About: Skinema.com, the dermatology in the cinema web site.

"Gross, but great"--Entertainment Weekly Hot List

"Never before have dermatology and movie trivia been combined with such clarity and vision."--Newsweek

"Now this was fun. Let me state this unequivocally: This is my favorite movie site on the Web."

Film critic Gene Siskel

In the early 1990's, Dr. Vail Reese was in the midst of his dermatology residency at Brown University, in Providence Rhode Island. A lifelong film fan, his visits to the multiplex gradually became a different experience. Seeing movies with the eyes of a dermatologist Dr. Reese began to explore the intersection between skin and celluloid. In early 1996, he uploaded images to an intriguing new media: the internet. Skinema.com, the site devoted to skin conditions in movies, was born. Interest in the content has been far reaching. It has been featured in People Magazine, US Weekly, InStyle, Allure, Movieline, CNN, MSNBC, Page Six, & Tech TV. Skinema.com was awarded Best Website, AMA International Medical Film competition.

A non-profit venture, skinema.com is dedicated to revealing actual state of Hollywood's epidermis, not the soft focused fantasy of flawless film skin. The site features pictures of performers, as well as evil and sympathetic characters with problem skin. None of the individuals featured on the site are patients of Dr. Reese. The images are publicity photos, not clinical photos taken in a medical office.

In 1997, the initial Skinnies Awards ceremony was hosted. This yearly event showcases the notable celebrity skin issues from the previous year. Winners include a lifetime achievement award for proudly fair-skinned actress Nicole Kidman, and sunscreen poster boy for Wilson the volleyball from "Castaway."

What is Dr. Reese up to? Here is his take on the moral of this site's story:

With any good movie, you leave the theater with a message. While three categories of cinematic skin conditions (actors, evil, realism) seem unrelated, they tell us something about our culture. Actors with skin conditions serve as examples that skin lesions can happen to anyone and can often be treated. The majority of films use skin disease to convey a character's devious motivations. Finally, very few films depict characters with skin disease sympathetically. We must remember that the attitude towards skin disease in movies to some extent both reflects and informs the perceptions of our society. Even today, individuals with non-infectious diseases such as psoriasis and vitiligo are treated as if they have the plague. People can become isolated and depressed due to their own withdrawal and exclusion by others. Psoriasis patients have been shown to have symptoms of depression and are more prone to consider suicide. Skin disease does not represent inherent evil, but rather a difficult and at times disabling condition. Films such as "Mask" and "Philadelphia" can be used to remind us of the ostracization that can result from skin disease.

Roll credits!

Written, directed, and produced by

Vail Reese, MD

Costumes Clare G. Willis
Best Boys Devin Willis Reese & Cameron Willis Reese
Gaffer Mocha Willis
HTML Software GoLive by Adobe
Cinematic database The Internet Movie Database
Skinematography Photoshop by Adobe
Music Nick Peace, Million Dollar Dream Studios
Clinical correlation Union Square Dermatology
Studio CEO Carlo Vennarucci
Women in the World coordinator Lyn Reese

 No human nor animal skin was harmed in the making of this website.


© 1996-2008 Vail Reese MD

Union Square Dermatology