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Blemished Beauty

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On a very few occasions, you have characters who aren't by any means Hollywood Homely at best or the Gonk or even The Grotesque at worst. No, they actually look pretty cute, maybe even attractive, but they have a noticeable body anomaly. However, it doesn't affect their overall attractiveness very much. In fact, it may even add some fascinating appeal to them.

It may rank from a scar to a missing limb or body part, including a prosthetic or some sort of Wound That Will Not Heal. It can be a missing eye, mismatched eyes, birthmarks, burn marks, an additional body part or external organ; you name it, anything that qualifies as cosmetic alteration to their body while still keeping an attractive appearance.

They may often feel insecure about it despite other people assuring them they're still pretty, or at the opposite, use it as a driving force, and even be unwilling to get rid of it. Others might just not make a big deal out of it because they don't care much about their self-image.

Truth in Television, as the existence of several fashion models and other people viewed as beautiful with a physical deformity or impairment can attest.

Bear in mind that this trope is about unusual cosmetic alterations, so unless it's caused by a medical condition, an injury, or any self-inflicted or outside intervention, this doesn't cover Big Beautiful Woman, Hollywood Thin (though it could be covered under Nothing but Skin and Bones), Statuesque Stunner, Giant Woman, Huge Schoolgirl, female characters that are shorter than usual, eye irises of different colors, etc.

Also, since one must retain some level of attractiveness for this trope to apply, Body Horror should stay subtle or be as limited as possible.

Compare Sexy Flaw, which is about imperfections in a broader sense, Freakiness Shame, when the character has something supernatural about their body (horns, wings, etc) and are ashamed by it; other characters may say that the character is beautiful even with all that stuff. Contrast Ugly Cute where a character's physical appeal stems from its perceived ugliness, Informed Deformity, which is when a deformity isn't obvious to the audience, Fan Disservice, which highlights ugliness more than attractiveness, Red Right Hand, where a person's deformity marks them as being evil, and most definitely Beauty Is Never Tarnished, which is an aversion/inversion in the case of female characters. May invoke I Am Not Pretty and I Just Want to Be Beautiful.

See also "Imperfect Beauty" on the Sliding Scale of Beauty.

Not to be confused with Wasted Beauty, in which an attractive character has a personality flaw or quirk that turns off most of their potential suitors.

Sub-Trope of Attraction to Outliers.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Black Lagoon: Balalaika is a beautiful blonde, blue-eyed woman. The right side of her face, breasts, neck and upper chest, and right leg are covered by burn scars from having to take a grenade during her tour in Afghanistan back when she was a member of Spetsnaz, resulting in her nickname of "Fry-Face". It is not advisable to call her this to her face.
  • Buso Renkin Tokiko Tsumura has a long thin scar that extends from one cheek, across the bridge of her nose to the other cheek. It was inflicted by a homunculus trying to kill her and was the first time she manifested her Valkyrie Skirt from the kakugane that was being used to heal her. She could have used the kakugane to eliminate the scar but chose to keep it as a reminder to her of what had happened.
  • Fairy Tail has several different characters who suffer physical injuries but still look rather attractive. Some of the most notable examples are below:
    • Erza Scarlet as a child lost her right eye while being tortured in the Tower of Heaven, so she had to get her missing eye replaced with an artificial one once she joined the Fairy Tail guild. She is still treated in the series as a Dude Magnet who is noted for her beauty, though it likely helps that the eye is nigh identical to her original save for the fact she can't cry out of it.
    • Future Lucy, even after suffering the loss of her right hand in her Bad Future, is still depicted as being just as much The Cutie in terms of looks as her present Alternate Self is shown to be. It certainly helps that she uses her cloak to hide the handicap from everyone which makes the loss of her right hand less noticeable.
    • Future Rogue is an Evil Cripple thanks to suffering an Eye Scream by losing his right eye but is still depicted as a handsome man, helped along by the fact he tends to cover most of it with his bangs. Unfortunately, since he's a villain, it's also a case of Beauty Is Bad with his missing right eye being his Red Right Hand.
    • Zig-Zagged with Simon as in the manga, his appearance is more brutish and his upper teeth could usually be seen over his metal jaw making him closer to Facial Horror early on before getting more attractive later. In the anime, however, Simon got Adaptational Attractiveness which gave him a more scarred bishonen type look, which made him more attractive from the start in spite of the injuries to his face.
  • Downplayed with Ed in Fullmetal Alchemist. After the events of the Promised Day, he winds up with a considerably large scar over part of his chest and shoulder where his automail used to be before regaining the arm. His looks aren't especially commented on, though at that point he's grown enough that he doesn't look like a small child anymore and is taller than Winry.
  • The Great Snake's Bride: In a flashback in chapter 19, one of the villagers comments that nobody would want to marry the otherwise attractive Miyo because of the huge scar on her forehead, which is another reason she gets sent as a sacrifice to Daija.
  • Inuyasha: Though not seen often, Sango has a massive scar on her back from where she was stabbed by the weapon of her possessed brother.
  • Leijiverse: Space Pirate Emeraldas sports both the iconic willowy "Matsumoto Woman" looks and a rugged Dueling Scar across her face, while her own series reveals that the rest of her body is also covered in old battle scars.
  • My Hero Academia: Todoroki has a prominent burn scar over one eye. This doesn't stop Mina from considering him the "preeminent pretty-boy" of the class.
  • My-HiME. Nao Yuuki, for a good many episodes, is short an eye after it's lost in a battle with her fellow HiME. It is restored when Mashiro resurrects everyone who has fallen in her bid to rid the world of the Obsidian Prince once and for all.
  • Yusei Fudo, the Tall, Dark, and Handsome hero of YuGiOh 5Ds, gets branded with a criminal mark a few episodes into the first season. He spends the rest of the first two arcs (before the good guys are able to radically change their society) being met with mixtures of horror and disgust from most strangers as soon as they lay eyes on him.

