Can we talk about birthmarks?

Updated Oct 12 2015
Yep, that's a birth mark.
Yep, that's a birth mark.
I have a birthmark.

As the name suggests, it's always been there. This red mark between my lip and my left nostril, a permanent wound needing to be kissed. Apparently, when I was born, my mother thought it was cute. My aunt commented that I would surely hate it.

I don't, really. I usually forget it's there.

I was teased for it a couple times: once in 7th grade a boy named Ben pointed and asked sarcastically, "What's THAT?!" He shouldn't really have poked fun though, because he had a birthmark on HIS lip, one that made it look like a small bruise. I merely pointed back at him and said, "I don't know…what's that!?" Perhaps he wasn't being sarcastic. Maybe we could have been birthmarked lip friends, two 12-year-olds with our scarlet "A"s on our faces.

Little known secret: the birthmark goes all the way through my lip. It appears on the inside, as well.

The few times I've been on television, I always tell the makeup artists, "It's a birthmark, it doesn't hurt." They always look relieved and spackle over it with foundation.

Once when I volunteered with a 2nd grade class, one of the kids asked me, "What happened to your lip? Did you bump it with a hula hoop?"

"It's a birthmark," I answered.

"Oh." I could tell he was disappointed. "You didn't bump it when you were hula hooping?" I told him that no, it'd been there since I was born. Not nearly as interesting.

Sometimes it seems redder than usual. Perhaps it's my own self-consciousness barometer.

But most of the time, I don't see it.

New friends will gently ask what that is on my lip, and I'll stop and say, "On my lip? I don't know! Is my lipstick smeared? Is it food!? Ack! Is there something in my teeth?!" Then they feel all bad about it and I realize that no, it's just the birthmark.

As a holder of a birthmark, I find myself fascinated by other people's birthmarks. Do you flaunt it? Cover it? Explain it over and over again? Tell me everything, Homies.

  1. I don't have a visible birthmark and I felt left out when I was a kid. My brothers have moles on their shoulders or necks; I have one on my butt.

    • I have a butt birthmark, too! My husband makes fun of it sometimes but mostly he's too distracted because my butt is awesome.

    • I have a birthmark on my butt, too! I have always been a bit self-conscious about it, but knowing that other women have them makes me feel better about it. πŸ™‚

  2. I have a brown patch birthmark on the back of my thigh.
    As a baby wearing bulky cloth nappies that reached down to almost my knees my mum often thought it was a poo stain!!!!

    • HA! My boyfriend has a big brown birthmark really high up on the back of his thigh, and it looks kind of splattery.
      It catches my eye sometimes and I have a little moment of D: before remembering–oh yeah, just skin. Even he calls it his poo stain, though. Haha

      I have one high on the front of my thigh that my mom took me to the doctor for once because it got bigger and darker as I was "becoming a woman". The doctor was certain it wasn't a bad spot, so on it goes.
      I was also born with a red patch all over the bottom of one of my feet, but it's faded almost completely.

    • My husband has a darker mark all across the right side of his chest – his mom developed the same thing on her leg as a child (but wasn't born with it, interesting). Apparently when she found out, her mother kept trying to scrub it off one thinking it was dirt.

    • Mine is exactly the same (color and location)! I always get self-conscious wearing swimsuits, since I've had people tell m (trying to be polite an discrete) that I have something on my thigh… Gah.

  3. I have one by my knee. In my babysitting years the kids would poke it like a button and I'd go "Boop!" which was fun the first time or two, less fun the fiftieth.

    I like that the one kid you talked to really wanted it to be hula hoop related.

    • I have one on my knee as well! It's perfectly round and located in the dip of my kneecap. When I was a kid I'd pretend my leg was an elephant.

  4. My husband has the most beautiful reddish birthmark across his chest/arm/part of his back. It looks like a map of mysterious continents. And it goes purple if he's cold!

  5. I flaunt my birthmarks. If the opportunity presents itself organically I proudly point it out. "Check out this heart shaped mark on my hip! I'm a Care Bear!" or "See this spot up here? It's a birthmark. Doesn't it look like I got smacked upside the head?" See? Even online I'm still bragging about it.

    But I think that pride has a lot to do with my overall relationship with my skin. I'm ghostly pale and have several moles on my body. Since I was a very young girl my grandmother, the literal and metaphorical source of my GAD, has warned me about cancer. Heck, a LOT of people felt like they could comment on my skin and they talked about the things that made me afraid or unhappy. So I hated my moles, covered everything up, and wished I could be tan like everyone else (I don't burn actually, but fear stopped me). Birthmarks were the only thing positive for a while.

    Thankfully I've reached a point where I think of my paleness, moles, and scars like my birthmarks. They're cool things to show off when I get the chance. For example, on my neck I had two moles that looked like scabs from vampire fangs. As a kid I cried at the idea of losing something so weird and unique or that they might actually be dangerous. But now the scars look like I wrestled away from the vampire. Add a little fake blood and built in Halloween costume, baby!

    • I have no birth marks, but I have so. many. moles (maybe some present since birth, but I don't really know). I really don't like them (and yes of course I go to a dermatologist to check if there is anything strange going on with many of them, so far all is good), and I hate it when I find a new one. I have them all up and down my arms, primarily, and every once in a while new ones will show up other places too. A set of them on my left arm looks a bit like the Big Dipper constellation, but I still don't like it. I suppose I should learn to like them and/or not care. But I'm still learning.

      • Same here: no birthmarks, lots of moles. I've always liked mine. Sometimes when bored I'd color all of them with ink and pretend they were stars of constellations. I call them my leopard spots. πŸ™‚

        Now skin tags on the other hand, NOT a fan! I've often thought, "Would it be so bad if I just stretched them out and sliced them off myself?" But then I realize that could result in some interesting questions at the ER if there was significant bleeding…

        • Not that you have to do anything about them, but have you considered tying a string around them to make them fall off. I know the internet doesn't necessarily recommend it, but my mom's done it for years and it requires less blood loss and health insurance.

