Lifetime Achievement Award:

Kim Kardashian

We had every intention of getting through this edition of the Skinnies with nary a mention of the princess of reality TV, Kim Kardashian.  Her dramatic bout of psoriasis resulted in an award just last year and we assumed that her 15 minutes of problem skin were up. But in December 2012, KK Kame from behind with a crusted lip lesion and nailed the rarely bestowed “Skinnies Lifetime Achievement” award for notable and significant dermatology findings in a celebrity. Kardashian joins a distinguished few: Nicole Kidman, Britney and The Beauty Mark. Though Kim is young, this award was inevitable.  When your skin is on view as often, and as extensively, as Kardashian’s, any blemish ends up online. 

For the record, here are the skin issues displayed by Kim Kardashian to date:



Psoriasis is typically hidden in celeb publicity pics. So it was noteworthy when Kim’s epidermis erupted with the so-called guttate pattern in 2011.  Surrounded by reality show film crews, there was no turning back.  A non-infectious inflammatory condition brought on by stress and dry skin, psoriasis runs in her family, affecting her mother as well.  This form of psoriasis is typically the most responsive to treatment such as phototherapy or topical steroid creams.  She managed to clear her skin before her prime time TV special, known to non-celebs as a wedding.  While her marriage was (extremely) short lived, she is at risk of further psoriatic flares in the future.


Last month, celeb web sites went gaga (KaKa?) when Kim stepped off a plane with an apparent cold sore.  The herpes virus lies in wait in the spinal nerves and makes its appearance at times of stress and sun exposure.  Pills like Valtrex (valacyclovir) can speed healing and prevent flares. 

Herpes is Kontagious. Current research should lead to new treatments in the near future.  Cures for craving media attention are sadly non-existent.


Yet another drama arose when paparazzi recorded this neck lesion.  Bloggers blah-gged, Tweeters twitted.  Could this irritation represent the return of psoriasis?  How about ringworm (a sketchy fungal infection)?  We are surprised that an Anthrax diagnosis wasn’t bandied about.  Nah, it’s just a “love bite,” commonly referred to as a hickey.  Caused by amorous nibbling on the skin, it might be embarrassing, but not an emergency.  Since hickeys heal without scarring, thank goodness the photos caught it before its expiration date.


For many adults, persistent pimples are part of their public presentation.  Many women achieve control through the use of birth control pills, their pores pleased with a regulated hormone balance. Topical creams with Retin-A and benzoyl peroxide can also keep the skin clear for further product endorsement. 


Sun protection limits the risk of skin Kancer and wrinkles over a lifetime.  Occasionally, even the most diligent of us may miss a spot, sustaining a burn.  While not ideal, this reminds us of how sunscreens in general provide protection.  Few of us would do what comes naturally to Kardashian, which is to post the image of her error.  While preventing sunburns is paramount, anti-inflammatory treatments like ice, cortisone creams and ibuprofen can speed healing and limit damage.



After a magazine ran a Kardashian photo shoot, leaked images revealed a shocking development: the published images had been altered, erasing Kim’s cellulite.  Cellulite is a common malady for which the best treatment is…using a computer to erase its appearance!  To Kardashian’s Kredit, she blogged: “So what: I have a little cellulite. What curvy girl doesn’t!?  How many people do you think are photoshopped? It happens all the time!  I’m proud of my body and my curves and this picture coming out is probably helpful for everyone to see that just because I am on the cover of a magazine doesn’t mean I’m perfect.” It is exactly that self awareness and determination (along with problem skin) that got her to today.


Recent reports indicate that Kardashian is pregnant with boyfriend Kanye West’s love child.  Will she develop stretch marks, facial discoloration (melasma), that dark line in the middle of the belly (linea nigra) or itchy pregnancy rash?  If so, stay tuned to next years Skinnies, whether we like it or not!

Runner up:  Lifetime Achievement Award:

Halle Berry in “Cloud Atlas”

Berry as an actor seems free of problem skin.  In “Cloud Atlas”, the least seen epic with the most skin lesions, she plays several characters over just as many centuries:

Tribal tattoos
Futuristic epidermal cell phone implants
Male pattern hair loss!

Since Berry’s roles represent reincarnation, perhaps her category should be “Lifetimes Achievement Award.”

© 1996-2013 Vail Reese M.D.

Dr. Reese's office