Children’s films are increasing the stigma around skin conditions because villains are often bald or have scars or wrinkles.

A study found giving the good guys blemish-free skin and bad guys skin problems in animated movies reinforces negative stereotypes, affecting how people feel about their own skin, according to Daily Mail.

The study analysed characters from 50 of the highest-grossing animated films, most of which were made since 2000.

Three quarters of bad characters such as Darla, the cruel dentist’s daughter in Finding Nemo, and Jafar in Aladdin, have skin issues such as freckles or eye bags.


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Good characters like Mr and Mrs Incredible, Rapunzel and Moana, however, are more likely to have perfect skin and only 26 per cent of them have problems.

The scientists also found skin issues on characters who are supposed to look bad but are good on the inside, such as Shrek and Gru in Despicable Me.

They say the portrayal of skin problems in films could distress people who do not live up to the unrealistic ideals.

Some 50 popular animated films were analysed, ranging from 2016’s Moana back to Disney’s 1991 version of Beauty and the Beast.

The researchers published their findings in the British Journal of Dermatology.

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  • It can be a problem. Kids need to know baddies can look normal.

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  • Scary how young these perceptions are fed to kids.

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  • I have lots of scars from a burn that happened when I was 11. I know I’m not a baddie.

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  • Pictures of perfect ‘goodies’ are no good for kids because it presents them with unrealistic goals … pictures of scared and ugly ‘baddies’ is no good because it makes kids think everyone who is disfigured is a baddie …. stop over thinking things and let the kids enjoy the movie. Stop taking their innocence away !

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  • I slightly agree with this that most the bad guys have bad facial features but there has been some flawless characters turn bad or are bad. I’d like to see more films like this to show that it’s not really what you look like that makes you good or bad for Children’s viewing.

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  • What if all the baddies look good, isn’t that just as frightening because then no-one is trustworthy and can cause even more anxiety.

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  • Perceived good and bad in appearance really is in the eye of the beholder. In our household we do not consider Gru or Shrek unappealing or judge them according to skin colour or type. Many characters that might be considered more appealing aesthetically such as Gaston in Beauty in the Beast is actually an unpleasant character. There are many characters that also fit this descriptor and I feel I would like to view the journal for more information. Somewhat intrigued and perplexed by this study.


    • It would be interesting to know what the control group consisted of too?

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  • this is something I have never thought about before. interesting…

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  • That’s a fair enough call. The baddies often have perceived negative features.

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  • So kds develop issues if they are presented with “perfect” images, and issues if they are presented with “imperfect” images – it’s no win.

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  • What a load of rubbish! What about Elsa and three Prince guy from frozen, they don’t have any facial flaws etc!

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  • Oh dear another thing parents have to worry about

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  • Wouldn’t it make it easier for kids to accept their faults and flaws if they’re seen on the big screen?

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