          • I've done this with small ones, & it always turns out fine. Use waxed dental floss, as it's wider, stronger, & hurts less than regular thread.

        • I inadvertently got rid of a skin tag on my neck when a hair got wrapped around it as a teenager. I've had a few others, most notably on either breast under my arm (yes, I know that sounds weird but hey, it's the weird-ish shape of my breasts!) that over the years have just disappeared. Lots of moles, especially on my upper arms. I *do* technically have a birthmark, it's just not visible:it's on my scalp, and my hair covers it. I do have a small mark on my belly where I was stung by a wasp when I was 12 or 13 that kinda looks like one, though.

        • Your mole coloring reminded me of something I considered doing with my moles, but using different colors would just help me keep track of them! I've tried to count them, but I give up after about 30.

    • It's amazing how the way our bodies are presented to us as children influence how we see them. I'm also very pale and covered with moles, but my mother told me I had lovely porcelain skin, like my grandmothers and the older sister I adored. So it was always a positive.

      As for birthmarks, I have two little ones next to each other above my left knee. One of my earliest memories is trying to wash the dirt off. I have two little moles in the same place above my right knee, which is nifty. Vampire bites sound even better!

    • Ohmigod Claire. You could totally be Marceline from Adventure Time, and I'm greatly envious of you for that.

    • Moles….yes, I understand what you mean. I have so many moles, I lost count.

      I've had many removed, and I also had to have a larger section taken out a few times when they came back atypical. I hated my skin growing up. I'm so pale that most makeup (even porcelain!) is too dark for me. I have moles and scars. I didn't ever want to go to the beach, and kids made fun of me for "glowing in the dark."

      One day, a few years ago, a stranger commented on my pale skin. I immediately apologized for it (I was so used to being harassed for it, apologizing became my instant reaction), but she told me my skin was nice. She said she was envious, because in her home country, people buy whitening creams and makeup to look paler. That was the day I stopped hating my skin. I realized two things that day. Preferences are different for everyone, and something you dislike, might be the exact thing someone else loves. But the real reason I stopped hating my skin that day, was because even though our complaints about ourselves were different, the shaming ourselves was the same.

      • "Preferences are different for everyone, and something you dislike, might be the exact thing someone else loves."

        THIS. It took me years to learn to love instead of feel self-conscious of ample backside. One catalyst was seeing padded underpants for sale (what? people actually want to look like me?), then seeing photos of celebs like Jennifer Lopez being confident in her shape, then discovering the fantasticly fun-to-say word "callipygian". πŸ™‚ Bit by bit I'm embracing my body and its features as fun variations that make me me.

        • It's amazing to finally accept something you previously saw as a "fault" and EMBRACE it! It feels good πŸ˜€

          Oh, and by the way, as a lady with a teenie, tiny backside, I am one of those people who get booty envy ;).

      • One of my dear friends always compliments my porcelain skin, which is delightfully different…and it worries other people, thanks to 'Silence of the Lambs'. It makes me giggle every time.

  6. I have 3, but all small and mostly unnoticeable. The one shaped like an arrow on the side of my elbow is my favorite. The mole-ish thing on my other arm fascinates me. It doesn't seem to have any pigment, and I'm hella pale, so other people only notice it in the summer when I have what counts as my version of a tan.

  7. I have one on my left leg, about halfway up my thigh. When I was younger, I was embarrassed by it. It's just at the point where if I wore shorts long enough to cover it, they weren't cool, but shorts that revealed it were slightly scandalous.
    My embarrassment completely disappeared when my daughter was born. She has a birth mark on her lower left leg that I think will be about the same size/shape/color as mine when she's an adult, so it's like she'll always carry this matching part of me with her. Since hers will be will be impossible to cover except with pants, I've resolved to flaunt mine so she's never embarrassed about hers.

  8. I have one on my nose. It looks like an arrow (little square next to a little triangle, pointing down), like really. When I was a kid, I remember telling someone it was to indicate I was breathing from there πŸ˜‰
    I've never been teased about it. It was the same colour as my freckles, it's nature was obvious.
    Nowadays it has very much faded and is barely visible anymore. You have to know it's there. In a way, I kinda miss it.

  9. I have a brownish patch at the base of my neck in the back. My mom once scrubbed it really hard thinking it was dirt. "Oops…It's a birthmark…sorry". I have a mole between my thigh and my underwear line, almost the crease of my body there. I have a small brown spot on top of my left forearm, two faint parallel lines above that, like thin wire cuffs almost (no idea how they got there), and then on the inside of that forearm are some small freckles in the shape of a cross but with three points on top (would I have been burned in Salem or celebrated? Who knows!). Lastly, but most importantly, I have a strawberry mark on the back of my head. It's a bumpy patch that is reddish pink in color and no hair grows there, so when I had really short hair the bottom would look like someone cut one spot unevenly. I didn't know what it looked like until I was in high school and I asked a friend to photograph it for me. It doesn't bother me and I show it to people if they ask.

    • I lived with two other housemates in college and we had a long conversation over who would be burned at the stake first in ye olde witch hunting days in Europe. I have a mole just under my breast (toward the center of my chest so it's super visible) that I call my witches tit. Good times!

  10. I have a Robin's Egg Blue birthmark on my left arm. It's about 3 inches in diameter and used to be a perfect circle. Such a rarity it is, a dermatologist once asked if she could remove it, not because it was dangerous to me or my health but because she wanted to TOUR it around to universities and hospitals as a teaching tool. As a small child, people often thought a parent grabbed me too hard by the arm as it looks much like a bruise. On the NYC subway once as an adult, I was handed a card for an abused women's shelter. In my teens and 20's I tried to hide it. I was exhausted by the constant questions, the looks of horror before I told them it wasn't a bruise, the insinuation that my body was "gross". But sometime in my mid 20's I stopped trying to hide it. I learned to smile proudly and say "oh, that's my birthmark!" instead of feeling ashamed and letting it ruin my day. At 40, my birthmark has faded in color (much to my dismay – it was a beautiful, vibrant blue!) and changed shape a little. People still mistake it for a bruise or a botched tattoo (I don't really get that one) but I don't mind. It's mine.

