For Real! Beauty Marks

Spring 2016

Believers in the ancient practice of moleosophy say that the arrangement of moles speaks to a person’s destiny.Holy moley, what’s that spot? Angel’s kiss, port-wine stain, stork bite—all silly names for common marks on your skin. If you were born with a dot or a splotch, that’s called a birthmark.

Every person is born with the same number of pigment cells, or the cells that give our skin its color. But sometimes those cells don’t spread out evenly; they clump up and form “birth moles” early in life.

You can also develop spots as you grow. These specks are called “acquired moles,” and your genes play a big role in whether you’ll get them. If your parents have moles, and if you spend a lot of time in the sun, you’re much more likely to develop a few dots.

Finally, there are marks with a red hue, called hemangiomas (pronounced like he-man-gee-OH-muhs, sounds like a kind of superhero), which are caused by blood vessels grouping together near the surface of the skin. So enjoy, and maybe even connect, your tiny constellations. Nobody else has the same ones as you!

Thanks to Pitt pediatric dermatologist Douglas Kress for his help explaining these beautiful blemishes.