Mongolian Birthmark Myth

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The Mongolian birthmark myth is also known as  “Хөх толбо”. According to Korean mythology, the birthmark looks like a bruise placed on the infant’s buttock.

It was formed when a shaman spirit, invoked by people during childbirth, slapped the unborn’s behind in order to expedite the process of the baby being born.

Mongolian birthmarks or Mongolian spots are non-blanching hyperpigmented patches that are located over the gluteal area. It is shown right after the birth or in the first weeks of the baby’s life. These birthmarks are most prominent around the toddler’s first year, and then gradually recede. Most lesions will fade by early childhood. 

Mongolian birthmarks or Mongolian spots are congenital erythematous blemishes of the skin. It is a benign, circumscribed area of darkened pigment, which involves the epidermis and upper dermis on one side of the body only. 

Mongolian spots develop on over 50% of all dark-skinned babies within two weeks after birth, usually appearing on both buttocks. The color is a blue to a grayish color in darker skin types and a lighter brown in lighter skin types. 

They can fade gradually without treatment by puberty but this varies from case to case depending upon the original intensity of the lesion at birth.

Can a white baby have a Mongolian spot?

Yes, it can but it’s very rare. Mongolian blue spots or slate gray nevi are found in about 10% of white babies.  So it is possible for a white baby to pass on the Mongolian birthmark myth. However, it is not so representable. 

When it comes to Hispanic babies, about 50% of them have Mongolian spots, and around 90 to up 100% of Black and Asian babies are born with these birthmarks.

On the other hand, many scientists argue that all babies have some kind of birthmarks because of pigmentation, but it is not seen with the naked eye.

The blue spots are caused by melanocytes or pigment-producing cells that lie just under the skin’s surface in the layer called the epidermis. They’re not related to moles, which are clumps of pigment cells found in deeper layers of skin.

Also, moles can appear anywhere on your baby’s body while Mongolian birthmarks appear only on the buttocks and base of her spine at birth and fade over time.

Are Mongolian birthmarks hereditary?

Slate gray nevi is a hereditary developmental condition that results from melanocytes being trapped in the dermis as they migrate into the epidermis from the neural crest.

The cells that cause melanocytes migrate into the epidermis from the neural crest during fetal development. The migration continues throughout fetal development and persists for one year after birth. 

During this time, pigment-producing cells may be trapped in the dermis as they attempt to pass through it en route to their final destination in either the epidermis or hair bulbs. This trapping results in slate-gray macules where pigment-producing cells have been unable to pass through the dermal layer.

Can Indian babies have Mongolian spots?

Mongolian birthmark myth can apply to all racial groups. However, as the name says itself it is most common among Native American and Asian babies. 

Mongolian spots are the most common pigmented skin lesions that affect infants. They are usually evident right after the birth or after a few weeks of the baby’s life.

Mongolian spots are also known as congenital dermal melanocytosis of dermal melanocytosis. They are caused by an overgrowth of pigment cells at the middle layer of your baby’s skin (dermis).

The increase in pigmentation is typically seen on the back and buttocks appearing like blue/black bruises or flat patches.

What race has Mongolian spots?

Mongolian blue spots are most represented in babies born in Native America, Asia, East India, Hispanics, and Africa. The reason why these birthmarks have a specific color is from the collection of melanocytes beneath the skin’s surface.

In most cases, babies have these marks on their back, buttocks, hips, and shoulder blades. Mongolian spots are often mistaken for bruises, but this is a false statement. These markings show up with a blue color under the baby’s skin.

They usually fade in time and disappear by the age of one year old. If they do not, there could be something else wrong that needs to be looked into.

What do birthmarks mean?

An infant’s birthmark is a discoloration that develops on the baby’s skin shortly after birth or in the first few weeks of its life. They are usually harmless, and they can appear anywhere on one’s body or face.

Some of them are permanent while some get larger as they grow up. Birthmarks can be very different, from shape and size to color and its overall appearance.

Birthmarks are caused by a change in the melanin or blood vessels in one’s skin. Some marks could be present in the baby since he was in his mother’s womb and they can disappear once he comes out. But in some cases, they may last throughout one’s lifetime. 

There are different types of birthmarks such as strawberry marks, café-au-lait spots, Mongolian spots, and nevus flammeus, etc. However, port wine stains are most common among all birthmarks. They occur due to excessive development of capillaries which causes redness on the child’s face.


Freckles, moles, birthmarks, and even eye color are beautiful features that mother nature has given to us. Mongolian birthmark myth and its spots have been one of the most popular amongst them all. They represent hyperpigmented patches that usually appear in one’s back or in the gluteal area. 

The Mongolian birthmark myth is a story about a shaman spirit that has slapped the baby’s bottom to speed up the birth process, so the baby can get out of the mother’s womb faster. That shaman spirit is also known as Samsin Halmoni, whom people pray to during childbirth. 

This birthmark, which somehow reminds us all of a bruised spot, is mostly represented in Asian and African American babies. However, there are also chances for other races to develop these birthmarks, but less frequently. 

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