  11. I have a mole one finger width from my nose on one cheek. My dad and sister have exactly the same mole. My dad's twin brother has exactly the same one… on the opposite cheek! I like it. It's a great distinguishing feature and I think it's cute.
    My partner has a very light one on the left cheek, right over the cheekbone. It's the size and shape of a thumbprint, and it's the first thing to blush if my sweetie gets embarrassed! (Ohmigodthecuteness!!!)

  12. I have one on the side of my neck, by my jawline and people have always thought it was a hickey. I think part of why my right shoulder and back are always clenched up and hurting is nearly a lifetime of trying to hide it. When I was little, I was always really shy, so I would hold my head down and to the side a lot anyway, but in my pre-teen years I became really self-conscious about it, and trying to angle my body and head so that it didn't stand out. I don't even think about it anymore, and have corrected my alignment, but am considering putting cover up on it for my wedding (something I have only done a couple times for interviews, so they didn't think I was some backseat girl. lol).

  13. I have a lot of them. Most are pretty small, but I have a fairly large one on my stomach that is a dark patch next to a very light patch. I also have one in my *ahem* nether region that is also a large-ish patch of very lightly pigmented skin. I've had several sexual partners ask me if I knew I had a birth mark there, which I find funny because of course I do. I'm in my 30's. Do they really think I've never looked at my own bits? Mostly they go uncommented on, and I generally don't think about them or notice them myself. Though I once had a room mate tell me completely seriously that birthmarks are the scars of our past lives and that I probably died a pretty brutal death in a previous life. That was definitely the weirdest comment I've ever gotten about them though.

    • I've heard that before. Years ago, my Dad was doing a past life regression with someone they had recently become friends with (we're all very close now) and they said that he was shot in a past life and she goes "You still have the mark from the shot." And she put her finger against his back. My Mom lifted the back of his shirt up to look and right where our friends finger was, is the red mole that was one of my father's birthmarks. Totally freaky and cool at the same time.

  14. I've got 3. I have 2 that are moles I was born with: One right beside my bellybutton and another on the left breast. And then I have what my grandmother called "the wine stain" on the crown of my head. Apparently, all babies born in my fathers bloodline have had that birthmark. Hereditary birthmarks are interesting to me.

    The neatest one, though, belongs to my sister. She has a little brown mark (it's flat as can be, so not a mole) on the back of her thigh that is in the exact shape of a bow tie. Oddly enough, my mother has a mole on her thigh in the same spot that is in the same shape as my sister's birthmark.

    • Now that you mention it, I have another that is identical to my mother's. It's just a heavy freckle (not quite a mole I don't think) right between my boobs, and one on her in the same place. Didn't realize that was a hereditary thing – just assumed it was an unexplainable doppel-freckle. Now I must research!

  15. I have a mole (which I've ALWAYS had) on the crease of my elbow on my right arm. It looks like a slightly-large freckle, except it's raised. The other day, my mom asks if it's new (yeah, it was new 22 years ago!). I generally don't worry about it and people don't tend to notice it or anything. But yeah. Thanks, Mom.

  16. I have a red birthmark on my left wrist, it has a mole bang in the middle of it. My mum always told me it's where the faeries kissed me when I was a baby. I've always loved it.

    My Nephew has one that looks exactly like a big bruise on the back of his thigh. It has to be on his medical records so that my sister doesn't get suspected of child abuse every time he is taken to hospital!

  17. I have a birthmark on the back of my thigh about the size of a dime. I used to hate it, I got teased for in it grade school. But then one day I got over it & the fact that no matter what I did I never fit in. In fact I have since relished in the fact that I am anything but ordinary. Now I love my birthmark as it reminds me I am meant to stand out! :o)

  18. I have a fairly large brown birthmark on my inner thigh, up by my crotch (it's visible when I wear a bathing suit). It looks like a cartoon whale, spouting water out of its blowhole. Like other commenters I used to hate it: as a teen I wouldn't wear shorts because I was scared people would see it (though, those would have to be VERY short shorts) . Now I mostly forget its there, and I don't think I have ever had someone comment on it.

    • I actually have a cartoon whale too but mine's on the upper part of the back of my right leg. I thought I was the only one with this kind of mark and I was beginning to worry until I saw this. I still am trying to figure out what it means though…

  19. My birthmark is on my right breast. It covers a good amount of the breast and can be seen outside my bra. Sometimes I really hate it. I have to be careful with my low cut shirts, when it does peek out I'm forever having people tell me my nipple is showing, no, no nipple shot here, just a birthmark. It doesn't help that it's very dark brown and I…am not. My Irish side kicked my Sicilian's side butt when it came time to decide on skin tone. So it's pretty obvious that there's something there.

    When I was younger I'd worry that if someone ever saw me naked it'd be a total turn off. I can tell you now…that was a stupid thing to worry about. The first person I ever slept with asked me what it was, I said my birthmark, and he moved right along. And that'd be the most focus anyone has ever put on my birthmark. Usually there's no reaction.

    I'd love to say I own it. That it's part of me and I love it for that reason alone. But I don't. I'd love to have it removed. I always look at pictures/videos of topless women and wished my boobs looked more like there's. And not in the perkier way, I just want to not have this big…thing over taking one of my breasts.

    The upside is, not a lot of people see it. If it slips out they do, but otherwise it'd pretty much just people seeing me topless. And since I have a lot fewer wild drinking nights now, that number is considerably smaller.

