Action-packed Acne Survivor:

Will Smith in "I Am Legend"

In “I Am Legend,” a cure for cancer goes awry, killing most of mankind. Will Smith is one of the few remaining survivors. Sometime before the film was shot, Smith appears to have found an effective treatment for his condition, acne.  He is this year’s acne survivor. 


In film after film, Hollywood’s breakout star kept appearing broken out.  His complexion issues were Legendary. In “Ali,” he was KO’d by pimples. 

In “Men in Black,” he was covered in Blackheads. 

He had rows of blemishes in “I, Robot.”  In “Bad Boys” get the picture.

Yet in these high def publicity pics from “I Am Legend,” Smith appears to have healthy pores.  Not a blackhead as he tackles infected zombie vampires.  No inflamed cysts as battles loneliness accompanied by a courageous canine.  How did he kick this disturbingly common condition?  Since he is not our patient, we can only speculate.

Did he undergo a course of the powerful Vitamin A pill, Accutane (Isotretinoin)?  Jessica Simpson proudly reported her success with the prescription.  That is before she was hired to shill for an over-the-counter product in ubiquitous infomercials. Retin-A creams can reduce breakouts, but tend to cause dryness and sun sensitivity.

Many benefit from topical forms of azelaic acid.  Available in the US in prescription forms Azelex cream or Finacea gel, this ingredient can gradually return facial pores to their normal state.  It evens the skin tone, particularly helpful in African Americans like Smith. Yet unlike Retin-A, azelaic acid does not usually dry the skin or increase the risk of sun burns. Retin-A is to be avoided before facial waxing or pregnancy, but azelaic acid is considered safe in those situations. And while the cancer cure in “Legend” had the pesky side effect of turning people into cartwheeling corpses, we are certain that azelaic acid has never shown that risk.
Or did Smith just outgrow his zits?  Adult acne can strike, and just as quickly as our hero lashing out at a grumpy ghoul, it can recede. We can’t be sure about Smith’s situation,  yet we applaud it nonetheless.

Runners-up, Action-packed Acne Survivor:
Keira Knightley, Orlando Bloom, and Johnny Depp

“Pirates of the Caribbean, At World’s End”

These three co-stars have found adult acne their adversary.  Their battle against their blemishes, like their war with magical buccaneers, appears won.

© 1996-2008 Vail Reese M.D.

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