Birthmarks are a common characteristic of our skin, but they’re hardly consistent in how they look. Some are small and can be easily concealed while others are more prominently displayed. Because of this irregularity, it can cause a person to feel self conscious about their appearance. The trend of birthmark tattoos have become an unlikely way for people to have some fun—or completely cover up—their blemish.
Like the birthmark themselves, the tattoos vary in their style and placement. Some people cleverly integrate them into the design of the tattoo. Redditor Mneneon is a fantastic example of this. When he noticed that the birthmark stretching over his skin and arm looked like an imaginary land, he had the outline of it traced in black ink. Now, it really looks a map spreading along his body. Likewise, tattooist Bryn Holman inked a portrait cookie monster as a playful way to engage the Cafe-au-lait spot on a client’s foot.
While a birthmark might be the centerpiece of somebody’s design, another person might prefer it to be completely covered by ink. There are a number of port-wine stain birthmarks whose shape and coloring is the basis for a tattoo. One of the most beautiful examples of this is one that tattooist Jess Hannigan created—a bouquet of red flowers along the arm of her client Sandra. If you didn’t realize that Sandra had the birthmark before, you’d never know after Hannigan finished.
These type of cover ups aren’t the first time we’ve seen people use tattoos to reclaim certain characteristics of their body. Artist David Allen regularly conceals the scars of breast cancer survivors by inking gorgeous designs across their chests.