    Comic Books 
  • The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: In the second story arc, after Quatermain has sex with Mina for the first time, he is taken aback to see her neck completely Covered in Scars (given to her by Dracula himself). She is offended and gives him the cold shoulder until he explains that his late wife had burn scars all over her own neck and he's astounded she shares it with the second woman he's ever loved. Romance ensues.
  • Captain America: Viper/Madame Hydra is quite beautiful, save for scarring over the upper right side of her face (which she usually hides behind her bangs).
  • Preacher: Billy-Bob's sister is a perfectly attractive young woman, except she (like her profoundly inbred family) was born with only one eye. She also doesn't really see the world as it is, i.e., some people as giant talking chickens, and the hideously deformed Arseface as a handsome young man.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Agatha in The Grand Budapest Hotel has a port-wine stain in the shape of Mexico on her cheek. She's played by Saoirse Ronan, and so is lovely despite the mark.
  • In The Mountie, the beautiful Amethyst deliberately scarred the left side of her face so men would not find her attractive anymore. She spends much of the film with the left side of her face covered by a scarf.
  • In Ready Player One (2018), Art3mis is very shy about meeting IRL due to a birthmark on her face which she usually hides behind her hair. Wade tells her she has nothing to be ashamed of.
  • Unforgiven: An attractive prostitute gets slashed across the face by an angry john, leaving her scarred and likely unable to continue working as a prostitute. William Munny, however, still finds her attractive.

    Light Novel 
  • Baccano!: Nice Holystone is a pyromaniac and quite very attractive. As a teenager, she was in an accident with her explosives that resulted in her arms and face being scarred, and shrapnel penetrating one of her eyes. She currently wears an eyepatch over the empty socket and glasses to help her see. This does not take away from her looks.
  • Durarara!!: Exaggerated. Being a dullahan, Celty's head is naturally apart from the rest of her body, but both are very nice looking. Several characters fall madly in love with the head on its own, and not for one second do they wish it were attached to a body, content to just stare at it. Shinra, on the other hand, is in love with the rest of Celty, despite most others being shocked and afraid by her headless nature. He doesn't even see her lack of a head as an issue and prefers it when Celty isn't wearing her helmet to hide it, although she admits she fears he just has a fetish for headless women.

