Gina Torres made her way to SXSW 2023 to present the film Under My Skin. The Movie is a documentary highlighting a skin condition that affects approx 31 million Americans. I was able to attend the event in Austin and enjoy the discussion surrounding a very common issue without a common solution. You or someone you know likely suffers from a skin condition called Eczema.
What is Eczema?
Here is the explanation of Eczema from the National Eczema Association:
Eczema (eg-zuh-MUH) is an inflammatory skin condition that causes itchiness, dry skin, rashes, scaly patches, blisters and skin infections. Itchy skin is the most common symptom of eczema. There are seven different types of eczema: atopic dermatitis, contact dermatitis, dyshidrotic eczema, nummular eczema, seborrheic dermatitis and stasis dermatitis.
More than 31 million Americans have some form of eczema. Eczema can begin during childhood, adolescence, or adulthood – and it can range from mild to severe. Newborn babies can experience eczema within the first weeks and months after birth. Young children with eczema can experience patches of skin that are extremely dry; itchy skin that can lead to blisters and skin infections due to excessive scratching. Adults can also experience eczema and adult eczema is most commonly developed when someone is in their 20s or over the age of 50.
The Event Began with a wonderful introduction by Gina which you can view here:
After that wonderful introduction, we were treated to an opportunity to screen the movie. You’ll find an embed, and a link, to the full movie at the bottom of this article. The screening was followed by a Q&A with Director Tom Mason and Film Subject Alexis Smith that was moderated by Gina.
Under My Skin SXSW Premiere Q&A:
Eczema is an issue that hits close to home as it seems to disproportionately affect people of Caribbean descent. The National Library of Medicine notes that a study was conducted in London to assess whether children of Caribbean descent were at higher risk and found the following:
Results: The prevalence of atopic dermatitis according to examination by a dermatologist was 16.3% in black Caribbean children and 8.7% in white children. This increased risk was present for different methods of defining of a atopic dermatitis and persisted after adjustment for potential confounders.
A common theme discussed in the documentary is that people afflicted with this skin condition don’t always talk about it with others. There are a number of people living with this skin condition but are very private about it for various reasons. I was lucky to have a few moments with Gina to help bring awareness to how this affects some communities more than others. She shared that her daughter also suffered from Eczema which inspired her to learn more about the condition and to also raise awareness.
Under My Skin is now available to watch on YouTube as well as on The Roku Channel.