It’s time to explore the elusive connection between our mind and our skin through the prevalence and causes of sensitive skin. This summer, AVEENO® will release the first-ever State of Sensitivity report to connect the dots between sensitive skin and the effects it has on our mental health and wellbeing.

Sabrina Henry, Aveeno’s Principal Scientist, recently sat down with Beauty and Skincare Expert, Editor and Entrepreneur, Felicia Walker, and Dr. Angela Ford, Chief Program Officer of the Black Women’s Health Imperative (BWHI) who is a PhD in Social Work to discuss how we can tune into our sensitivity and embrace it as a community. And as Sabrina says, “That starts with recognizing and understanding various sensitive skin states.”

Understanding Sensitive Skin
We know that sensitive skin is real and can have a tremendous impact on quality of life—but what exactly is it? Sabrina breaks it down for us, “if you’re prone to rashes and bumps, have dry patches, break out easily, skin feels itchy, and skin reacts to weather changes.” According to Aveeno’s research, within the US, 71% of adults report having sensitive skin. People self-reporting sensitive skin has doubled over the last 20 years. “Skin’s unique level of sensitivity varies greatly from person to person, and even from an individual’s face to body,” says Sabrina. “While research has shown there is little difference between ethnic groups in terms of sensitive skin, there are differences in skin reactivity and certain skin conditions, such as eczema and acne, affect dark skin more frequently or with more severity.”

The Toll On Black Women’s Mental Health
“Black women tend to view their hair, their skin, their clothing as positive expressions of our culture so when there is skin sensitivity, it can certainly affect self-esteem and our lived experience,” says Angela. Felicia agrees, adding, “I do think that our skin is more susceptible to showing signs of distress in my experiences and research as a Black woman.”

“Chronic stress results from repeated exposure to situations that lead to the release of our fight or flight or ‘stress’ hormone, cortisol,” says Angela. “Black women have been shown to produce more cortisol than White women, due to chronic stress. And if you’re already living with a chronic health condition, unmanaged stress can simply make it worse. However, you cannot allow any chronic condition to define who you are!” Felicia builds on that idea, saying that we are seeing a shift in the idea of perfection—that skin needs to look a certain way. “What we focus on is
caring for our skin and understanding that your skin can still be hydrated, healthy and balanced even if it’s showing signs of distress,” she says. “Having a skincare routine – even if skin is not perfect – the act itself of caring for yourself can make you feel good about your skin, no matter what state it is in.”

And that’s where AVEENO® comes in. Their commitment to science and research harnesses the power of nature’s ingredients, like oat and soy, to create formulas that care for sensitive skin—including dry, itchy, and eczematic. As a leader in skin science, Aveeno brings these select ingredients together in combinations proven to soothe, heal or protect sensitive skin.

Changing the Conversation on Skin Health
And now Aveeno is taking their commitment even further through its work with the Black Women’s Heath Imperative (BWHI). “Working together we will create and disseminate culturally tailored messaging related to skin health through our BWHI App and throughout communities of color,” says Angela. “We are looking to create impact beyond awareness to ensure
communities receive the education to recognize their unique skin health needs while having access to experts and the motivation to seek and receive appropriate care.”

To hear more of this incredible conversation, click here to watch the video— and to learn more about AVEENO®’s ingredients and commitment to skin sensitivity, simply click here to explore their website.