  20. I have a really tiny mole on the inside of might right elbow. I've always loved picking at it. Occasionally it will even sprout a really thick black hair around the edges, haha. I let it grow until I can't resist the urge to pluck it out anymore (I also have an un-natural obsession with plucking weird hairs that pop up).

    • I have a mole near my left elbow…that also sprouts black hairs! I'm pale and blond, so the dark hairs are odd. I am glad to hear someone else has this!

      My great grandma used to say a little rhyme to me when I was growing up: "got a mole on your arm, you'll be a rich man's charm." I married a musician, so…yeah. No. Sorry Big Mom! πŸ™‚

      • Me three! Little mole (that's pink… it used to be brown, but… I picked at it and took the top off), near my left inside elbow, that sprouts one single black hair!

  21. I have a birthmark about the size of bar coaster on my lower back. About where someone would get a tattoo – just above the pantline where the bottom of your shirt hits your pants. So if you bend over everyone sees it.

    I never got teased about it as a kid. I guess since it was ussually covered. But people always ask about it when it does show up (bathing suits, the low cut jeans phase, etc).

    However, I used to get some vaguely and not so vaguely inappropriate comments about it from adults when I was pretty young. Things like, "Oh I bet your husband will love that when he gets older. *snicker, snicker*" I used to get incredibly embarrassed because I could tell it was a sexual reference but didn't really get what or how since I was in elementary school.

    • I also have one right there, on my lower back! It's shaped kinda like a tribal design… almost everyone who sees it can't help but call it my 'tramp stamp'…

  22. I used to have a star-shaped freckle on the inside of my right knee. I've always loved it, but it's fading now for some strange reason. Now it looks more like a tiny chubby ghost or Patrick Starfish doing a cheerleading move… With a little imagination

  23. My birthway is on the inner side of my right calf. It's fairly large and dark compared to my light skin. The crazy thing is that my dad has the EXACT same mark – same place, shape, color, everything. Just like his dad. And his dad before him. It's the Eigler Family Birth Mark. More reliable than any home DNA test.

    I used to feel weird about wearing shorts, but now I don't. The only time I get freaked out or slightly pissed is when people assume it's a disease or condition. That sort of irks me only because then it becomes like an "ewwww" thing.

  24. My older brother and I both have a "wine stain" on the backs of our necks right near the hairline that go up into our scalps. The obstetrician told my mom both times that it would go away, but it didn't. For me, my long hair covers it. He's a red-head living in the South, so he's sunburned most of the time, so no one sees it. Oh, and I also have a light brown birthmark on my upper thigh that is in the shape of Vatican City. You'd only see it in a bikini and I don't wear that type of swim suit, so I don't get comments. But I like it.

  25. Interesting read! I have a birthmark on my face too! It's very small but it's bright red and looks like a drop of blood. Adults rarely comment on it, but children often do. 'What happened to your face?' 'Are you bleeding?' 'Does it hurt?' The one time I had my makeup professionally done, she layered foundation over it until it disappeared, without comment. I'm also covered in moles, but no one ever tries to cover them up.

  26. I have a brownish birthmark on my face. It's on my jawline, near my ear. I honestly don't really think about it, but it's not very dark. I also have a heart on my left boob. That's my fav one. ^_^

  27. I was born with a funny pink patch on my scalp. Hair never grew there, and my mom thought it was just a funny birth mark. My hair had always been long enough to cover it, so it never bothered me much as a kid.

    However, when I went to a dermatologist for a completely unrelated matter, my mom had him take a look at it. Turns out it was a precancerous mole, and if they hadn't found it when they did (I was 11) it would have caused a lot of problems. So it was removed a week later.

    So now I have a little bald spot on my head, but my hair is long enough to cover it, so it never bothers me much now.

    But I learned it's always good to have a doctor take a look-see, even if it's been there since birth.

  28. I have a large vascular birthmark on my left arm and back. It started as a heart-shaped tattoo on my bicep when I was born, and then grew across my upper arm and back as I hit my teens. Usually it looks like a rash that's on the mend, but when I get hot or exert a lot of upper body effort (which happened a lot when I was doing circus) it gets VERY red and a lot more noticeable. I've lost count of the number of people that have stopped me to express their concern that I'm having an allergic reaction or have some sort of injury. I usually just quickly reassure them that it's just a birthmark, and then move on to some other topic of conversation.

    However I used to be very self-conscious about it, to the point where in my teens I was convinced I would wear a wedding dress with long sleeves…and I was that girl who never day-dreamed about her wedding day. But at some point during the wedding planning process– after trying on a few dresses with sleeves, all of which looked TERRIBLE on me — I suddenly decided I didn't care about the birthmark. I just wanted to wear something that was comfortable, simple, and affordable. And that was the final push to get me totally over my birthmark. I barely even think about it any more.

  29. I have a white birthmark on my back. This big splotchy thing only appears when I tan because of the contrast otherwise it blends in to the skin around it.

  30. I have a mole and a freckle on my right cheek. When I was a little kid my aunts (who were models) used to use me as a living doll and dress me up and put make up on me, and they used to take an eyebrow pencil and darken my marks and call them beauty spots. Because of that I always thought they were quite special and make me prettier.

  31. My niece was born with a birthmark on her forehead. My brother referred to it as the "Boot of Italy" because that's exactly how it was shaped. His ex-wife was super concerned about it though (read: completely crazy about the "imperfection"). She consulted doctor after doctor after doctor who all told her not to worry about it, but she wanted to have plastic surgery done on the wee lass ASAP. Fortunately, my brother (ever the more sane of the two) put his foot down and said, "No."

    The thing about birthmarks is that sometimes they just go away on their own, which is exactly what happened to my niece.

