Under My Skin

Gina Torres graced the stage at SXSW 2023

Gina Torres graced the stage at SXSW 2023, shining a spotlight on the powerful documentary “Under My Skin.” This film delves into a widespread, yet often overlooked, issue that affects approximately 31 million Americans – a skin condition known as Eczema. I had the privilege of attending this event in Austin, where we delved into a discussion surrounding a common problem that lacks a universal solution. Chances are, you or someone you know has grappled with the challenges of Eczema.

Eczema, pronounced as “eg-zuh-MUH,” is an inflammatory skin condition that brings forth a medley of discomforts: relentless itching, dry skin, rashes, scaly patches, blisters, and the looming threat of skin infections. Itchy skin stands out as the most pervasive symptom of eczema. The condition manifests in seven distinct forms, each presenting its unique challenges: atopic dermatitis, contact dermatitis, dyshidrotic eczema, nummular eczema, seborrheic dermatitis, and stasis dermatitis.

Eczema doesn’t discriminate; it affects over 31 million Americans, spanning across generations from childhood to adolescence and well into adulthood. For some, it may emerge in the early weeks or months after birth, resulting in parched, itchy skin that can lead to blisters and infections from excessive scratching. Adults, too, can find themselves grappling with eczema, with its onset often occurring in their 20s or beyond 50.

The event commenced with a heartfelt introduction by Gina Torres, setting the stage for a crucial conversation. Her dedication to this cause was evident as she took us on a journey into the heart of the matter.

Following the poignant introduction, we were treated to an exclusive screening of the movie, an invaluable opportunity to delve into the lives of those affected by Eczema. At the end of this article, you’ll find a link to the full movie – a must-watch for anyone seeking insight into the challenges of this condition. The screening was followed by a profound Q&A session, where Director Tom Mason and Film Subject Alexis Smith provided invaluable insights. Gina expertly moderated this engaging discussion, bringing forth perspectives that truly resonate with those living with Eczema.

A Community Struggle: Eczema and People of Caribbean Descent

Eczema’s impact goes beyond its physical manifestations; it affects communities in unique ways. One striking example of this is its seemingly disproportionate effect on individuals of Caribbean descent. Research conducted in London revealed a stark reality. Black Caribbean children were found to have a prevalence of atopic dermatitis, a common form of Eczema, at 16.3%, while their white counterparts stood at 8.7%. This heightened risk persists even after considering potential factors that could influence the results.

Silent Battles Unveiled: “Under My Skin” Documentary

A recurring theme within the documentary is the silence that often surrounds Eczema. Many people who endure this condition choose to keep it private, and there are various reasons for this choice. It’s an unspoken struggle that affects numerous individuals. I had the privilege of speaking with Gina about this, and she shared her personal connection to Eczema. Her daughter’s battle with the condition inspired her to delve deeper into understanding Eczema and to advocate for greater awareness.

Taking the Message to a Wider Audience

“Under My Skin” has now taken its place on YouTube and The Roku Channel, making it accessible to a broader audience. This powerful documentary is a compelling exploration of Eczema, touching the hearts of those who’ve experienced it and those who aim to understand it better.

It’s an invitation to step into the shoes of those living with Eczema, raising awareness about this common yet often unspoken condition. Gina Torres and the team behind “Under My Skin” have brought an essential topic to the forefront, challenging us to break the silence and foster empathy for those living with this skin condition.

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