Honoring epidermal excellence in entertainment.
2006 seemed to be the year of addiction. Alcohol was blamed on anti-Semitic rants and the inappropriate text messaging of Congressional pages.
Anger management was volunteered when a comedian spewed a racist tirade. Appropriately, addiction pops up in this year’s Skinnies. Whether addicted to excess sun exposure, cosmetic treatments, or the overuse of a lice cream, all can be found in the current categories. And so, without further ado, on to the recognition of celebrity dermatology do’s and don’t-even-think-it’s, the 2007 Skinnies Awards!
Pop phenomenon Britney Spears kept the tabloids tittering this year. She had two babies in quick succession, didn’t properly use her son’s car seat, got divorced, and proceeded to party au natural. Here at skinema.com, we have no comment about these indiscretions or the areas of Spears’ skin that were exposed online. Our issue, both for the message it sends to Britney’s babies but also for young adults worldwide: What’s up with the sun tanning? Teen Britney may not have considered the consequences of tanning... ...but now she's got kids to think about.
It may be possible that Spears hasn’t heard that the sun causes premature wrinkling, facial discoloration, and that brawny, leathery look. But recent news items reveal an even darker side to tanning. As these candid photos illustrate, Britney seems to use sunscreen at the beach less often than undergarments at a nightclub. We are not aware of health risks by going without underwear, but exposing skin to ultraviolet radiation sans sufficient SPF? That kind of nakedness deserves an intervention, or more precisely, a SKIN-tervention.
First lady Laura Bush underwent treatment for a squamous cell skin cancer on her leg related to the solar rays she endured in her adolescence in Texas. Though usually not fatal, non-melanoma skin cancers get larger, bleed, and are simply not glamorous. Not to mention that the first lady’s leg still hadn’t healed a month after surgery. First Lady Laura Bush stands with some guy. She's all smiles... ...Despite needing to bandage her skin cancer surgery site.
2006 was also notable for that announcement that the Miss America contestant from Maryland, 21-year-old Brittany Lietz, after a few years of tanning bed addiction, developed a melanoma skin cancer on her back. Now left with an 8 inch scar, she will need close follow up to insure that the cancer doesn’t spread to her lymph nodes and beyond.
So Spears, we’re beggin’ here. We realize your theme song for social lapses is “Oops, I did it again.” For your sake, your children’s sake, and for your fans, slap on a hat, slop on some sun block, and give the rays a rest.
Runner up, too much sun: Jessica Simpson
When one thinks of supermodels, the face of Heidi Klum seems an appropriate example. Symmetric, with large eyes and lips, free of blemishes and deformity, Klum’s features conform to standard criteria for beauty. Advertisers have long used our tendency to gaze at attractive faces to promote products.
It is therefore striking to see billboards with the face of British singer Seal, posing with a wrinkly puppy, in ads for a clothing line. Unlike scarred stars like Brad Pitt and Tina Fey, Seal makes no effort to hide his striking cheek scars. This is especially surprising in the world of computers, where even the most flagrant flaw can be concealed with the wave of a wand (or at least the movement of a mouse).
Seal stops by the Quik E Mart for some beef jerky, accompanied by his wife, model Heidi Klum. While there have long been rumors as to the cause of these cheek craters, they are not the result of a tribal scarification rite. In fact, in the same way that Klum, Seal’s wife and mother of their two children, is the textbook image of beauty, Seal’s appearance is the classic example of a relatively rare condition, discoid lupus erythematosis (DLE). Seal has revealed in interviews that he was afflicted with this syndrome as a teen. A condition where the immune cells attack various body tissues, DLE usually affects young people. Intense inflammation develops in the skin, particularly in sun-exposed areas. If not treated aggressively with sun protection and anti-inflammatory medicines, Seal-style scarring can result. Not only did it cause the cheek scars, but he had significant scalp involvement, causing hair loss. The singer's condition has been in remission for years.
Kudos to the prominently pocked pop star for not letting his skin issues deter from love, success, family, and contributing to the global economy. Runner-up, Proudest pocked pitchman: Nobody!
Look around the mall and it can seem as if everyone’s got a tattoo. Yet if you think the popularity of tattoos in the modern world have reached a historical zenith, think again. Though some have quibbled about the accuracy of actor/director/rehab occupant Mel Gibson’s take on Mayan society in the film "Apocalypto," he got the skin right.
The Mayans took body art to a new level. The piercings, tattoos, and cosmetic scarification the movie depicts transport us to a place where violence was so ingrained in the culture, its results were proudly worn on people’s skin. And changing one's mind was not an option. In the ancient Mayan world, there was no laser removal technology, so a tattoo really was a lifetime commitment. Of course, in a society where losing sports teams were ceremonially sacrificed, lifetimes (and their respective commitments) tended to be significantly shorter.
