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What are Beauty Marks?

Woman with a beauty mark above her upper lip.
Marilyn Monroe had a famous beauty mark on her cheek.
A close up of a beauty mark.
Article Details
  • Originally Written By: J.Gunsch
  • Revised By: Judith Smith Sullivan
  • Edited By: Sara Z. Potter
  • Images By: Donatellina, 1950Sunlimited, n/a
  • Last Modified Date: 08 April 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
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Beauty marks are small, black or brown, singular moles on the face, neck, or shoulders that have aesthetic appeal. Both men and women can have them, but they are more commonly associated with women. For hundreds of years, facial moles have gone in and out of fashion in various cultures, and they have been so popular that people used cosmetics or adhesive patches to create artificial ones. The size and placement of these marks has also been historically associated with a number of superstitions.

Physical Attributes

Physically, beauty marks are the same as any other mole or nevus. Made up of clusters of pigment under the skin, moles can be as tiny as a pinpoint, and most are smaller than 0.25 inches (6 mm). They may be raised or flat, smooth or hairy. Just like other moles, they have the potential to change over time. In some situations, they can be cancerous and lead to a malignant form of skin cancer called melanoma.

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As Compared to Moles

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

Fashion Trends and Superstitions

People have been creating false beauty spots with make-up and small adhesive patches since the Renaissance Period. During the 18th century, artificial facial moles were immensely popular in France and England, and they were often made in whimsical designs like stars, hearts, and crescent moons. They were typically used to cover up less attractive features, like pimples or scars. A fascination with nevi of all sorts spurred superstitions in Asian and European cultures, which allegedly predicted character traits based on the placement of moles on the body. For instance, some people believe that a mole near the eyebrows represents a strong personality, while others believe that one in the center of the forehead represents creativity.

Artificial Beauty Marks

Artificial moles continue to be popular. Special cosmetics and adhesives are created specifically for temporary beauty spots, but some people also get permanent ones tattooed onto their skin. Others get facial piercings to get the same look, such as a round, metal stud to the right of the mouth, known as “The Marilyn.” People who want a less permanent solution often just draw a temporary beauty mark on with black or brown eye liner.

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Discuss this Article

anon944513
Post 16

I have three beauty marks on the left side of my neck in a shape of a triangle. Does this mean something?

anon352945
Post 15

I have a beauty mark on my right cheek. I used to hate it when I was younger because none of my friends had it and I'd always think only witches had them, so I'd always get insecure.

anon341164
Post 14

I have four beauty dots in a straight line on my left arm leading up to my neck. What does that signify?

I also have eight beauty dots on the same arm, if anyone can help me understand what this means, I would greatly appreciate it.

anon330771
Post 13

I just discovered a tiny (flat) beauty dot in the center of my right brow bone. I didn't notice it a week or so ago. That's weird.

anon310448
Post 12

I have a beauty mark on my left cheek and I get asked a lot whether it's real or fake, though when I was young I didn't like it because it made me look different from the other kids. I love it.

John57
Post 11

I had a friend who had several small moles on her face. Because she had so many of them, I don't think they were considered beauty marks. When she was younger she was teased quite a bit because of all her moles.

She eventually had all of them removed. She had no interest in keeping even one of them as a beauty mark. If I was in her shoes I think I would have done the same thing.

Mykol
Post 10

I know everyone looks at moles a bit differently, but I think I would want to remove a mole that was visible on my face. Instead of seeing this as a beauty mark, I would see it as something that was annoying and would look into how I could remove the mole.

I had a mole on my back that I was born with. Even though this wasn't on my face, it was annoying because sometimes it would start to bleed if clothing rubbed on it the wrong way.

The mole was never suspicious for cancer, but I went ahead and had it removed. That way I never had to worry about it becoming cancerous and I just didn't have to worry about it at all anymore.

LisaLou
Post 9

I have always admired women who have a small facial mole. I really do see these as beauty marks because they are not too big and it is something that is unique and sets them apart.

I would love to have a beauty mark on my face but would never go to the the effort or expense of having a tattoo put on or even using makeup to create a fake mole.

julies
Post 8

@anon231761 -- If the moles on your face look like beauty marks then I would sure consider them beauty marks. It is true that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and what really matters is how you feel about them. I don't think it really matters what other people might think or say, as long as you see them as beauty marks, that is what is important.

tigers88
Post 7

Does anyone have any experience with getting permanent beauty marks tattooed on to them? How did it go? Does the mark still look good as you have aged? I know several other women that have had tattooed cosmetics and most of them seem to regret it.

profess
Post 6

I once knew a girl that had a very small, very faint scar on her face It was so subtle, and in such a place on her face, that I always thought that it added to her beauty. It made her distinct and remarkable. It defined her face and set her apart from others, in the best way possible.

anon231761
Post 5

Is it bad to have two beauty marks on your cheek? They aren't on the exact cheek, their near the side of my head. They fit the description of a beauty mark and I was told they are beauty marks.

pixiedust
Post 4

anon13309 - If it's on your leg, it's just a mole; if it's on your face it's a "beauty mark" -- go figure. They really are just the same thing though.

tellastory - Those are called Monroe piercings or lip piercings or facial piercings though I never got why they were associated with beauty marks since they are silver or some kind of non-mole-like looking thing. I do like how they look though though I've never had the courage to get one myself. But people also get mole tattoos on the face which I guess therefore are really beauty mark tattoos then.

Growing up, I was always teased for my beauty mark. Good thing the Cindy Crawfords and Marilyn Monroes of the world made them something to be desired -- and so much, in fact, that people get them tatted on!

tellastory
Post 3

There is a new trend in piercing. The person's face is pierced in the exact spot of either Madonna or Marilyn Monroe's beauty mark with a small stud earring. It is meant to give the illusion of a real beauty mark. My sister has one and it actually looks convincing if it is done right.

booklife
Post 2

A few other people who were not mentioned that have moles that are considered beauty marks are Cindy Crawford, Elizabeth Taylor and Julia Roberts. However, sometimes moles on the face are not considered attractive. Case in point, Enrique Iglesias had the mole on his right cheek removed in 2003. He stated that his doctor told him that it could later become cancerous so that was the deciding factor to have it removed. I for one think he looks much better!

anon13309
Post 1

is a beauty mark on your leg a beauty mark and does it mean something?

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