Deadpool is one of the fan-favorite characters in the Marvel Universe, gaining popularity after appearing in Deadpool & Deadpool 2. One of his main abilities is healing, even from the nastiest injuries like losing limbs. Still, his skin is completely scarred, so many fans wondered why Deadpool couldn’t heal his skin like the rest of his body?
Before receiving the healing factor, Wade Wilson suffered from a form of cancer. The healing factor made his cells heal, but cancer became unable to die, too. As it destroys his cells, the healing factor creates new ones, and the constant battle makes Deadpool scarred.
The entire thing about Deadpool’s skin, his healing factor, and other abilities is very well explained in the comics. It also explained what would happen if Wade didn’t have cancer and received the healing factor. Let’s dive deep for a full answer on why Deadpool is scarred and unable to heal his skin.
What Happened to Deadpool’s Face?
In Ryan Reynolds’ Deadpool movies, we see that Wade Wilson is covered in scars, almost as if he’d been burned over his entire body. Although he has healing powers strong enough to regrow lost limbs, his skin never seems to recover from the scars.
What is more, he didn’t have those scars on his body and face before the experiments with Weapon X that gave him his healing powers – they came as a direct result of his newfound powers.
The writers of the Deadpool movies emphasized his appearance and made it a big plot point, showing true love between Wade and his partner. She doesn’t care that his appearance isn’t what it once was because she loves him for who he is inside. Also, the “you look like an avocado had sex with an older, more disgusting avocado” quote was a nice comedic relief.
And, while Deadpool can heal from any injury you can imagine – even getting shot to the head – he can never repair his skin alone. Albeit, he eventually got his face and normal skin back in the comics, but we’ll get to that later.
Why Can’t Deadpool Heal His Skin?
While it might seem odd at first, there’s a clear explanation about why Deadpool can heal from every injury imaginable but can’t heal his skin.
Before Wade Wilson became a Weapon X test subject (like Wolverine, whose healing factor he received), he was sick with a form of cancer. But, when he received the healing factor, it didn’t cure him of cancer.
Just like Wade’s normal cells were rendered unable to die and got accelerated healing powers, the cancer cells mutated and became unable to die as well. Instead, the “super-cancer” keeps growing and killing his other cells while the healing factor rapidly heals them back up.
The constant “battle” between the healing factor and cancer in his body is responsible for Deadpool’s appearance. That’s also the reason why Deadpool can’t heal his skin and repair his scars like he can any other injury. He can’t heal himself from cancer, which puts his body at a constant status quo between his cells being killed and new ones being created.
The proof that cancer never left his body lies in Deadpool 2 when Wade receives a collar in prison, which shuts down his mutation. It also shuts down the healing factor, leaving his cancer to progress rapidly and deteriorating his physical state.
The problem remained with Wilson forever in the movies (at least so far), but he solved it in the comics and eventually got his face back.
How Did Deadpool Get His Face Back (in Comics)?
As I mentioned, Deadpool doesn’t get his beautiful face back in the movies, but in the comics, he manages to get his appearance back without losing his powers.
In Deadpool #57, Sabretooth and Deadpool get back into the lab to participate in a renewed and improved Weapon X program. Wilson is unsure about the program at first, but he meets the man in charge of the new program before the tests begin.
The man reassures Wade that the program is safe, and just to show him what it could accomplish, he gives him a small sample of the serum. Soon after, he picks up an ax and chops Deadpool’s arm off. Instead of taking hours, even days, to grow back, his arm reappears within a few seconds.
It amazes Wade, but what amazes him even more is seeing that no scars appear on his newly grown arm. He immediately takes a look in a mirror and sees that all of his scars are gone. However, the effects of the sample last only about an hour, so the man in charge urges Deadpool to participate in the full program.
In Deadpool #58, he does just that and receives the full serum, getting a much faster, stronger healing factor and some other revamped abilities, but most importantly – he got his handsome back.
What Would Happen if Deadpool Didn’t Have Cancer?
Upon learning that the cancer/mutation combination makes Deadpool scarred over his entire body, one might wonder, what would’ve happened if he didn’t have cancer? It would solve his problem, right? Well, not quite.
Through the Deadpool: Secret Invasion (Deadpool Vol. 3 #1-4) storyline, we learn more about the Weapon X healing factor Wade received and what would happen if he, or somebody else without cancer, got his healing factor.
The Weapon X healing factor had been taken from Wolverine and specifically engineered and modified for Wilson. They accounted for the presence of the cancer cells inside his body and engineered the serum to reproduce lost cells that the cancer was killing.
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But, had somebody without cancer take the same serum, it would continue producing replacement cells in their body. Without cancer killing off the excessive cells, the healing factor would produce more cells. Then the new cells would produce even more, and so forth, until the person literally exploded.
We saw that happen in the same storyline because the Skrull scientists tried to clone Deadpool’s blood samples and injected them into Skrulls, trying to create supersoldiers called the Super-Skrulls.
It ended in a disgusting “splorch,” as Wade so vividly describes in the comics. Therefore, although Wilson has a super-cancer, he couldn’t stay alive if he didn’t have it.