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Birthmark Myths You Didn't Know

5 Interesting Myths About Birthmarks You Didn’t Know

How much do you know about birthmarks?

We know that some birthmarks are formed at birth, some develop birthmarks only after birth. Some start small and grow big, while some disappear after some time.

We also know that birthmarks can be effectively removed via medical treatments, as explained by Dr Loo last week here: Patient Mailbox: How to Remove a Birthmark on the Face

Laser Treatments for Birthmarks

But did you know that in many cultures, birthmarks have interesting myths tied to them? Some patients in the clinic also shared their stories and what they have heard about birthmarks with us, and many of these stories are really interesting indeed.

Dr Loo Keng Shien is a Consultant Aesthetic Physician with a special interest in Dermatology and Aesthetic Medicine. She has highly certified qualifications from the American Academy of Aesthetic Medicine, American Academy of Anti-aging Medicine, and in Practical Dermatology from Cardiff University. She currently practices at Peter Ch’ng Clinic in Desa Park City.

1. Food and birthmarks

This is one of the more common birthmark myth, that birthmarks on babies during birth are a reflection of either their mothers’ food consumption or food craving when pregnant.

“If you eat many strawberries during your pregnancy, your baby may be born with a strawberry mark.” – infantile haemangioma birthmark myth

These are said to be reflected in the shape and colour of the birthmark. For example, an infantile haemangioma, which is a bright red lump made up of a group of blood vessels that grow together, is often said to be a reflection of the baby’s mother eating strawberries during pregnancy.

Infantile Haemangioma birthmark

Likewise, port wine stain birthmarks are said to be a reflection of wine and grape consumption, while cafe au lait birthmarks reflect coffee or chocolate consumption.

Cafe Au Lait Birthmark

Some also say that the part of body where the mother scratches while craving for a food will be where the birthmark of her baby be!

2. Animals and birthmarks

Here’s an interesting story we heard from one of our patients.

“If a pregnant woman meets a hare, her baby may be born with a hare lip (cleft lip), because the hare is a witch in animal form” – cleft lip birth defect myth

Hare and birthmarks

Other than that, some also say that birthmarks signify one’s spirit animal – if the birthmark has a shape like a feather, his or her spirit animal is a bird; if it looks like a paw, it’s a cat; and so on.

3. Mother’s personal experiences and birthmarks

In Japan, it is a common practice for pregnant women to be forbidden to look at fire or to look into flames. It is said that doing this will cause a “burn mark” on her baby’s skin (a cafe au lait birthmark or a mole).

Mole burn marks

Also, if a pregnant mother is startled and touches her face, the baby’s blood vessels would also get startled and all gather at the exact same spot the mother has touched, causing a vascular birthmark (like infantile haemangioma or port wine stain) to form.

Well at least they got the blood vessel lumping together part right (vascular birthmarks are caused by blood vessels clumping together, forming a visible mark on the surface of our skin).

“My parents call my birthmark a “fire mark” because of how it resembles a burn scar on my skin” – patient with cafe au lait birthmark

A more modern belief is that mothers who undergo x-ray scanning during pregnancy can also leave a birthmark on the baby’s skin!

4. Past life and birthmarks

This is a very popular belief worldwide, particularly that birthmarks are a sign of how a person died in his or her past life before being reincarnated.

The position, shape and colour of the birthmarks are often used to connect them with fatal wounds, like sharp marks indicating stab wounds, circular marks indicating bullet shots, and flame or burn-like marks indicating death by fire.

Fire is a common birthmark myth

There are also studies that believe that birthmarks are a sign of one’s occupation in the past life. This claim is founded based on the belief that the “mind and experiences” or our soul becomes a blueprint in the planning of reincarnation after our death.

“If you have a reddish mark on your chest (port wine stain), chances are you were a soldier in your past life” – port wine stain birthmark myth

5. More bizzare myths and fun facts

There are also some bizzare myths that we’ve heard of. And though we find them hard to believe, they are often talked about in some cultures. Here are some of them:

  • According to Chinese culture, if you have a birthmark on your right foot, it means you are adventurous, and if it’s on your left foot, you are extremely intelligent. If you have a birthmark on your tummy, it means that you are greedy!
  • In the 17th to 19th centuries, birthmarks were used as proof of royal blood
  • Anne Boleyn, the second wife of King Henry VIII, was considered a witch because of the strawberry mark on her neck
  • Not all birthmark connotations are negative though. In some European countries, it is extremely lucky to touch someone with a birthmark!

While we can’t say that any of these myths are true or false, we can tell you that birthmarks are very common, and can be removed via medical treatments if you wish to.

Laser treatments for birthmarks

Treatments for birthmarks depend on the types of birthmarks, and is usually done via laser treatments. If you’re looking to get a laser treatment for yourself or a loved one to get rid of a birthmark, call us at +6011-22882299, WhatsApp us here, or book an appointment with Dr Loo here!

Dr Loo Keng Shien Consultant Aesthetic Physician

Dr Loo Keng Shien is a Consultant Aesthetic Physician with a special interest in Dermatology and Aesthetic Medicine. She has highly certified qualifications from the American Academy of Aesthetic Medicine, American Academy of Anti-aging Medicine, and in Practical Dermatology from Cardiff University. She currently practices at Peter Ch’ng Clinic in Desa Park City.

Read more about Dr Loo Here.

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