And today, tattoo treatments don’t have to be as painful as a ritual beheading. Sites can be anesthetized to insure effective fading of tatts without feeling like a jaguar appetizer. Finally, since the wavelengths of laser light match the dark pigments, the remaining skin is unaffected. Tattoos fade, but normal skin color doesn’t. This way, scarification is left to the people that valued it, the ancient Mayans.
Runner up, tattooed social group: Suburban white hip hop wannabes in “Alpha Dog”Sorry Sexyback. Justin Timberlake’s attempt at B-boy body art runs a distant second to the Precolombian playas of “Apocalypto.”
Arnold Schwarzenegger is in the news, Rocky Balboa battles for his life, and a hulking Mohawk-wearing tough guy is emitting snappy one liners from your TV screen. Is it 1982, with the premiere of Arnold’s “Conan the Barbarian,” “Rocky III,” and TV’s “The A Team?”
Nope. Flash forward to 2006 and quirky celebrity Mr. T has graduated from silly 80’s action to his own educational reality show, “I Pity the Fool.” “T” credits much of his newfound desire to inspire from his battle with cancer, an exceedingly rare form of lymphoma known a mycosis fungoides (MF). This condition occurs when cancerous immune cells lodge in the skin. Lymphomas can due to abnormal B or T cells. Not to make light of his situation, but we find it ironic that Mr. “T” developed a lymphoma with cancerous “T” cells.
At first, MF looks like a rash and can be treated with potent anti-inflammatory creams. Mr. T’s case, systemic chemotherapy was necessary for remission. Though it represents an ongoing struggle, the good news is that most of those with MF survive and live regular lives. With Mr. T as a role model, those with MF shouldn’t require any “Pity.”
Mr. T back in the day, when “bling” meant...well it didn’t mean anything back then, come to think of it.
Runners-up, inspirational skin cancer survivorSenator John McCain Melanoma survivor
Bill Clinton Basal cell skin cancer treated on his back
On the silver screen, looks can define a career. It can giveth, taketh away, and in the case of Jackie Earle Haley, giveth again. If this actor’s name doesn’t ring a bell, his iconic face might. As the cocky thuglet who won Tatum O’Neal’s tween heart and took his little league team to new heights in “The Bad News Bears,” Haley portrayed a young punk to admire. His clear complexion and rakish freckles led to further roles in the underdog bicycling flick “Breaking Away” and even starring alongside superstar-to-be Tom Cruise in the naughty comedy “Losin’ It.”
While Haley's career was "Breaking Away," the actor's complexion was breaking out. But while Cruise cruised to leading man status, Haley’s career was derailed by an epidemic adolescent affliction: Acne. During “Breaking Away,” he started breaking out, big time. The flares of inflamed cysts resulted in deep acne scars. This scarring, coupled with premature hair loss, seemed to mark an end to Haley’s big screen acclaim.
Fortunately for Haley, Hollywood also has room for bald, acne-scarred roles. In the drama "Little Children," he doesn't play the romantic lead, but is instead cast as a self-mutilating pedophile. Hey, it's work. Though his character perpetuates the standard skinematic cliché, that bad skin signifies evil, Haley delivers a powerful and well rounded performance. His character is unpleasant, yet still evokes the viewer's sympathy. We will never know how aggressive treatment of Haley’s acne may have altered his career, but in “Little Children,” he rises above his dermatologic defects.
Runner-up, dermatology comeback: Sylvester Stallone as "Rocky Balboa"Rocky 1976, new skin
Rocky 2006, not-so-new skin
The latest James Bond caper pushes its PG-13 status in a scene where blond Bond Daniel Craig is bound naked to a chair. His stereotypically scarred nemesis then proceeds to knot a large rope and whip him in an area that most secret agents would find somewhat sensitive. Bond fans should find this torture technique archaic. Even in 1964, Goldfinger was using lasers to threaten Bond’s nether realm. In “Royale,” Bond’s manly mettle is maintained: despite his pubic punishment, he does not reveal his secret password. Neither shaken nor stirred by the villain’s onslaught, Bond quips that he has an itch and asks that he be whipped again on that side. In "Casino Royale," Bond won't reveal the password to a secret account. He is then stripped and whipped by this friendly fellow.
Jock itch is most often caused by fungus and can be cleared by topical antifungal creams. However, fungus and Bond villains are not the only threats to the crown jewels. Other causes of an itchy groin include yeast, bacteria, psoriasis, and parasites (see below). If male itch persists, dermatologists can skillfully discern the remaining possibilities and usually give relief with the appropriate salve. Knotted rope whips are not considered the standard medical option.