Back in 2009, I had asked if anyone had experienced ashy-faced dolls. What I meant by "ashy-faced dolls" was dolls who seemed to have sprouted powder on their faces. I had had two Mattel fashion dolls with that condition - Fashion Fever Kayla and Cali Girl Lea. (Kayla sold - and yes, I informed the buyer about her "skin problem.") Well, I am pleased to announce now that I know what the problem is. No, the problem is not VDS. Lea has mycelial mat. How can I make that claim? I read pages 58-59 of Nicholas J. Hill's The Definitive Book On The Care And Preservation Of Vinyl Dolls And Action Figures.
First, what is VDS?
VDS is "vinyl deterioration syndrome," a term used by some action figure and/or doll collectors.
However, VDS is a misnomer; the problem is not the vinyl. The problem is fungi want food. The plasticizers in vinyl - under the right conditions, say a room with high humidity - makes good food for fungi. (Think silent lip smacking.) So they attach themselves to our lovely dolls and feast. The white powdery stuff is baby fungi; they gain color as they develop. I think Lea's fungi are still "baby" (stunted) because her face is not thick enough to provide enough nourishment for the mycelial mat to develop.
How did this happen to Lea? I had placed her on top of a 79 1/2" tall IKEA Billy bookcase close to a window. Bad move on my part since that exposed her to more extreme temperature fluctuations and to more humidity than in the rest of the room.
Is treatment available? Yes, it is. Formula 9-1-1 sold by Twin Pines. Have I tried this product? No, not yet. It has received endorsements and positive reviews online and off.
So rest easy knowing there is no VDS looming on the horizon and waiting to devour your figures. And check the recommendations on this page to help keep humidity down in your doll room. Relieved?