While most birthmarks remain with a person throughout life, they also stay with an individual after death.
Myth: The myth that a birthmark will fade after death may have originated from the short story “The Birthmark” by Nathaniel Hawthorne. The work examines the obsession with human perfection through two characters that are truly devoted to one another. The husband, described as a man of science, appreciates his wife’s ‘great beauty’ but is wholly occupied with the thought of removing her one flaw-a birthmark on her cheek. He creates a potion to remove it, and though filled with consternation the wife drinks it to please her husband. In an ironic twist of fate, the potion does work to remove the birthmark as his wife ultimately takes her last breath.
Fact: Even though most birthmarks are formed by vascular abnormalities, they do not have the ability simply to disappear with the cessation of blood flow.
Fact: Birthmarks are benign tumors of blood vessels and are medically referred to as hemangiomas.
Fact: 10% of hemangiomas will disappear by age one while 90% will disappear by age 10.
Fact: For centuries, birthmarks have been used as a means to identify a body when no other form of identification is present.
“Scars, Tattoos and Birthmarks in Identification – Explore Forensics (UK).” Forensic Science, Crime Scene Investigations and Pathology at Explore Forensics (UK). N.p., n.d. Web. 18 May 2010. http://www.exploreforensics.co.uk/scars-tattoos-and-birthmarks-in-identification.html>.
Hawthorne, Nathaniel. The Birthmark (Tale Blazers). Logan, Iowa: Perfection Learning, 1983. Print.
Leffell MD, David J. “Common Skin Problems.” Dermatology: Yale School of Medicine. Yale School of Medicine, n.d. Web. 19 July 2010. www.dermatology.yale.edu/Images/Chapter%2024%20Common%20Skin%20Conditions_tcm101-36911.pdf.
“The Birthmark .” University of Virginia Library. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 May 2010. http://etext.virginia.edu/toc/modeng/public/HawBirt.html.