What are beauty marks?

Woman with a mole on her upper lip.

Beauty marks are small black or brown spots that are unique to the face, neck, or shoulders and have aesthetic appeal. Both men and women can have them, but they are more commonly associated with women. For hundreds of years, facial moles fell out of fashion in various cultures and became so popular that people used cosmetics or patches to create artificial moles. The size and location of these marks have also been historically associated with a number of superstitions.

physical attributes

A closeup of a beauty mark.

Physically, beauty marks are like any other mole or nevus. Formed by clumps of pigment under the skin, the spots can be as small as the point of a pin, and most are less than 0.25 inches (6 mm). They can be raised or flat, smooth or hairy. Like other moles, they have the potential to change over time. In some situations, they can be cancerous, leading to a malignant form of skin cancer called melanoma.

Compared to moles

Marilyn Monroe had a famous mole on her cheek.

The difference between a beautiful spot and a mole is subjective. Usually, a single wart found on the upper parts of the body and face can be called a beauty mark. Freckles, because they commonly occur in multiples, are not the same thing, even if they are in the same area. Large, irregularly shaped moles are generally not considered aesthetically pleasing and therefore are not beauty marks either. The most attractive ones are usually those that are sized and placed to emphasize and complement other parts of the body, such as the lips, eyes or forehead. Those in the middle of features like the nose or chin may not be considered attractive.

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Fashion trends and superstitions.

A person who notices changes in a mole or beauty mark should make an appointment with a dermatologist.

People have been creating fake beauty spots with makeup and tiny stickers since the Renaissance period. During the 18th century, artificial facial moles were immensely popular in France and England, and were often made in extravagant designs such as stars, hearts, and crescent moons. They were typically used to cover less attractive features such as pimples or scars. The fascination with moles of all kinds spurred superstitions in Asian and European cultures, which supposedly predicted character traits based on the location of moles on the body. For example, some people believe that a wart near the eyebrows represents a strong personality, while others believe that one in the center of the forehead represents creativity.

artificial beauty marks

Beauty marks can be permanently tattooed on the skin.

Artificial moles continue to be popular. Special cosmetics and stickers are created specifically for temporary beauty blemishes, but some people also get permanent blemishes tattooed on their skin. Others get their faces pierced to achieve the same look, such as a round metal stud to the right of their mouth, known as “The Marilyn.” People who want a less permanent solution usually just draw a temporary beauty mark with black or brown eyeliner.

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