    It's almost impossible to find a photograph of my niece's birthmark now though because my ex-SIL always covered it up with jauntily positioned hats to hide it. By the time my niece turned four, as predicted, the hats were retired because the birthmark had indeed faded away. One day, not long after it had faded for good, my niece was visiting me in my apartment and asked to look through my photo albums. She was laughing and flipping through the old pictures of herself as a baby and toddler when she came upon a rare picture of herself without a hat. Her finger brushed over the birthmark in the photograph, sort of stroking it. She sighed then and looked up at me, "I miss my birthmark. Wasn't it pretty?" Yes, yes, it was.

    I also have a mark. Mine isn't a birthmark, though. It's telangiectasia. And it's not just one, but hundreds. Mostly, the red spots aren't that noticeable when I have makeup on. They look a little like freckles shining through. But the one on my tongue is screaming red. It's positioned directly in the middle of my tongue, so when I am talking, it flashes like a piercing. People who don't know me always question me about whether or not the "piercing" hurt. When I explain that it's not a piercing, they get really embarrassed for some reason, like they've been caught pointing out a missing eye or something. Conversely, doctors get really excited when they see it. I've had dozens whip out their cameras and take pictures, with and without permission. Kids, though, they're straight up, "What's that?" I explain. They move on.

  32. I have a birthmark on my inner thigh, so high up you would only be able to see it if I wore bikini bottoms. It's a pretty pale undefined blotch though, so I do wonder if anyone would notice if I did show it off. I've always liked having a birthmark since I noticed it when I was five. It made me feel special to have something other people did not have. The attached earlobes were my complex until I got them pierced, as well as the small mole by my eye, oddly enough.

  33. I've really enjoyed reading everyone's stories. No birthmarks here, but YES, lots and lots of moles. Most of them are flat, but I have a big "witchy" raised one on the top of my nose, where my glasses rest. Since I've stopped wearing contacts, whenever someone who has never seen me without glasses on catches a glimpse of me, they look at it. Even if they don't say anything, I'm pretty sure I usually catch people look at it and then look away. I was very embarrassed about it as a kid and then when I started wearing contacts.

    What's interesting about my other moles is that I usually don't pride myself in them OR get self-conscious about them; I usually forget about them entirely until I see a photo of myself and realize, "Damn, I am covered in moles!" It always takes me aback. Do any of you forget your physical features until you see yourself in pics? Should I look in the mirror more? But I feel like I can't see them in the mirror, even naked, because I'm just so used to seeing my skin the way it is.

    Well, one other thing: lately I HAVE noticed my moles more… because my daughter has noticed them while she nurses. She liked to twist each of the two moles I have in my boob-meet-armpit area and it HURTS when she does it. She also likes to touch other moles gently right before falling asleep. Seeing myself through her eyes is always revelatory — even just as a reminder of what my body would like like to someone who sometimes knows it better than I do.

  34. Ooh ooh, I have a birthmark! It's basically a small potato on my hip. I've always liked it, but I liked it even more when I realized my best friend from college (who became my best man) had a matching birthmark. Weird, right? But the best part, is that one day I hope to get over my fear of needles to turn it into a tattoo of a sea turtle. Former editor of Offbeat Home, Cat Rocketship once tattooed it onto my with ink.

  35. I have a large birthmark on my face. It's a brown stripe that goes from my hairline down to the bridge of my nose, under my left eye to my ear, and then down my jawline to my mouth. When I was younger, it was quite dark, especially in contrast to the rest of my skin, which is pale. It has faded as I grew older. When I was in the 4th grade, the girl next to me told me I had chocolate on my face the first time we met. In high school, people often thought it was a makeup line. My FH only saw it for the first time last year, and we've been dating since 2007! The fade has been nice, I never particularly loved it. Not that I thought it was something disfiguring, but I have always been an introvert, and never liked that it drew attention to me. Now, I think it's nifty in the summer that my freckles are more dense on the right side of my face than the left (marked) side! I also have moles and freckles all over my body, and I have always loved them.

  36. Okay, no birthmark here, but I *do* have a third nipple. No foolin'. It sits on the underside of my left boob. Here's the wikipedia entry, if you're curious:

    I used to be embarrassed by it, but now it doesn't bother me. It's really little, and only barely resembles a full-sized nipple, but that's definitely what it is.

    Also, great thread. πŸ™‚

    • I have a third nipple too!!! It's genetically dominant in my family. My Poppop, my dad and his three brothers, and me and my brother and sister all have this wee tiny nipple in the exact same spot on our ribs. You would think it was a little flesh colored mole unless you looked hard with intent lol. The face my brother made when we finally told him was so. incredibly. priceless.

  37. I don't have a birthmark, but I do have a very noticeable, old 2 inch scar on my back from where I had a mole removed when I was four. Since I was so little when it was done, the skin has grown and stretched as I grew, and now it is an almost rectangular patch of smooth skin right on my shoulder blade. When people ask about it, I often very casually say "knife fight" and leave it at that.

    • I have the exact same thing on my back as well. When people ask about it I tell them I had some of my vertebrae fused together. The funniest part is that half the people can't tell if I'm joking or not!

  38. I have a cafe au lait birthmark at the top of my right butt cheek, which I always worried about when I was younger. What would lovers think?! Now I think it's kinda cute and my husband didn't notice it until I pointed it out, even though it's about an inch wide.

    Our munchkins all have matching birthmarks, which is cute and awesome. They have stork bite marks at the base of their skulls and matching ones on their eyelids. The eyelid ones tend to disappear by 18 months, but while they're there, those birthmarks become brighter when the kids are tired. They also have a pale purple mark in the third eye area, which also darkens when they're tired and disappears by 18-24 months. Our eldest has a white patch on her leg, which I commented "It looks like she tore her stockings!" after she was born (I'd been awake for 3 days). The middle munchkin has a cafe au lait mark on her jawline which I once thought was dirt, and our youngest has one on his hip. They're all so cute and I love them. The older two seem to think so too, which is good.

