Tia Mowry Says Her Eczema Was Misdiagnosed: 'It's Prominent Within the African American Community'

"It was overwhelming, especially being in the public eye, like how do you deal with this?” Mowry tells PEOPLE about her eczema going undiagnosed for years

Tia Mowry, Aveeno
Photo: Michael Simon

Tia Mowry is getting candid about her eczema.

In honor of Eczema Awareness Month, the actress shared her story with PEOPLE in hopes of raising awareness for those who might be suffering from eczema without getting properly diagnosed.

"Eczema is definitely a chronic condition that's very prominent within the African American community but unfortunately, there's a huge percentage of people suffering with eczema and it actually goes underdiagnosed," she tells PEOPLE exclusively. "And that happens to be a part of my story. I'm definitely a part of that percentage."

Mowry was diagnosed with eczema when she was in her 20s but says her journey actually began when she was a child, seeing her mother — and later herself — suffer from it without knowing what the condition was.

"When I was young, I had these round spots on my back on my arms, and they were raised and they were itchy," Mowry reveals. "But when my mother would take me to the pediatrician, the doctor told us they were sunspots… and that was definitely not what I had."

Tia Mowry
Paul Archuleta/Getty

She says the beauty industry is lacking when it comes to Black skin health, noting, "Where there's lack of visibility, there was no information, there were no educational tools, there were no resources. So, we didn't really know how to identify eczema on our skin tones."

Following her diagnosis, the actress says she "felt alone" because she didn't know anyone else going through the same thing, specifically another person of color.

"It was overwhelming, especially being in the public eye, like how do you deal with this?" the Tia Mowry's Quick Fix host says.

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After sharing her story, Mowry partnered with Aveeno not only to find relief for her eczema but for the company's #SkinVisibility campaign, which raises awareness of the underdiagnosis of eczema for African Americans and works to increase visibility for the community in the beauty industry.

"I feel like that's why I'm extremely passionate about representation and why it is so important. When you see someone that resonates with you, or that looks like you, it makes a huge impact," Mowry adds. "And so when there is no visibility — when you, as a community, are not being included in marketing and advertising, you feel not included."

Tia Mowry "How I Parent"
Tia Mowry-Hardrict and her kids. Jack Strutz

The former Sister, Sister star says her new found knowledge has even allowed her to take better care of her children — daughter Cairo Tiahna, 3, and son Cree Taylor, 10 — who also suffer from eczema.

Mowry explains that she was shocked to learn that the condition can be triggered by certain things and she's realized what works best for herself compared to Cairo and Cree. She shares that for her, once she changed aspects of her diet, she "saw a huge shift and a change with my flare ups."

2020 13th Annual ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon
Cory Hardrict and Tia Mowry-Hardrict. Stewart Cook/Variety/Shutterstock

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But she attributes her progress with her skin health to her "amazing" husband and the people in her corner.

"Support, I feel like, is the most important thing and to be able to have someone to talk to," Mowry tells PEOPLE. "I didn't know many people besides my mother that were suffering from eczema and not too many people were talking about it. So it was really nice to have that built-in support from my husband."

"You're not alone," she ensures those struggling with skin health like her. "There are many sufferers out there who are going through the same thing that you're going through… at the end of the day, that's what this is all about."

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