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Author Topic: Pony Cancer or Beauty Marks?  (Read 602 times)

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Offline FarDreamerTopic starter

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Pony Cancer or Beauty Marks?
« on: April 20, 2017, 10:20:46 PM »
Someone in another post replied to a spot of cancer on a pony as a "beauty mark".  I love this.  Maybe we could all start calling them this and change the negative culture around these spots a little?

1:  They are a fungus and will only spread if the humidity where the pony is housed goes above 70%.  Fungus is everywhere and they will show up if the humidity is high regardless of whether or not there are already infected ponies in the herd.  (According to "The definitive book on the care and preservation of vinyl dolls and action figures." by Nicholas J Hill)

2:  These ponies deserve love too!  Having a few marks due to the aging process is natural.

I just really like this term much better.   :heart:
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Offline Leave a Whisper

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Re: Pony Cancer or Beauty Marks?
« Reply #1 on: April 20, 2017, 11:39:49 PM »
I don't care for either term personally. if I may be so blunt, the first term used for that particular flaw , flat out bothers me.

The second isn't a beauty mark anymore then the one on my hand is. In fact, isn't that a sign of something not good?
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Offline lostpony

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Re: Pony Cancer or Beauty Marks?
« Reply #2 on: April 20, 2017, 11:47:40 PM »
I called it a beauty mark, haha. 

Since humidity is mentioned, I want to state here what I've been starting to spread around about humidity.  Humidity in an enclosed space is easily controlled by the use of a safely-mounted incandescent light bulb, the old fashioned kind with the filament like Edison invented, even of a modest wattage, left on all the time.

Please make sure it is solidly mounted in a permanent fixture or in a "droplight" with the wire cage secured well (like hanging from a hook in the ceiling, not laying around) with no materials up close to it as unattended light bulbs which are not solidly mounted and well away from combustibles can be a fire hazard.

This is not my idea:  it's how people who store uninsulated fiberglass sailboats at dock in the ocean keep mold from forming in their boats so it's extremely effective and I have a 75 watt bulb taking good care of my 8x10 foot metal shed which of course had a humidity problem because it's uninsulated.

If the term beauty mark actually catches on it'd be amazing!  Years from now, un-"improved"-by-age ponies will be lack such beauty...just in case, I'm buying all the improved ponies up now before the prices go up!

LaW, I hope any such mark on your hand is benign, have you had it checked?

Offline FarDreamerTopic starter

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Re: Pony Cancer or Beauty Marks?
« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2017, 12:41:18 AM »
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The second isn't a beauty mark anymore then the one on my hand is. In fact, isn't that a sign of something not good?

A beauty mark is a mole or a birthmark.  Technically age spots would be more correct, but beauty mark sounds so much prettier.
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Offline banditpony

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Re: Pony Cancer or Beauty Marks?
« Reply #4 on: April 21, 2017, 01:18:33 AM »
Can we call it what it is? Fungus.

I always thought "cancer" was dark brown splotches, not a raised bump...
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Offline FarDreamerTopic starter

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Re: Pony Cancer or Beauty Marks?
« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2017, 01:36:09 AM »
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I always thought "cancer" was dark brown splotches, not a raised bump...

They get raised bumps sometimes, but I don't know why.  I think those are the more severe cases.  Sometimes the ponies get bumps without the brown spots too.
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Offline banditpony

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Re: Pony Cancer or Beauty Marks?
« Reply #6 on: April 21, 2017, 01:50:44 AM »
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I always thought "cancer" was dark brown splotches, not a raised bump...

They get raised bumps sometimes, but I don't know why.  I think those are the more severe cases.  Sometimes the ponies get bumps without the brown spots too.

So it's the same? It can be multiple colors? Satin n lace's spot looked orange.
But it would be less confusing if people used the right terms. I never knew that the fungus bumps existed, just the splotchy brown spots.
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Offline FarDreamerTopic starter

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Re: Pony Cancer or Beauty Marks?
« Reply #7 on: April 21, 2017, 02:17:23 AM »
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So it's the same? It can be multiple colors? Satin n lace's spot looked orange.
But it would be less confusing if people used the right terms. I never knew that the fungus bumps existed, just the splotchy brown spots.

Oh, I thought it looked brown in the photo (referring to a different topic as we're probably confusing people).  As far as I know, when most collectors refer to "pony cancer" or "age spot" they mean the brown, generally roundish brown spots with or without a bump or darker spot in the middle.  If your spot is orange, it could be regrind as others suggested, but I don't know of regrind that causes a raised bump so I'd still guess fungus.  In the end it doesn't really matter unless you're trying to remove it, although you can't do anything to stop regrind.  There is also a fungus that causes a lot of the pink marks you'll see on ponies.  The pink is actually staining from the fungus' waste.  What people call "smooze" or "pin dot mold" looks like blackheads and can be caused by either a fungus or dirt getting ground into the pores in the vinyl.  There are probably other fungus that may affect vinyl as well.

As far as why people don't just call it fungus, these names developed before collectors knew what caused these issues.  It used to be believed that the brown spots were a break down in the vinyl (I used to believe that too), and many collectors still believe this.  I think it's called "vinyl deterioration syndrome" by doll collectors.

