honored for education, using their film expertise to create skin health content in partnership with Neutrogena Studios that will be distributed to schools and featured in media campaigns. Dr. Adeline Kikam, a board-certified dermatologist and founder of @BrownSkinDerm, whose Instagram page is full of expert advice on skincare products and the latest trends.

Additionally, Neutrogena will honor Dr. Kikam for her expertise in skincare by enlisting her as a brand partner and consultant for the company’s future creations. For the transparency category, Neutrogena will highlight Sabrina Noorani, founder & CEO of ClearForMe, an online platform that makes it easier for customers to find products based on ingredients and provides information on said ingredients so shoppers know exactly what they are investing in.

Neutrogena’s commitment to making skincare accessible and affordable for consumers is one of the main reasons Kerry Washington has been their brand ambassador since 2013, and what drew her to join the Neutrogena Heroes of Skin Health Equity initiative in the first place.

Thinking back to her childhood, Washington was forced to reckon with the state of her own skin health from a young age. “I have had eczema my whole life. Do you know how you have memories of going to the pediatrician when you’re a kid for your checkups? I have memories of going to the dermatologist as much as I went to the pediatrician because my skin was so inflamed,” Washington recalls. As a child, she learned just how important the largest organ of the body is and how well it needs to be cared for. Her first “skin hero,” though, was her mother who taught her the golden rule of Black skin: Always wear sunscreen. “She always moisturizes. She was using SPF before anybody. She’s always been somebody who takes good care of her skin, drinks a lot of water, hydrates, and instilled in me the value of taking good care of my skin,” she remembers fondly. Washington loved swimming in the pools of Bronx’s Jamie Towers Housing and playing outside in the sun. Washington’s mother was instrumental in helping her daughter understand her skin so she didn’t have to sacrifice fun.

“When I was little, she gave me oatmeal baths to address my eczema. She helped me figure out how to take good care of my skin so that I could withstand all of those hours in the sun and in the chlorinated water. It took some effort, but she was always so supportive so that I wouldn’t have to give up the things I love,” she adds. Washington’s upbringing and personal skin journey are what drew her to support Neutrogena’s latest initiative because the message is simple: “Everyone deserves to feel comfortable in their own skin. That should not be a right that is designated for only certain kinds of people or certain color skin,” the brand ambassador says.

But even Washington understands that as a celebrity, she’s privileged to have a bevy of skin experts at her disposal. Still, skincare shouldn’t be relegated to a specific socioeconomic status. “It’s one of the reasons why we’re really interested in uplifting platform builders, educators, advocates, who are getting the right kinds of information to people in the Black and Brown community, to people in our community, regardless of how much money is in their pocket,” she adds.

“I love working with a drugstore brand company. I choose to work with Neutrogena because we work so hard on the research and on the science to bring really high-level products that you can trust, but at a price that everybody can afford,” she says. “And that’s important to me because I don’t think that I should be able to be healthier than somebody else just because I’ve had some luck in my life.”

Neutrogena’s initiative proves that the answer to skincare equity doesn’t lie in one place or in one type of skin expert. “As a company, [we’re] putting our money where our mouth is and celebrating derms and estheticians who are doing the right thing, saying the right thing, and working responsibly from a place of really understanding the issues and wanting to empower their clients and patients,” she explains.

The celebration will take place in the most 2022 way, on Neutrogena’s official TikTok page at 8 pm EST, where viewers can learn more about the brand’s commitment to continuing the conversations around skin health for Black and Brown skin.

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