Kerry Washington advocated for skin health equity at Neutrogena’s inaugural awards ceremony

Actress and brand ambassador Washington co-hosted the TikTok-streamed event, as well as executive producing films submitted for the initiative.

Neutrogena is hoping to make the world of skincare more equitable. On Monday, January 31, the skincare and cosmetics brand streamed the first-ever ‘Heroes of Skin Health Equity’ Awards on TikTok Live, co-hosted by brand ambassadors Kerry Washington and Jennifer Garner.

Credit: Neutrogena

The awards are part of Neutrogena’s new “Heroes of Skin Health Equity” initiative, which seeks to “close the gap to skin health equity for those with Black and brown skin.” Too often, African-Americans and other people of color find themselves without products and information that speak directly to their skincare needs. In fact, the lack of proper information on many products can actually exacerbate certain skin conditions.

“More than 68 million BIPOC Americans face disparities in skin health education, access to expertise and products for all skin types and tones, which we at Neutrogena find simply unacceptable,” said Neutrogena General Manager Roberto Khoury in a statement. “As a brand that is committed to advancing skin health for all, Neutrogena is focused on making a difference. But it goes far beyond just our company; we believe the only way to make skin health equity real is if we all come together to do so.”

During the awards ceremony, Washington shared her own lifelong struggles with eczema, noting that as a result, “Skin health equity is something that means a great deal to me personally.” As a longtime partner and brand ambassador, she has directly collaborated with Neutrogena on various projects aimed at amplifying the work of those bridging the skincare gap.

Grounded in the four pillars of Neutrogena’s “For People With Skin” promise, last night’s awards honored individuals advancing skin health in the areas of Advocacy, Education, Expertise, and Transparency.

Malone Mukwende, founder and creator of Hutano, received the Heroes of Skin Equity for Advocacy Award. Hutano is a social platform created to “empower, educate and provide a voice to Black and brown communities to help improve their health outcomes.” In addition to becoming the first official sponsor of Hutano, Neutrogena will work with Mukwende to launch the SkinU by Neutrogena on Hutano, enabling more specific discussions concerning skin conditions including hyperpigmentation, acne and skin cancer/sun protection.

Emerging filmmakers Sarah Jean Williams and Kyra Peters received the Heroes of Skin Health Equity for Education Award. Williams’ short film highlighted the struggles of a Black ballerina in a white dominated space, while Peters’ work saw a young Black man imagining what life would be like if his skin wasn’t viewed as a threat. With both projects executive produced by Washington, each filmmaker also received a $25,000 production award, professional mentoring and coaching. In partnership with Neutrogena Studios, the films will be distributed to over 500 schools with a companion discussion guide. 

Board-certified dermatologist and founder of @BrownSkinDerm Dr. Adeline Kikam earned the Heroes of Skin Health Equity for Expertise. She will now become a long-term brand partner and expert voice on all matters pertaining to Black and brown skin featured in a soon-to-be-launched dedicated content series by Neutrogena. Dr. Kikam will also help to shape the brand’s future product innovation and marketing efforts through ongoing consulting work. 

Sabrina Noorani, Founder & CEO of ClearForMe received the Heroes of Skin Health Equity for Transparency Award. ClearForMe is a digital resource that provides a particularly critical service in helping those Black and brown skin better find the right products for their specific skin needs. Neutrogena will partner with Noorani and her team to roll out the ClearForMe technology on all its brand platforms, bringing greater ingredient transparency to its consumers.

Washington lauded the honorees, saying: “I am so proud to work with Neutrogena to turn the spotlight on these inspiring individuals and celebrate the very important work they are doing to close the skin health gap faced by so many of us with Black and brown skin.”

Candice Marie Benbow is theGrio’s daily lifestyle, education and health writer. She’s also the author of Red Lip Theology: For Church Girls Who’ve Considered Tithing to the Beauty Supply Store When Sunday Morning Isn’t Enough. Find her on Twitter and Instagram @candicebenbow.

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