Making mountains out of moles at

Scarlett Johansson, Movie-dom's Moliest Mug?

Moles are lesions composed of pigment cells.   Superstar Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow in the Avengers franchise) has quite a collection. These many moles don't appear dangerous, none have the irregular coloration or shape to suggest a cancerous future. Some faces are overwhelmed by this number of decorative dots. Johansson's facial structure, high cheekbones, and full lips effectively draw attention away from her benign bumps.

Holy Moley Matt Damon

Actor and Oscar-winning screenwriter Damon is haunting in his successful film "Good Will Hunting." It takes little hunting to find his numerous moles. It has been shown that families with irregularly colored moles (called dysplastic moles) have increased rates of melanoma skin cancer. Studies have also established that people with many moles (dysplastic or not) are also at higher risk for melanoma. People with moles should have them checked periodically, especially if any change in shape, size or color.

So just what are those spots on Gwyneth Paltrow's forehead?

What are these spots which are consistently visible in Paltrow's films? Could they be warts contracted during one of the starlet's affairs? Precancerous tumors elicited by sun exposure to this actor's fair skin? Lesions of leprosy acquired while shooting in New Delhi?  Ms. Paltrow's forehead lesions are...moles.  Though the forehead is not the most aesthetically desirable place to have a mole (think Cyclops territory), her two forehead moles are often hard to see. As is common with facial moles, the pigment cells are deep, so the mole itself is flesh-colored. It is highly unlikely that this type of fleshy mole would be pre-cancerous. Clearly her countenance is not quite as defect-free as the Oscar award that she received, but there is no need to make a mountain out of these moles.

Russell Crowe: Maximus has a maximal multitude of moles

Much of the success of the film "Gladiator" is due to the efforts of actor Russell Crowe. He certainly has his share of moles, likely souvenirs from his childhood growing up in New Zealand and Australia. Moles are thought to develop from a genetic predisposition, but enhanced by early sun exposure. What moles we've seen on Crowe appear benign: evenly colored, sharply bordered, and small. Of particular note is the large mole between his eyebrows. Like Paltrow's, this represents another dermal mole, with pigment cells resting deep so the mole is large, protuberant, yet flesh colored. Certainly not the classic beauty mark, it will be interesting to see if Crowe ever elects to have it removed. If this lesion grows any larger, tabloids might start making third eye comments. If he does desire excision, we recommend a sterile scalpel rather than rusty Roman blade.
Not everyone wants their moles. Action star Arnold Schwarzenegger, shown here early in his career, must not have liked this large mole on his jaw. Famous as a killer cyborg, Arnold insured that this birthmark was eventually Terminated.  Surgery, rather than laser, is the way to treat these growths, insuring that the tissue is tested for cancer.


Charismatic crooner Enrique Iglesias surprised legions of swooning fans by having his signature spot sent the way of most pop star's careers. Moles of this size are usually present from birth, hence the name "Birthmarks."  If there are changes in shape or color, change toward melanoma skin cancer is a possibility. Because Enrique's mole showed no signs of irregularity, the surgical removal was probably for cosmetic rather than medical concerns.
In roles from the 1970's, movie legend Jack Nicholson displayed a blue bump on his upper cheek. The blue mole, or blue nevus, is composed of pigment cells that lie deeper in the dermis than regular moles. The wavelength of light that reflects back from deep skin pigment appears azure to our eyes.  How's that for a little physics between friends? While benign (most blue moles do not turn into skin cancer), the dark color can sometimes resemble melanoma skin cancer. Any suspicious pigmented lesion (varied color, shape, border or increasing size) deserves evaluation by a physician.
By "The Shining" (1980), the lesion had been removed.  Note the tiny scar in its place.  Since the pigment in blue moles sits deep in the dermis, an excision with stitches is needed to fully clear the color.  Most patients would be pleased by this result, not going Nicolson-style psychopathic.
Julia Roberts, arguably Hollywood's biggest box office draw, displays one of tinsel town's tiniest lesions. Most cite Roberts' winning smile as a major asset, but we at feel that her subtle mole plays an equally large role in drawing crowds to multiplexes. A classic beauty mark, this small round lesion draws attention to the eyes, the window of an actress' soul and the source of million dollar paychecks.  What makes a discrete mole so beauty-ful?  Funny you should ask, check out our beauty mark slideshow up next...
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If you know of examples of skin lesions in films that are not listed, send a "D-mail:"