    • My brother and I both have storkbites on our foreheads. My cousin had one, too.
      Mine faded out by elementary school, except when I was overheated or upset. My brother's faded more slowly, but was still visible when he was overheated up until highschool. He didn't have the back one, so I always assumed I didn't have it either. The first time I saw it, I was 22 and thought it was a weird hickey. My boyfriend(now husband, who will not let me live this down) insisted on his innocence. I didn't believe him and called my mom to confirm. What kind of parent never tells you about a big red splotch on the back of your neck/head? "We thought you'd never notice it." It's pretty well hidden in my hairline in the back, but… still!

  39. I have a birthmark on the middle of my palm. My mom said when I was little she thought it was dirt and almost rubbed my hand raw trying to get it off.

    I mostly forget about it until someone notices and says something. Inside your hand is apparently a very strange place to have a birthmark, according to the comments I get

  40. I have a cafe au lait birthmark on my abdomen that's about 5 inches by 3 inches. It has never bothered me, it was just there, like my curly toes. When I was little I always thought the birthmark looked liked Australia, even though it looks absolutely nothing like Australia (more like Mongolia). Now, I just morbidly think that it would be a great way to identify my body if I was decapitated or otherwise dead and unrecognizable. πŸ˜›

  41. I have a brown birthmark on my knee shaped like a bird in flight, which I've always considered pretty cool. And if I remember correctly from bath-time 25 years ago, my sisters and I also all have the same mole on our inner thigh.

  42. I have a birthmark on my left shin. It's darker than the rest of my skin and has a triangle shape. For a while in high school some friends lovingly called me start trek because they thought my birth mark looked like the logo from the show.

    I like it. I figure if I lose both my legs between the knee and ankle I'll be able to tell them apart and get them reattached on the proper side πŸ™‚

  43. my son has a dark brown birth mark on his cheek ( you can see it on this photo ) – when he was born the nurses said "don't worry, it'll fade over time" and we said "i hope it doesn't!" and it hasn't.
    it's part of what makes him unique. we call it his smooch mark, and plant kisses on it non-stop.
    i think birth marks are wonderful, though it's easy for me to say that as someone who doesn't have to live with people commenting on mine all the time (it's on my hand and very light). i DO know how irritating, and occasionally threatening, it can be to have people make unsolicited comments about your body, because i have several large and prominent tattoos (though i get that that's not the same because i got those by choice).
    thanks for this post. it was interesting to read your experience.

  44. I have a birthmark that takes up half my left cheek. On the upper half it has hyper pigmentation and on the lower half none. When I was younger, it bothered me, being self conscious. I learned how to apply professional grade cosmetics to hide it by the fifth grade. Quite a few decades later I see that as my entry into the art of cosmetics and with the fortunate growth of my confidence in my teens, never looked back. When I was asked the other day about it I worried about the blending of my bb cream and not the mark. I hadn't thought of it in literally years.

  45. I have 3. Two are nearly invisible brown-grey patches, slightly larger than a quarter and ink-blot shaped: one between my belly button and right hip, and one on my left thigh. Never really notice them. I don't think I even noticed they were there until my teens because they're so faint (and up until I discovered the Internet, I was actually capable of tanning and fairly active in sports).

    I have a fairly large brown one on my left elbow that is often mistaken for a bruise or dirt. I'm see-though pale, so it really stands out. People don't often mention it though–who really looks that closely at anyone's elbows? The ones who mention it usually ask how I got that impressive bruise.

    When I was younger (10 or so), it was a badge of uniqueness. After that, I sorta forgot about it–and continue to do so to this day. Just as an experiment I asked the other half if he knew where my birthmarks were–he couldn't tell me! I suppose if even he doesn't know where they are, I shouldn't worry about anyone else.

  46. I had a beauty mark (aka mole) on my left cheek. It wasn't actually a birthmark ( it doesn't appear in photos until I was about 8 or 9) but It seemed like I had it as long as I could remember. Anyway, a couple years ago it began to itch and get irritated. My GP thought it looked a bit odd so she referred me to a cosmetic surgeon. The surgeon agreed it looked irregular and so we decided to remove it. I have to say, I was sad to see it go. I felt like it made me more unique and gave my face more personality.

  47. I have quite a few birthmarks, two red dots less than 1cm diameter on the top of my right foot (one of which is covered by a tattoo now), what looks like a small cluster of freckles with whiter than normal skin underneath about an inch diameter, a red mark the same size, both on my left calf, a red mark a bit smaller on my right thigh, another small red dot on my stomach, a long cafe au lait on the back of my right calf.
    The two red marks, one on my thigh and the the one on my calf used to be bright red, my mum was worries about them, but the doctor told her they would fade to nothing in time, they faded to a lighter red, and now occasionally someone pokes (!!) the one on my calf and asks if it is a bruise. I don't really understand that thought process!
    I think they are cool and interesting, I love seeing birthmarks on people!

  48. I have a brown splotchy birth mark low on my right butt cheek that was much darker when I was little. It shows when I wear any type of swimsuit and when I was little I was afraid people would think it was a poop splotch until my sister made fun of me for thinking that. ;D I think I've only had one person ask me what it is!

  49. I have a birthmark in my hair. I have about an inch thick swatch of silver/white hair on the front right side. It doesn't take at home hair dye color and only absorbs some professional color. When I had my hair dyed auburn a few months ago, the birth mark faded to a strawberry pink after a few days. I actually love it and always have. It makes me feel a little like Rogue from X-Men.

    • Is that what it is?! I have a silver/white inch patch on the left hand side that does exactly the same thing. I love it, it's really cool.

        • Possibly! My left side eyelashes are white/blonde and I also have random chunks of colour which amuses my hairdresser when I'm having a trim and haven't had time to deal with my regrowth. "Ooooh! There's red/silver/black here, I didn't see that one last time."

