History of Black Bandages
If you’ve ever walked into a store looking for a package of black bandages to match your skin tone, you may have been disappointed with the selection of Band-Aids. There seems to be a plethora of boxes filled with bright neon strips, popular cartoon characters, sheer adhesive options with a light tan center as well as so-called “flesh-colored” Band-Aids.
However, for nearly a century those “flesh-colored” Band-Aids have meant only one color: soft pink.
In fact, if you’ve needed a Band-Aid that matched your skin tone and your flesh is anything but a variation of that soft-pink hue, you probably haven’t had much luck finding one. Until now, that is.
Almost 100 years after the first Band-Aids hit the market in America, we decided to invent our own bandages to match a variety of skin tones. Hey, better late than never, right?
At Tru-Colour Bandages, we believe healing should be inclusive of all races and ethnicities. That’s why we designed our bandages in multiple shades.
It hasn’t been a quick road for black bandages to hit the shelves of your favorite retail department store (thanks, Target!) or the world’s largest online retailer (we’re talking about you, Amazon!).
Interestingly enough, the same holds true for some of the most popular cosmetics companies, too.
In fact, well-known brands like Cover Girl only began offering darker shades of make-up in the early 2000s.
Around the same time, bandages designed for people of color started popping up in Walmart and Rite Aid stores across the country. They were called Ebon-Aide bandages. Packaged in an orange box, Ebon-Aides were available in multiple shades.
Unfortunately, the Ebon-Aide bandages disappeared almost as quickly as they showed up after the owner, Michael Panayiotis, cited a loss of revenue.
Additionally, big-chain retailers have really just begun expanding their hair and skin care aisles to be more inclusive of Black hair and skin care products.
Now, almost a century after the original “flesh-colored” Band-Aids were introduced to American consumers, you can walk into Target and find a bandage for a papercut or scrape that matches your skin tone.
It's taken me 45 trips around the sun, but for the first time in my life I know what it feels like to have a "band-aid" in my own skin tone. You can barely even spot it in the first image. For real I'm holding back tears. pic.twitter.com/GZR7hRBkJf— Dominique Apollon (@ApollonTweets) April 19, 2019
Take this story for instance: Dominique Apollon is a 45-year-old African American. He heads up research at Race Forward, an organization that analyzes and creates action steps for people to take toward racial equity.
Apollon says he bought Tru-Colour bandages as an afterthought to use up money from his health savings account. However, what he discovered was so much more.
When he shared photos of his hands with bandages that matched his skin tone, his photo and message went viral.
“It's taken me 45 trips around the sun, but for the first time in my life I know what it feels like to have a "band-aid" in my own skin tone. You can barely even spot it in the first image. For real I'm holding back tears.”
His tweet garnered more than half a million likes within four days. It was shared more than 100,000 times across the world. Many people admitted they hadn’t even given the standard packages of soft-pink Band-Aids a second thought.
One person said, “I provide Band-Aids for my kids, and this never occurred to my privileged white self.”
Another said she was ordering a mixed package for her First Aid kit.
Apollon’s Twitter thread continued: “I definitely didn't expect the complex emotions that would swirl as I watched it just ... blend in. This felt like belonging. Like feeling valued. Sadness for my younger self and millions of kids of color, esp black kids. Like a reminder of countless spaces where my skin is still not welcomed...”
In an article he later published about his viral experience discovering Tru-Colour Bandages, Apollon summed up our mission well.
“I felt seen. I felt cared for. I felt valued.”
When did you discover Tru-Colour Bandages? What was it like when you put on a bandage that matched your skin tone? Share your experience in the comments below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.