Myths and Facts about Birthmarks

Birthmarks are blemishes on the skin that appear at or after birth, hence their name. Most birthmarks are harmless or benign, and twice as many females in comparison to males have birthmarks. There are 2 types of birthmarks that appear on the skin, namely vascular and pigmented birthmarks.

Myth: All Birthmarks are Harmless

Fact: Although most birthmarks are benign, it’s best to have a check up to confirm that the birthmark is indeed harmless. If it’s malignant, it’s best to have it removed at the earliest. Some people find their birthmarks disfiguring and prefer to have them removed to look more attractive. Surgery and laser treatment are 2 common ways of removing birthmarks. In rare cases, birthmarks that have been removed by laser reappear at a later stage. Hence, it’s best to consult a dermatologist before taking steps to remove any type of birthmark that’s present.

Myth: A Child with Birthmarks Is Inauspicious

Fact: Most individuals have birthmarks and although some cultures believe that a child with a birthmark is inauspicious, other cultures lay no credence to this belief. However, Anne Boleyn, the second wife of King Henry VIII, was considered a witch because of the strawberry mark on her neck. In recent times, Mikhail Gorbachev had a port-wine stain on his forehead and grew to be the head of a vast nation.

Myth: A Birthmark Is Caused by Expectant Mother

Fact: There is no known cause for a birthmark. However, the French word for a birthmark is envie and means desire. The Italian word for a birthmark is voglia and the Spanish word, antojo, both these mean a craving. The Arabic word wiham means a wish. Hence, many cultures associate a birthmark with an unfulfilled desire or craving of an expectant mother.

The activities or diet of an expectant mother have nothing to do with the formation of a birthmark. Although the cause of birthmarks isn’t known, most doctors believe that they’re formed before the birth of the child and are obvious at birth. Vascular birthmarks are caused by the bunching together of multiple tiny blood vessels while pigmented birthmarks are caused by the presence of more pigment at that spot.

Myth: The Location of the Birthmark can Mark the Character of the Child

Fact: A child’s character has nothing to do with caste, color or creed. However, it’s believed that the location of a birthmark can pinpoint character traits of a child. A birthmark on the abdomen signifies hunger, and such a child is supposed to always hanker for more. A birthmark on the back signifies a person who is open minded and one on the chin denotes success.

While a birthmark on the right hand denotes success and prosperity, one on the left hand denotes poverty and lack. Travel is also indicated by a birthmark on the right foot and intelligence by one on the left foot. These are superstitions that haven’t been proved and there are numerous individuals with birthmarks on similar locations of their bodies who pose different traits.

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