A beauty mark or beauty spot is a euphemism for a type of dark facial mole, so named because such birthmarks are sometimes considered an attractive feature. Medically, such "beauty marks" are generally melanocytic nevus, more specifically the compound variant. Moles of this type may also be located elsewhere on the body, and may also be considered beauty marks if located on the face, shoulder, neck or breast.
Fashionable beauty marks
Artificial beauty mark
False beauty marks are sometimes applied to the face as a form of make-up. Beauty marks were particularly highly regarded during the eighteenth century and creating false ones became common, often in fanciful shapes such as hearts or stars. They could be purchased as silk or velvet patches known as "mouches" (flies). Alexander Pope's 1712 poem The Rape of the Lock mentions such patches as indicators of "secular love":
- Here Files of Pins extend their shining Rows,
- Puffs, Powders, Patches, Bibles, Billet-doux.
- Now awful Beauty puts on all its Arms;
- The Fair each moment rises in her Charms,
- Repairs her Smiles, awakens ev'ry Grace,
- And calls forth all the Wonders of her Face;
In the conclusion of the book The Silence of the Lambs, the heroine Clarice Starling gains an artificial beauty mark when burnt gunpowder gets lodged in the flesh of her cheek. She retains this mark in the sequel novel "Hannibal". This symbolism (along with Dr Lecter's polydactylism) did not get carried over into the film.
- Ariel, Irving M. (1981). A Historical Introduction: Is the beauty mark a mark of beauty or a potentially dangerous cancer? Malignant Melanoma, Appleton-Century-Crofts, ISBN 978-0-8385-6114-0
- White, Jackie (April 30, 1995). Behind the glamour lurks an ugly, dirty business. Kansas City Star
- "Pope: Rape of the Lock". University of St Andrews. 16 March 1999. Retrieved 1 December 2013.
- Pope, Alexander (May 1712). "The Rape of the Lock: An Heroi-Comical Poem, Canto 1". Retrieved 1 December 2013.