Skinema X-amines the X-Men:

X marks the spot!

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Not since acne-ridden hobbits tackled orcs in desperate need of a facial in "The Lord of the Rings" have so many skin and hair conditions been seen in a celluloid series. The "X-Men" franchise follows the exploits of good and evil mutants as they battle to save the world from anti-mutant prejudice. Many of the characters' genetic mutations have resulted in epidermal aberrations. On both sides of the moral watershed, there are enough findings in the "X-Men" to keep a skin clinic in HMO heaven. Onto the X-pose...

Hair-raising action:



Professor X's logical dome

Wolverine's manly beard 

Sabertooth's beastly fur 

Many films cast a hairless character as the heavy. Not so the "X-Men." This groups' fearless leader Professor X shines, both with his strong ethics and by reflecting light from his (Mr.) Clean scalp. Instead, this series exploits the opposite stereotype: the hairier, the less predictable, more dangerous, more evil. Professor X's bald head and clean shaven look reflect his logic and control. Heroic Wolverine is about mid-level on the furry scale and though a good guy, can be prone to violent emotional outbursts. Sabertooth registers as a hairy heavyweight. His look embodies the essence of animalism--he kills without question or compassion. The interesting question is whether some laser hair removal treatments would improve Sabertooth's disposition--maybe discounts can be arranged for mutants...

Evil Toad: Warts and all.

Evil Magneto's lackey Toad has a lot to be angry about. Not only is he ostracized for being a mutant (Don't you hate when that happens?), but he also has warts. Warts are caused by strains of the human papilloma virus infecting specific areas of the skin. A variety of destructive methods are available to treat warts. The US FDA is evaluating a vaccine to stymie the strains that can lead to most forms of cervical cancer. Without a vaccine, freezing treatments can stimulate an immune response. For many, warts clear when the body's immune system recognizes the presence of the virus. This can be a slow process, taking nearly as long as it takes for Hollywood to crank out enough sequels to overwhelm even the most rabid comic book fan.

The Beast and Nightcrawler have got the blues.
Incredibly, certain conditions can make a human's skin as blue as Nightcrawler or the Beast. Common antibiotics like minocycline and chloroquine can cause blue brown patches, but only if taken for long periods of time. Another culprit is exposure to silver contaminants. Addison's disease is when the body fails to produce normal amounts of the hormone cortisol. In addition to physical weakness, the skin tone can turn bluish grey. And Kermit the Frog thought he had it bad.

Storm and Rogue discuss a cure for their hair color.
Meanwhile, Taylor Hicks stays a groovy gray.
Compared to blue hair, the color white is perhaps more acceptable, especially in the frontal scalp. This so-called white forelock is modeled by a Anna Paquin as Rogue. Unlike white patches in the skin itself, this look appears rather stylish. When white hair covers the entire scalp, as in Storm's case, it is known as poliosis. This be seen as a normal sign of aging, and in conditions such as vitiligo and albinism. Hair follicles cease producing the hair pigment, resulting in white (not gray) color. The theme of "X-Men 3: The Last Stand" is whether mutants should want to be "cured." Storm and Rogue's hair need no genetic treatment, though organic hair dyes would work fine.
But they seem to share the sentiment of the "soul patrol." American Idol winner Taylor Hicks remains true to his premature graying and awkward funkiness . We are not aware of super mutant powers in his case, though he plays a mean harmonica.

Actress Rebecca Romijn comes in many flavors: regular,

Blue and scaly in the "X-Men"...

...Scarred in "Rollerball"...

 ...And seriously unshaven in "Dirty work."

Back on the dark side we have Mystique, the shape-shifting evil mutant portrayed by supermodel Rebecca Romijn. This casting makes even the skinema crew cry out "Wahzzap?" Why cast a looker like Romijn? With all the overlaid makeup, C3P0 from the "Star Wars" saga could have done just as well, and he works for peanuts (and occasional WD-40)!  This celebrity continues to carve out her own niche: Extremely attractive actress whose characters cry for an extreme makeover. Whether blue and scaly in "X-men," heroically scarred in "Rollerball,"  or hirsute in the comedy "Dirty Work," she seems determined not to be another pretty face.  Maybe she's going for the unglamorous look that earned Charlize Theron an Oscar.  While Romijn sits for hours in the makeup chair, some gaffer needs to clue her in.  Summer superhero flicks and the Academy Awards mix about as well as good and evil mutants.

As Deathstrike, Kelly Hu has nails to die for.

Got a nail problem? Dermatologists usually can help. Over time, nails can become dry and brittle. They can be affected by systemic condition including psoriasis. Finally, finger nails fall victim to fungal infections and just plain old nail biting. Treatments, when effective, can take months. So many would kill to have the long strong nails of Deathstrike. Unfortunately, she will kill to keep them. As an added benefit, these lengthy nails would provide a disincentive for nose picking. Not that we would disclose Hu is picking her nose. That is, who is picking her nose. Whew!

Facial tattoo



Calisto is not the first fighter to feature a facial tatt.

Check out Mike Tyson lookin' fierce.

Calisto is evil. How do we know? That mean spirited glint in her eye? The dog collar she sports? No, merely because of her choice for cheek ornamentation in the form of a facial tattoo. Though tattoos are entering a second decade of widespread interest and acceptance, facial tattoos remain limited to movie characters and boxers with waning careers. There remains a stigma about facial and finger tatts, which also happen to be the areas where concealment is impossible. Fortunately, treatments remain for those who opt for semipermanent body art: laser removal. And when considering laser intervention, why not consult the guy who has a unique perspective on laser energy: Cyclops himself.

Laser treatments

Laser lensed Cyclops can be cool...
...or hot!

Cyclops' abilities in most settings would be a serious liability. Having destructive laser beams erupt from one's eyeballs would usually limit occupational choices. Yet if he becomes bored battling bad guys, Cyclops could develop a dermatology career. Skin doctors now routinely use laser devices for the precise and effective treatment of a variety of disorders. Depending on the color of the lesion, there can be laser wavelengths to match. Initially, lasers were used to treat tattoos like the one on Calisto's cheek. Now laser light can therapeutically reduce facial blood vessels, sun spots, dark hair, certain benign lesions, and some forms of wrinkling and scarring.

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