Most Skinematic Presidential Race:
Obama Vs. McCain '08

Some say that eyes are the windows into a man's soul. Is our skin a measure of our character? In the campaign for the American Presidency, there was a transformational amount of skin issues to be found...
John McCain's melanoma (s):
If John McCain were elected, he would not have been the first American president to have skin cancer. Ronald Reagan had one excised from his nose while in office. Bill Clinton had a similar lesion scraped from his back even as he was running from the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Yet Clinton's and Reagan's skin cancers were basal cell or non-melanoma in nature. Definitely worth treating, but nothing life threatening. Note: The dark lesion seen here is not a melanoma, but probably a benign lesion called a keratosis.
John McCain, either because of his time in a Viet Nam prison camp (hadn't you heard?), or time spent in an Arizona swimming pool, developed for melanoma. Four of them. And, it was revealed in the heat of the race, one of them may have been more aggressive than was previously reported.
Melanoma, when surgically removed early, can be fully treatable. But when this dark black cancer metastasizes and goes to lymph nodes and other organs, most chemotherapies, radiation, and immune therapies come up short. So it was not unreasonable for the media to request a fuller disclosure of McCain's actual prognosis. Especially when his potential successor...

...was revealed to use tanning beds.
The 2008 US Presidential campaign had plenty of notable news items, many of them generated by perky Alaskan Gov. turned VP candidate Sarah Palin. Yet among the moose hunting, child rearing, and trooper gating anecdotes, one bit of trivia went relatively unnoticed. It was revealed that last year, Palin had a tanning bed installed in the Alaska Governor's mansion. Supposedly it was bought used and paid for by the Palin's. But unlike Sarah the Governor's wardrobe shopping spree, the cost of the unit and installation is not what worries us. While some use tanning beds attempting to limit the depressive symptoms caused by a sun-free Alaskan winter, is it really worth the risk to the skin?

Before Palin attempts to brown her skin or end up with a red burn (possible in supposedly "safe" devices), we'd suggest she look into the data showing increased melanoma skin cancer rates in women using tanning beds. Perhaps a chat with former running mate John McCain would steer her straight. We recommend dietary sources of vitamin D like fortified milk, soy drinks, fish and egg yolks. And as for tanning, we suggest Sarah keep the "pale" in Palin: Just Say No!
Barack Obama's facial bumps
During the campaign, some voiced concerns about the level of experience shown by Senator Barack Obama. Did he have the maturity to handle the role of Commander in Chief? At, we don't pretend to be politically savvy. But in dermatology, we know age like the back of our hand (D'Oh! Is that a sun spot?)
Note the small dark bumps on Obama's cheeks. These lesions are known as DPN's, short for dermatosis papulosa nigra. These non-cancerous lesions are not due to diet, healthy or otherwise. The sun, even the intense solar radiation that Obama was exposed to growing up in Hawaii, is not the culprit either. Seen more often in people of color, these discrete dots are a marker for maturity, age, or to put it nicely...experience.

Can skin doctors remove these spots, enact this change? Yes, we can. Treatment requires lightly zapping the lesions with a low strength cauterizing device. Lasers can also be used to transform a transformative politician. We presume Obama has other items on his to-do list. So from a skin perspective, we can confirm: Obama has experience to spare.
Finally, did VP Elect Joseph Biden have a hair transplant like last year's Skinnies winner Nicolas Cage? Clearly, the dermatologic focus of the new administration will continue...

Runner-up, Skinematic Presidential Race:
George W. Bush Vs. John Kerry 2004: The Battle of the Ginormous Unibrows

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