What are Mongolian Blue Spots?

Malcolm Tatum

Sometimes referred to as Mongolian spots or Mongolian flecks, a Mongolian blue spot is a type of birthmark that is most commonly found in the eastern portions of Asia and Africa, as well as parts of Turkey. This type of birthmark has also been found with some regularity among Native Americans as well as in some people of Polynesian descent. While Mongolian blue spots can be somewhat unusual in shape and texture, they are typically benign and pose no threat whatsoever.

Mongolian spots are dark blue marks that tend to appear on babies of Asian descent, as well as those from Turkey and some parts of Africa.
Mongolian spots are dark blue marks that tend to appear on babies of Asian descent, as well as those from Turkey and some parts of Africa.

In appearance, Mongolian blue spots are distinguished by a shape that is somewhat irregular. The borders of the birthmark are often somewhat wavy. The color of the spot is usually similar to the bluish hue of a bruise, although there are documented instances of a Mongolian fleck that are almost brown or black.

There seems to be no particular predisposition between the sexes when it comes to the presence of Mongolian blue spots. Both males and females have been born with these types of birthmarks. Typically, the spots are found near the lower region of the back, the general area of the buttocks, or on the shoulders. The origin of the birthmarks appears to be the collection of melanocytes in the dermis while the fetus is developing in the womb.

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Mongolian blue spots may appear singly or in clusters that appear to be one larger patch. There is no evidence that a Mongolian blue spot birthmark causes any type of discomfort in terms of pain or itching. Generally, people with the spots pay little or no attention to them, especially when they are located along the area of the lower back. It is not usual for people to mistake the blue spots for bruises, especially if the individual is not aware of any type of connection with a racial group that is more prone to the development of the spots.

While Mongolian blue spots are harmless in and of themselves, recent research indicates that there may be a connection between the development of these spots and several underlying health issues. Conditions such as Niemann-Pick Syndrome, GM1 gangliosidosis, and mucopolysaccharidosis have all been found with a fair amount of regularity among children who are born with blue spots.

As with any type of birthmark, it is sometimes possible to employ plastic surgery to remove Mongolian blue spots. However, since the blue spots tend to appear in areas other than the face, hands, and forearms, it is usually not recommended to waste time and resources removing the birthmarks. Clothing will often cover the birthmarks easily, making them a non-issue when in a public setting.

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Discussion Comments


A lot of people these days are at least somehow related to people of all kinds of racial descent, so to me the idea of people other than Asians is not too surprising. For example, the majority of the population is somehow related to Charlemagne, and every time there is a presidential election we find out that the two candidates are 17th cousins four times removed. As I said, not too surprising- few people are "pure" blood of any one kind of racial background anymore.


@anon86255, I imagine some DNA tests might at least tell you if you have traits most commonly found in people of Asian descent, beyond that I don't really know.


i was born with one of these. I'm a white guy, but every one says i really don't look it. my father doesn't know who his father is. is there any way of tracing back to where he may have come from? Like a blood test or anything?

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