The Truth About Beauty Marks
The Truth About Beauty Marks

In your lifetime, beauty marks have likely
been seen as a sign of, well, beauty, but they have a pretty checkered history. So, just what is a beauty mark anyway? And why do people love them, or hate them? Here’s the unadulterated truth. Holy moley Dermatologists agree that beauty marks and
moles are one and the same. But not all moles are known as beauty marks. According to Neal Schultz, a cosmetic and
medical dermatologist and host of DermTV, the term is generally only applied to moles
on the face. Elsewhere on the body, they’d just be called
a mole. So while some celebs with facial moles have
been credited with having iconic beauty marks, celebs with body moles aren’t given quite
the same label. Who knew the social science behind moles could
be so complicated? “By the way, I realize that I have a large
mole on my face.” “Where? What? Where’s that mole? I didn’t…see one…” Scars of the past In the 17th and 18th centuries, smallpox ran
rampant through Europe, causing the deaths of millions. Those who survived still faced an uphill battle,
with the disease having a tendency to leave disfiguring scars. What better way to hide those scars than with
a cleverly placed beauty mark? In response to the epidemic, women started
applying mouse fur to their pockmarks. British Parliament wasn’t a fan of the fashion,
though. In 1650, the government body even created
a bill to prevent “the vice of painting, wearing black patches, and immodest dresses of women.” Regardless, the trend took off, with the faux
scar covers giving way to more elaborate, decorative patches made of colorful silk,
taffeta, and leather. These became known as “mouches”, the French-language
term for “flies”. From the most unlikely of causes, an entire
faux mole industry was born. Choose a side From the books you read to the clothes you
wear, there are plenty of ways to make a political statement. However, there is perhaps no stranger way
to declare your party affiliation than via mole. Like many fads, mouches eventually made their
way into politics. For a time, if a woman in England were to
wear a beauty mark on the left side of her face, it could be taken as support for the
Tory political party. Likewise, if she were to wear one on the right
side, she would be showing her support for the Whigs. Imagine the awkwardness of having a real beauty
mark during this period in history. What a time to have been alive. “Wasn’t your mole on the other side?” “I have a mole?!” “Mark of disgrace” Even as late as the mid-1800s, some in the
British parliament still saw even natural moles as being “mark[s] of disgrace.” Under Queen Victoria’s reign, beauty standards
left little room for anything but smooth, white skin. As if that weren’t problematic enough, the
use of makeup of any kind was said to be reserved for prostitutes and actresses. Those with beauty marks in the 1800s would’ve
likely felt anything but beautiful during this time, when skin whitening recipes promising
to “take away” freckles and moles were abundantly available. Considering that these concoctions were essentially
just bleaches, we can’t imagine there were many happy customers. The beauty mark revival The perception of beauty marks has come a
long way since the 1800s, but the change didn’t happen overnight. According to writer Madeleine Marsh, it wasn’t
until the rise of Hollywood that moles transformed into something to be admired. The magic of the movies made women’s faces
bigger than they’d ever been before, revolutionizing standards of beauty. One of those famous faces was Marilyn Monroe,
whose high-profile facial mole helped propel the look into mainstream. More faux beauty With smallpox being all but eradicated by
the 19th century, the demand for faux moles eventually became nonexistent. But they’ve never gone entirely out of style. Singer Kelly Rowland has been known to apply
a fake mole to her face, which she says was inspired by Marilyn Monroe. She calls it her “forever moving mole”, and
sometimes draws it on to cover a blemish. It’s pretty, and it’s practical. It all began with a dot of black eyelash glue
on her face, making a look she fell in love with. As she put it to People, “It was the cutest stinking mole, and I was
sold.” When to worry The good thing about fake moles is that there’s
zero risk of one turning into skin cancer. If you have a real beauty mark, however, you
should be aware of signs of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. If your beauty mark starts to grow or look
different, or if a new one appears out of nowhere, you should make an appointment with
a dermatologist to get it checked out. And even if that new mole is fine today, that
doesn’t mean it will be tomorrow. Possibly up to half of all melanomas start
as benign moles. As beautiful as these moles can be, the truth
behind them isn’t always glamorous. Sorry, Marilyn.

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