Pregnant Model Chanel Iman Shares What Soothes Her Skin — and Makes Her Feel Beautiful from the Inside Out (Exclusive)
Chanel Iman is opening up about her skin struggles — and how she got her glow back on track.
The model and mom of two (who has another baby on the way!), 32, shares that pregnancy has further sensitized areas of her body, particularly her growing stomach.
“I have dry skin and a very itchy belly. They need lots of hydration and moisture,” she explains. “I also have an uneven tone on my tummy.”
Lucky for Iman, she’s been able to find a solution.
“A lot of the Aveeno products, [such as] the Tone + Texture Lotion, are what I use every day for my skin to feel more nourished. It gets rid of the itchiness, the dryness, and gives me relief so I am able to live my best life,” she shares.
While Iman’s had a relatively easy time soothing her sensitive skin, the mom has agonized over the skin issues her daughters Cali, 5, and Cassie, 3, have faced.
“They were both diagnosed with eczema,” Iman shares. While the condition has subsided for her oldest, for younger daughter Cassie (pictured above with Iman), the “struggle” continues.
“Before we found a solution for her, her skin had been so bad. Her playtime was limited. I had to wash her clothes and her bedding and fragrance-free detergents. She wasn’t sleeping well at night,” the mother adds.
While looking for something fragrance- and steroid-free to soothe Cassie’s skin, Iman discovered Aveeno Baby. “It’s changed her life,” Iman says. “She’s able to be a child again.”
The model mom is grateful for topical products, but says the process to find experts and resources to know what to do and use (and what not to do and use) was a challenge.
“I didn’t have too many issues with my skin until pregnancy, so it’s taken me some time to learn more about how important skin health is. Having a newborn with eczema — it’s something you’re trying to figure out. I went through so many different dermatologists, nobody could help me,” she shares.
Hers is a common problem for Black people. According to Aveeno, which conducted a survey through its SkinVisiblity program that amplifies underdiagnosis of and care of sensitive skin in the Black community, 64% of Black consumers identify as having sensitive skin, but 34% say medical professionals have not been able to identify the root cause. (And 31% have never seen a dermatologist.)
Skin health is “so important for quality of life,” says Jipsha Thakrar, Aveeno Research and Development Manager, and it’s why the brand is using its findings to take action and collaborate with Health In Her HUE, a digital platform that connects people of color to culturally sensitive healthcare providers.
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“I think that’s one of the most challenging things for me as a mother, my daughter’s eczema, and how to treat it and who to go to,” Iman says. “I feel for her a lot, because she really goes through it. Sometimes, she has good moments where she doesn’t have any as many flareups, but then a season will change, and then all of a sudden, she’s just so uncomfortable.”
Iman continues, “I’ve tried a lot of different things, and [now] the program and organization are giving me the resources that I need to learn and educate myself on how and what I should be using for my child, and who I should be going to.”
The organization, focused on health equity, was cofounded by Ashlee Wisdom, who was inspired by her experience working within the healthcare system to launch it.
“My background is in public health. I’ve worked in different healthcare settings. Unfortunately, during my time there, I really realized how our healthcare system was just not designed to meet the needs and to be equitable to women of color,” Wisdom explains, continuing, “That got me really angry. But instead of just sitting in that rage, I was like, what can I build? What can I do to support women of color with navigating a healthcare system that just wasn’t designed for us, but that we have to engage with, because it’s what exists. So, that was really the impetus for me to create something.”
And through her collaboration with Aveeno and Iman, the platform, which has gained traction largely via word of mouth, will reach more people in need. (Aveeno is going to be provide 500 women of color with an annual premium Health In Her HUE membership.)
Wisdom applauds Iman for sharing her story.
“I’m glad that Chanel is being as transparent. When you’re a woman of color, when you Google ‘sensitive skin’ and look for eczema, you’re not seeing imagery that reflects you,” Wisdom says. “Hearing about a very prominent woman of color who is navigating sensitive skin and parenting children who have eczema, I think that that is really important to see, so that they know that they’re not alone in their experiences.”
Now Iman says she “doesn’t play” when it comes to her daughters’ skin. And while the model’s got her skin in check, too, she’s not stressing the idea of bouncing back.
“I accept everything that comes with the process of being pregnant and motherhood — you’re not the same as you used to be when you didn’t have a child. But I have been blessed to find love again, and my fiancé [football player Davon Godchaux, 28] makes me feel very beautiful,” Iman says. “So, I think that helps. Feeling loved, drinking water and taking bubble baths, things like that are exactly what all of us women need in our lives to feel beautiful.”