When people of color search for skin care information online, they’re often met with results that don’t accurately reflect them. Research published by the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology found that less than 6% of image-based search results show conditions on skin of color. In an effort to close that gap, Vaseline® is introducing See My Skin, alongside partners at HUED, a digital health company focused on improving quality of care for Black, Latinx and Indigenous populations through education, access and data, and VisualDx, medical informatics company that is dedicated to reducing healthcare bias by improving clinical decisions through visualization. In joining forces, See My Skin was created as the only online database designed to search conditions on skin of color and connect people with the proper care they deserve.
As the original skin protectant that has been healing skin for over 150 years, Vaseline® exists to give everybody healthy skin – that includes providing equal access to skin health. However, this can’t be achieved if part of the Vaseline® community doesn’t have proper representation or access to equal care due to systemic racism that impacts medical standards and algorithmic search.
“People of color are negatively impacted by healthcare inequities that can lead to worse health outcomes, including caring for their skin. Whether it’s looking for answers in search, on social media, or even in textbooks – the results that resemble their skin are scarce, which can leave us feeling unseen and underrepresented,” says Kevin Tolson, Brand Director of US Skincare at Unilever. “We created See My Skin so that people with melanin-rich skin could finally see skin conditions on themselves. Our goal is to provide solutions that ensure communities are equipped to get the care that everyone deserves. This is a step in that direction.”
As an educational resource, See My Skin guides consumers by displaying results they seek when searching for skin conditions. Through the search experience, See My Skin helps provide people access to quality and impartial skin care with a robust database of board-certified dermatologists. The platform also offers educational resources that provide expert recommendations on how to treat and monitor skin at home, understanding when to seek a dermatologist for proper care, and how to best prepare for an appointment with the right questions. The community is invited not just to search for resources, but also to submit their own images to help continually expand representation of skin of color.
All content on the platform is independently evaluated for accuracy and relevance by Vaseline’s Dermatology Review Board including Dr. Mona Gohara, MD, FAAD, Dr. Uchenna Okereke, MD, FAAD, and Dr. Caroline Robinson, MD, FAAD. Founder of Tone Dermatology, Dr. Caroline Robinson, MD said, “I’m really excited to be a part of this work because this topic and this issue is something that I’m very passionate about. We need to move the needle on equitable care for all. Thinking about things from a patient perspective, it’s really difficult to recognize the lack of representation for skin of color. We are becoming a more and more diverse nation, and resources like textbooks and image databases need to evolve with the changing society.”
Broadening Our Equitable Skincare for All Efforts
Through Vaseline’s broader Equitable Skincare for All efforts, See My Skin helps contribute to our mission to create 15 million more equitable skincare experiences by 2025. Vaseline® continues to create change by focusing on three important areas: resources for communities, providing access to care, and education for skincare professionals.
- Resources for Communities: To further meet the skin health needs for people of color with trusted resources and education, Vaseline® has evolved its partnership with HUED after launching a dermatologist finder tool in 2020. HUED is a first-of-its-kind healthcare technology startup and website that connects patients with medical professionals that specifically understand their cultural, physical, and mental health needs.
- Inclusive Imagery:Vaselinejoined forces with VisualDX, a platform created by dermatologists, to help healthcare professionals accurately diagnose and treat patients of color. As an organization committed to reducing bias and disparities in medical knowledge by improving diagnosis in skin of color around the globe, VisualDx’s comprehensive database of images on skin of color and its API helps power See My Skin.
- Providing Access to Care: Vaseline continues providing access to care with Direct Relief, who has been an ongoing partner for over 6 years through The Vaseline® Healing Project. This partnership helps to support a network of nonprofit health centers and clinics that provide affordable and comprehensive services to those who need it most.
- Education for Skincare Professionals: In partnership with Medscape, the leading online global destination for physicians and healthcare professionals worldwide, Vaseline® has provided funding to support the development of continuing medical education to equip dermatologists and medical practitioners to better treat, diagnose and care for skin of color. These learning modules cover treatment for common skin conditions such as acne and scarring, seborrheic dermatitis and atopic dermatitis specific to skin of color.
As part of the launch, Vaseline’s most iconic product is transformed to celebrate the brand’s dedication to ensuring that everyone has proper access to healthy skin. The limited-edition Vaseline Healing Jelly artwork on pack includes a QR code driving to resources, inclusive of the See My Skin platform, while housing the moisturizing and healing skin care benefits Vaseline Original Healing Jelly is known for.