How Regina King Is Fighting for Equity in Skin Care
VOGUE – Updated for December 2021
Author: Akili King
From her acting roles to her directing projects, Regina King has made a habit of shedding light on the subjects that are important to her. Whether she’s playing a police detective battling white supremacists in Watchmen or portraying a reunion of icons as the director of One Night in Miami, King brings powerful, inspiring stories to the screen. Offscreen, she’s also been sparking conversations around the lack of skin-care equity for Black and Latinx communities.
Last November, King teamed up with Vaseline for the Equitable Skincare for All initiative, a campaign working with health care organizations Medscape and Direct Relief to provide further education to dermatologists and skin-care professionals when it comes to treating and caring for skin of color. It’s been proven that Black patients are less likely to receive the same care as their white counterparts for the same skin issues, and that skin cancer is more deadly for Latinx and Black communities. The field of dermatology sees a particular lack of representation among its doctors, with Black dermatologists making up 5.8% of the overall practice, and Hispanic dermatologists at 7%, according to a 2019 study.
Today, King is putting a further spotlight on this topic as she joins Tai Beauchamp on BET for a live conversation about how to ensure these communities get the skin-care treatment they need and deserve. “The opportunity to speak to people that look like me excites me,” King tells Vogue. “It will possibly get more people as enthusiastic as I am about educating people on the importance of taking care of your skin, and that skin is your biggest organ and how important it is to protect that.”
“I think it’s a myth that all skin complexions need the same things,” King says. “I would compare it to hair type and how our needs are different there, depending on our textures…[and] the more these conversations happen, the more proper self-care is put on peoples’ radars.” When she was younger, King says she didn’t consider skin-care or dermatology appointments the way she does now.
Today, she likens it like going to the dentist—an important regular commitment. “I’m very much aware of the need to educate and to start a conversation that quite frankly isn’t much of a conversation,” she says.
As her own routine has evolved, King has made a renewed commitment to wellness as well. “Taking baths regularly has been a really good thing for me,” she says of her go-to grounding activity. “I am very into discovering different bath salts and Epsom salts…the whole process of setting up my bath has been very meditative for me too.” She takes joy in running the water, making sure the temperature is just right, and climbing into the tub. “Now sometimes I’ll only do it for 10 minutes, but that 10 minutes is like taking a car to a gas station,” she says. “It’s how I refuel.”
As the second half of 2021’s awards season gets underway, King is also reflecting on the life lessons she’s accumulated up to this point. “I’ve learned that I still don’t have all the answers,” King says. “But one thing I do feel confident about telling my younger self is, you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be, even if it doesn’t feel like it.”