Some of film's best known actors reveal examples of dermatology in the cinema. Here, Harrison Ford shows a traumatic scar on his chin. In the third installment of the Indiana Jones' trilogy, director Steven Spielberg incorporated this scar into the film's plot. Actor River Phoenix, playing the young Indiana Jones, cut his chin in the exact same location as Ford's scar. Internet sources confirm that Ford sustained this injury in a car accident. He was supposedly trying to fasten his seatbelt while driving. More recently, Ford's crashed his small plane. Not a particularly Indianan Jones-style maneuver. Guess that's why they call it acting!
Back in the day, no star kept the tabloids and gossip columnists busy like Elizabeth Taylor. What would they have done without her extensive list of affairs, husbands, addictions, and catastrophes. Yet for all her glamor, she was a human being with skills and flaws like anyone else. In a publicity photo for her international smash "Cleopatra," a neck scar is clearly visible.
When the wind pipe is blocked, a surgical incision is made through the skin of the neck to provide air. Called a tracheotomy, this procedure leaves a characteristic scar. In Taylor's case, it was needed during a double pneumonia in 1960. The "trach" saved her life. All the more miraculous is how this 20th century scar ended up on the neck of the ancient Egyptian queen Cleopatra.
Catherine Zeta-Jones projects the Hollywood glamour of yesteryear. Yet even movie star perfection can reveal defects. This Welsh actress is often seen wearing a large necklace or ribbon around her neck, hiding a depressed vertical scar. Was this caused by Zorro's blade? Much like screen siren Elizabeth Taylor, Zeta-Jones has said in interviews the scar is a result of a tracheotomy performed when she was a young girl.
More Starlets with Scar-lets: Ms. Bullock's career went into hyperdrive after her action flick, "Speed." Perhaps too fast--resulting in a scar above her left eye? The cause of this defect is unclear, but it clearly has not slowed her progress at the megaplex. Even O-scar was not put off by her scar. She won the Academy Award for best actress in 2010.
Diane Lane, an outstanding screen beauty, shows a striking facial scar. Likely due to injury (as opposed to surgery), it is visible even in her paean to pre-teen love, "A Little Romance." The presence of all of these scars on A-list stars proves a consistent fact:  Scars are not easy to treat.  Though scar creams are big business, they do little to minimize long standing scarring.
Sharon Stone's dramatic neck scar is one of the largest to be routinely concealed in publicity pics. Reportedly due to a taut cord she ran into while riding horseback.  Surgeons can perform scar revision, cutting around asymmetric defects and realigning a neck scar with facial contours.
Usually, deft makeup artists, talented camera operators and sympathetic lighting designers work to hide celeb scars. Their efforts can conceal scars like that seen on comedian Tina Fey.  Occasionally, however, a shadow is cast, revealing a significant depressed scar. For years, despite media requests, the typically talkative Fey kept silent about the source of the flaw.   In a Vanity Fair piece, Fey’s husband disclosed that when she was five years old, Fey was randomly slashed by a stranger in her front yard.  She avoided discussing the incident for fear that it would seem like exploitation.Yet, Fey's career has not suffered. This scar does little to dim her star power. When you have this much talent, why mess with (im) perfection?
Fashion models make a living as defect-free mannequins.  Padma Lakshmi has had a soaring career despite this signficant arm scar. Lasers have been developed for scar treatments, with mixed results.  This is probably why Lakshmi still displays hers.
Keloids are an extreme form of scarring.  Collagen, the protein that gives skin tensile strength, usually forms a flat bridge after lacerations.  Occasionally, as seen here on actor Benjamin Bratt, the collagen is abnormally overproduced, causing red, raised nodules. Keloids more commonly occur on the chest, especially in people of color. Often itchy and unsightly, they can be thinned with injections of cortisone. Presumably that was the solution for Bratt. Or just do a hell of an acting job and we'll never be the wiser...

Next »
« Back


If you know of examples of skin lesions in films that are not listed, send a "D-mail:"