  50. I've got a small extra bit of flesh on my left thumb so it's pretty hard to cover up. It looks like a mole but it's the same color as the rest of my skin. I call it my "nubbin'" and I used it kind of like braille to learn my left from my right. Okay, I'll be honest, I still use it to tell my left from my right. As a kid everyone thought it was a wart but I always gave the calm birth mark explanation. That usually didn't help my case. The only draw back is it tends to catch on things and tear. As a result, it's shrunk a little over the years. As odd as it sounds I would actually be pretty upset if I lost it.

  51. I have a brown splodge on my nose. It's not huge, but it is there. I've had several new friends and strangers offer to wipe it off for me. That kinda freaks me out, but I tell them it's just a birthmark and try not to threaten violence on their outstretched hand. I hate wearing heavy make up, and that's the only thing that makes it disappear completely. It's there, has been there, and I live with it. It's my splodge.

  52. I have what looks like a mole on my right elbow. Although I have been assured by many a doctor that it is NOT anything dangerous, I still get (even from family) "OMG THATS CANCER GET IT REMOVED!!!" It's been there since I was born, and even tho it has strected/grown as I have, it is indeed non-cancerous. I just ignore it. Sometimes my son, who's almost 2, will touch it or say "ouch" when he sees it, but other than that, it gets ignored

    Then I have my ear . . . .My right ear lobe it 'missing a chunk'. It's like someone tried to bite it, but didn't get it all. It's too thin to safely pierce, and it's hallow. I always got and still do get questions about it. What happeded? Why can't I pierce it? Did/does it hurt? etc. I don't notice it. In fact I didn't know my right ear was different until I was 10 and wanted my ears pierced. I pierced above that spot on my ear, but that only seemed to bring more attention to it. So I took all my piercings out to save myself the unwanted attention.

  53. I have a tiny one on my inner forearm that looks just like a christmas tree, when I was a kid I would draw decorations on it. But alas, it is so faded now even I have trouble making it out!

    I also have a mole on my face exactly where a beauty spot would be. I love it, as I look at all the old movie stars who painted theirs on – but mine is part of me. I have over the years had a few people slap my face, thinking it was a mosquito!! Weird! Also, every time I have my makeup done professionally, I find if I dont mention to them that I like it and it is NOT a blemish that they cover it up compleatly. I always make them draw it back on over the top when this happens – I am just not me without it. (and yes, its been there since birth and I get it checked every couple of years)
    My nephew also has the same mole in the same place. I love it that we have something so unique in common.

    I also have a brown oval shaped one on my bum that I almost never see and only ever occasionaly think of as it is always covered by undies etc. I once asked my husband if he had noticed it before and he assured me that he loves to watch it jiggle when we are.. umm.. well, you get the idea!

  54. My one birthmark is pretty small and easily mistaken for a pimple. It's just a raised bit of skin about a half-inch from my nose, not quite dramatic enough to call a "beauty mark" but gives a similar effect much more subtly.

    My scars are where it's at, though. I have stretch marks on my inner right thigh that appeared during my puberty growth spurt at 13. I didn't like them for a while, but now I think of them as lightning or scratches from a fight with a tiger (seems like a legit analogy for puberty anyway). I have a small scar on my thumb from learning to cook freshman year of college (it was a can lid), and a scar on my elbow from when I was hunting fossils on a field trip junior year and managed to be the first person ever on that annual trip to require medical attention, haha.

    Best of all? My left pupil. It's freaky and great. When I was 21 I found out my retina was detaching, necessitating a bunch of surgery. Unfortunately they weren't able to really fix it, and there's still a bit more surgery to come, but the end result is my pupil is now a lopsided ellipse. No one notices unless I point it out, I think because it's just so unusual. I'll post a picture later if I remember.

  55. I have a mole shaped like a flower on my shoulder! When I was a kid I used to tell people it meant I had magic powers. I also have a really faint cafe-au-lait patch on my right wrist, but you have to look really carefully to see it.

  56. I also have one on my face, or rather, several on my face. I have perma-red spots between my eyebrows, on my left eye-lid and on that groove-area between my nose and upper lip. It was quite present when I was a kid, my mom says the docs says I was a big baby and probably had my face smooshed up against the placenta, lol. It has faded some, but has become my weather gauge. My mom knows if bad weather is coming by looking at my face, as my birthmarks get redder. They don't bother me, and I never wear make-up, but a friend once told me she thought that the one between my brows was redness due to waxing.

  57. My favorite birthmark (I have several) is a small brown mole on my left ear lobe, because my grandma had the exact same birthmark in the same place! It's a little silly, but I've always loved that I shared that with her, and when I was little I thought our mutual birthmark was the coolest thing ever.

  58. I have this weird cluster of dark birthmarks (moles) around my collarbone. People will either react by asking "what's that" to asking what my tattoo's supposed to be. It shows depending on the shirt I'm wearing. Most of the time I don't even think about it. close-up

  59. I have a birthmark on my inner elbow. It's white, however. I've never met someone else with one. It's not really noticeable unless it's summer, and my pasty ( I mean, uh, "pure porcelain") skin has gained some pigment.

    I've had a lot of people confuse it for a scar, though.

  60. I have moles all over and I love them. I only have one lucky mole though, and it's this grouping of 6 of super tiny ones on top of a slightly darker circle of skin. Hard to describe, but pretty in my opinion. I don't know when or why I decided it was my lucky mole, but it is and I just love it.

  61. I have two gold stars on my left hand. They're not super noticeable. But whenever I see someone with a big facial birthmark, I want to tell them it's so pretty (because facial markings mean you're a superhero witch doctor, obvs! Awesome!) but I don't because I don't wan them to think I noticed it, thought it was weird, and said something nice to cover up that I thought it was weird.