Personally, I like cutesy names for things like "Smooze".  I think "pony cancer" may be insensitive, but I've been collecting for 18 years and that name has been around for a long, long time.  Considering the number of people asking me if the ponies I have for sale have any "cancer", I'm pretty sure it's not going anywhere anytime soon.  There must be some reference to the cartoon we could call it though?
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Offline banditpony

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Re: Pony Cancer or Beauty Marks?
« Reply #8 on: April 21, 2017, 02:30:55 AM »
Oops! My bad. I'm sorry about that. I was thinking "raised spot" and "beauty mark" being pretty similar...

I agree "pony cancer" is very insensitive... I avoid that phrase and just kind of describe it as "brown spots" when selling... but it still would be nice if we just called it what it was now that we know.

btw I think it's so great that you were able to find that info out! Any info on why some ponies are more prone to it?
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Offline Baby Sugarberry

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Re: Pony Cancer or Beauty Marks?
« Reply #9 on: April 21, 2017, 04:07:56 AM »
The problem is compounded by the fact we lump a /lot/ of similar looking issues under one umbrella when they're not all the same.
Spots on ponies have many causes, from deterioration of the original material, to biologicals, environmental, physical damage, etc.  The language stands little chance of improving unless reliable ways of identifying different categories of causation are found. 
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Re: Pony Cancer or Beauty Marks?
« Reply #10 on: April 21, 2017, 10:13:34 AM »
I think I mentioned I thought of them as moles!

From my research I found that they are caused by plastic breakdown. Bromine was used as a fire retardant in the plastic and when it's no longer bonded into the polymer chains it appears as yellow discolouration or brown spots.

However I also noticed that when I've cleaned ponies thoroughly inside and out by removing the head and then drying them thoroughly I see no further spots developing.  This could fit in with the humidity theory.  I like restoring ponies because I can take the head off with no guilt.  NM ponies bother be because I can't remove the head without devaluing them. I prefer being able to clean inside and out using my own methods and then I can expect them to remain more stable. I'd never soak a pony without being able to dry with the head off.  I heard another collector say that they try putting a cotton bud into the legs to check for any remaining humidity before putting the head back on.
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Re: Pony Cancer or Beauty Marks?
« Reply #11 on: April 21, 2017, 10:56:38 AM »
I will put my hand up and say I have never understood the unnecessary pony jargon that comes with marks on the pony's body. It means nothing to me when people talk about pony cancer or such like. The thing about cancer in any case is that it mostly isn't visible and is doing the damage on the inside, so I am with LAW on this. It's an insensitive term but also not a very good one in my opinion.

I wish people just referred to flaws as what they are. If they have fungus, say fungus. If they have ingrained dirt, then say so. Discolouration, say so. Etc. I never saw the need for jargon terms. And honestly, if I've been here almost 20 years and I don't understand half of them, I can only imagine what it is for new collectors coming in and who are too intimidated to ask questions.

I think it's time for a Plain Speak drive on pony flaw conditions in general.

Beauty mark is kind of cute, but I hope nobody would use that on an auction description ;) Especially since some toy lines have actual beauty marks (like Stormer from Jem, for example) and people could get confused.
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Re: Pony Cancer or Beauty Marks?
« Reply #12 on: April 21, 2017, 11:35:24 AM »
I have called it "age spots" ever since. Its a sign of age, so thats what it is, an age spot. Thats not that negative in my opinion, so I myself stick with that :) I never called it "Pony Cancer" because that was too negative in my eyes. But to each their own, as long as I understand what they mean with each term, I dont care what others call it.
"Beauty mark" ... Im not sure... for me personal (dont get it wrong, I dont mean it), its not beautilful for a G1 pony, that has a sentimental value to me to have a brownish/greyish spot in its bright coloured body. I said sentimental value because I personally am collecting partly to remember the old times when I took a brand new pony out of package that was so shiny, so new, so fresh ... you know what I mean? None of them had brownish marks back then, so for me its just no beauty mark. A spot on human skin, which is called beauty mark, is a whole other thing for me.

I really dont mean it, its a nice idea and I appreciate that you share it with us :) Its just not for me, I hope its ok so say that <3 No harm intended!
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Offline FarDreamerTopic starter

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Re: Pony Cancer or Beauty Marks?
« Reply #13 on: April 21, 2017, 03:05:18 PM »
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btw I think it's so great that you were able to find that info out! Any info on why some ponies are more prone to it?

According to the book (which was written by a scientist who specializes in plastics, so I feel pretty confident passing along the info).

- fungus likes to have a surface it can cling to, porous vinyl is perfect for this
- fungus likes to feed off of plasticizer
- if the humidity is too high the items in the area will take a fungal hit, whether or not an item in the area already has the spots

Since some ponies are more prone to plasticizer leakage (it has to do with the way the vinyl was formulated, some toys got the mix right and others didn't), it would make sense that if those are stored where the conditions are right, they would be more prone having the spots show up.
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Offline orangepeachmango

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Re: Pony Cancer or Beauty Marks?
« Reply #14 on: April 21, 2017, 03:21:13 PM »
I always thought the term came from the superstition that it could be spread from pony to pony, similar to how people tend to think real cancer is contagious.

I don't really have an opinion one way or another about calling it cancer. Skin cancer shows on human skin as brown blotches. So does pony cancer. Human cancer is an infection, so is pony cancer. It just is what it is at this point. As soon as a name has stuck, it's pretty hard to sway an entire community to call it something else.
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