Call it what you will: a mole, a lesion, a melanocytic nevus (say that one five times fast). We prefer to refer to a small, brown, raised spot on the face as a beauty mark. Whether it sits above the eyebrow, off-center on the chin, on the cheek, or — in the case of birthday girl Cindy Crawford, who turns 49 today — next to the mouth, that little naturally occurring facial accessory is just too glamorous to be called a word that’s synonymous with a burrowing, bug-eating animal.
There’s nothing intrinsically fancy about a beauty mark. In medical terms, most are the type of melanocytic nevi called compound nevi, slightly raised collections of melanocytes (melanin-forming cells) that range from tan to black in color. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, most appear before your 20th birthday, and those early-forming moles are less likely to develop melanoma than those that form later in life.
Thanks to some sexy beauty influencers over the years, those of us with facial (sweet) spots have the distinct honor of calling them beauty marks — and being proud of them. But, compound nevi haven’t always enjoyed such a fashionable standing. Historically, they’ve been on quite a reputation roller coaster. Read on to learn the turbulent story of the beauty mark. It's what Cindy would want you to do.