  62. It's so interesting that the body image post I wrote is linked as related – because as soon as I saw your title, I thought – oh, that was my first "unintentional body shaming" experience! I have a large red "wine-stain" birthmark that covers much of my right finger and thumb. Throughout my childhood, my grandmother and mother said – "don't worry, when you are older you can have it removed." And "luckily it's on your right hand so it won't show up in wedding pictures" (!). I found this so confusing – I wasn't bothered by it in the least and didn't understand why I should/would have it removed.

    Today most people who notice it (I was traveling the last ten days, meaning I met lots of new people, meaning it got noticed a LOT) assume I've just burned myself. Then they are embarrassed for asking. And I still have a moment of confusion: why are you embarrassed? Is it because you called attention to a part of my body that you think I should be embarrassed about? Why?

  63. My boyfriend of five months asked me if I had a bruise under my eye. I told him it is a birthmark that somehow he didn't notice before. Haven't heard from him since..
    Oh yeah, I love my birthmark.

  64. I have a very visible birthmark close to my clavicle. It's raised and pinkish/orange in color. Kids used to ask me if it was a hickey or a third nipple…yeah, awkward, but now I hardly notice it. I did, however, have a man in his 60s recently ask me if I had spilled chocolate on myself. It's important to note that my birthmark in NO way looks like chocolate.

  65. No birthmarks, but a large-ish mole on the bridge of my nose. My mom told me I could have it removed when I was a teenager, but I was too scared of the blade. A few years later we considered removing it again for medical reasons (we have a family history of skin cancer and it changed a bit). But by then I was attached to having something that made my face unique, and the dermatologist wasn't worried, so it stayed. These days it often hides behind my glasses, so it's kinda neat that only my close friends who see me at home usually notice it.

    I also had a small mole on my upper lip, that my mother mistook for dirt/chocolate/etc. countless times throughout my childhood. She scrubbed it so much that eventually the pigment went away, although the bump is still there. "How my mom washed my mole away" is a favorite family story because my mom is a notorious neat freak πŸ˜€

    My little (okay, younger) brother was born with a thumbprint sized/shaped brown spot on his hairline near the temple. You could usually only see it when his hair was short enough. He had it removed a couple years ago (again, for dermatological reasons), but the way they did it left a streak of scar tissue where no hair grows. One of my boyfriend's favorite pastimes is coming up with crazy stories to explain how my brother got his scar (to help him impress the ladies, of course πŸ˜› )

  66. Hi Ariel,

    I had a birthmark in pretty much the exact same place as yours, though mine was a little raised and quite dark. I never experienced any kind of negativity towards me because of this, even as a child. I found it quite strange really. There was a period of time when I was bullied quite severely (between the ages 11 and 14), but I didn't once receive a comment about my birthmark!

    Friends and partners never really mentioned it or asked about it, and I myself forgot it was there most of the time, but when I did notice it, I REALLY noticed it. I would begin to over think and become paranoid, worrying if people were staring or if they found it (and therefore me) repulsive.

    At the age of 22 I decided to have it removed, I feel I am happier with my general appearance now. But looking back at old pictures of myself, I don't believe it was an unattractive feature, in fact I think it added a little character. Sometimes I even miss it!

    Just for comparison πŸ™‚
    With Birthmark –
    Without Birthmark –

  67. I have a birthmark on my knee that's shaped like Australia (it even has a Tasmanian island!). My husband has one on his knee that's shaped like New Zealand. We were marked for each other since birth!

    I also have a scar on my lip that I got so young I don't remember it, people ask me about that a lot. But it doesn't bug me, just part of my face!

  68. I have one on the side of my back, it seems to change colour seasonally but mostly it just looks like someone's been punching me in the kidney! It can start some funny/interesting conversations ^.^

  69. I love the hoolahoop remark haha, I don't have any awesome markings, but my 3 year old has exzema and in the summer when his alabaster skin gets sunkissed it leaves white blotches all over his body. I call them his leopard spots, gotta embrace all the uniqueness were born with, makes you that much more original!

  70. I have a couple of birthmarks, but they aren't very visible. I also have a LOT of freckles, which outweigh the birthmarks by much by way of being noticeable. Never got much mention, as my weight and curly hair did. Don't know why.
    I didn't like my freckles too much as a kid. When I got older, I decided they were me, and didn't mind it. When I got an avatar in a virtual world, I actually spent a lot of time looking for skin for her that was freckled enough to match me, and then realized I was proud of my freckles. They were me. And my fiance πŸ™‚ likes playing connect the dots.

  71. I have a blue-ish almost green colored birth mark on my face. It's small and shapes like a mole but not bumpy. Whenever I meet new people they usually let me know I have some sort of ink or dirt on my face. I even had a teacher in 9th grade who licked her thumb then wiped my face! For years it used to bother me that people cared so much but now I'm indifferent about it. I don't mind correcting people anymore.

  72. I have a birthmark on the side of my left eye. it's about the size of a guitar pick. when people see it they get alarmed .i get asked "did you bang your eye"? "did someone punch you in the eye?" If i don't cover it up with make up that is what i get asked. I am so ashamed of this birth mark.

  73. i have a mole in the center of my forehead that has been there since birth.

    my dermatologist offered to remove it, but im on the fence, i get sick of people staring at it, but.. its .. me.

  74. Hi i am a girl with point size two moles on the left upper arm not on the elbow, will this mean i will become widow, i read somewhere, please tell me

  75. I was born with a birthmark, about an inch wide, on my right armpit. My dad has a much larger one there too. When I was about 15 I had it removed because it kept itching and bleeding (probably a combo of a reaction to shaving and me being hyper sensative to deodorant) and the doctors were concerned it would turn cancerous. The doc who removed it messed up, causing it to get infected. As a result I now have a scar roughly the same size.

  76. i got a birthmark on my right butt cheak it looks like a water spot and it covers a good portion of that butt cheak.

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