Can we talk about birthmarks?

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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.

Comments on Can we talk about birthmarks?

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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!

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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?

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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 😀

    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 😛 )

  16. 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 🙂
    With Birthmark –
    Without Birthmark –

  17. 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!

  18. 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 ^.^

  19. 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!

  20. 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 🙂 likes playing connect the dots.

  21. 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.

  22. 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.

  23. 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.

  24. 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

  25. 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.

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