  • Beware of Chicken: As it's a xianxia world, freckles are generally considered to be a blemish, to the point where Meiling's etiquette lessons include specific training in calmly handling insults based on the freckles across the bridge of her nose. However, Jin is originally from Canada, and finds them to be cute. Ironically, these freckles turn out to mark Meiling as the descendant of an ancient and extremely powerful cultivation bloodline.
  • Asenath from Binder of Shame is a ravishing beauty if you can look past her stunted right arm, which the narrator, cannot. She boinks the entirety of Ab3's gaming group except for Ab3 himself, even the exceedingly nasty El Disgusto and infinitely contemptible Weaselly in retaliation for his blatant disgust for her.
  • In the Discworld, this is the trademark of Igorinas, who have the same DIY approach to self-improvement as their brothers. Except for the fact they place a far greater emphasis on the cosmetic and aesthetic aspects of their trade. The typical Igorina is usually stunningly beautiful and pleasing to the eye in almost all respects. But she will also deliberately carry one visible imperfection, usually carefully exaggerated, so as to indicate this is not accidental. Otherwise, Igorina argues: "Who'll be able to tell I'm an Igorina ?"
  • Gods Of Jade And Shadow: The Physical God Hun-Kamé is missing an eye, ear, and finger from his brother's betrayal, but is so divinely beautiful that the protagonist doesn't even notice his mutilations until he points them out, and repeatedly forgets about them later.
  • Harry Potter: Bill Weasley is noted to be quite handsome, even after his face is badly scarred in a werewolf attack. His wife, a supernaturally beautiful part-Veela herself, fondly says that the scars make him look brave. Harry himself could also count, as his iconic lightning-bolt scar is seen more as a badge of honor than a deformity.
  • The House on the Lagoon: Isabel has a cousin named Margarita come to her home to live and care for her young son. Margarita is beautiful but a large birthmark on her face mars her beauty. Isabel's husband Quintín thinks Margarita should get the mole removed so that their son does not grow up taking ugliness for granted. At first Margarita is reluctant because she feels it brings her good luck but finally agrees. Sadly, she dies shortly after the surgery.
  • The Infernal Devices has Sophie, who has a noticeable scar on her face from a spurned suitor. Tessa's narration emphasizes her beauty despite this.
  • In The Jewel of Seven Stars by Bram Stoker, Queen Tera was considered extremely beautiful (and still retains her beauty as a mummy) in spite of having seven fingers on one hand and seven toes on one foot. She even saw it as her trademark, rather than a flaw, especially given that seven is a magical number.
  • The Lunar Chronicles: Princess Winter is noted to be even more beautiful due to her facial scarring.
  • Malediction Trilogy: Tristan is a troll prince and as such, he is inhumanly beautiful. At one point, however, he gets whipped with an iron-tipped whip, which results in a network of scars on his back and torso - as well as other scars on his wrists from iron manacles. He is very self-conscious, but his human wife thinks he is still incredibly handsome.
  • Moondial: Sarah has a birthmark on her face, and has been brought up believing that this makes her some sort of humanoid abomination. Her governess has taught her that she must never look in a mirror because she'd break it and summon the Devil. In fact she's still a pretty girl, as she realises when Minty finally shows her her reflection.
  • Shades of Magic: Agent Peacock Alucard Emery gets a full-body network of silver scars from fighting off the Big Bad's possession. His lover tells him he likes the effect, so Alucard jokes about starting a trend.
  • Tales of the Otori: Kaede remains a legendary beauty even after her scalp is badly burned in a fire. Her husband doesn't mind at all, though she herself prefers to wear wigs and feels some insecure about her scars.
  • Ciri from The Witcher series is a beautiful girl until her face is very messily scarred by Stefan Skellen's throwing star in Tower of the Swallow. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has scaled down the degree of her disfigurement to a stylish Rugged Scar, however.
  • Many Warrior Cats fan artists depict Brightheart (who has a heavily scarred face, a tattered ear, and a missing eye) as a feline version of this, and even in canon, her mate Cloudtail still thinks she's beautiful despite these injuries.
  • In Wereling (2009), battle-angel Moriel is described as supernaturally beautiful, despite the huge scar down her face (and less noticeable ones on other parts of her body).
  • In Wolfsangel, the slave Saitada deliberately disfigured herself so she wouldn't be raped (again). It kind of worked; half her face is still exceptionally beautiful (and a predator muses that "if [she] were positioned right..."), but the other half is charred and bloody-eyed. In this case, the trope is symbolic of her dual nature: she is a traumatized slave, but she also becomes an oracle and a god's lover.

    Live-Action TV 
  • House of the Dragon: Prince Aemond Targaryen lost his left eye in a childhood fight. He grows up into a Long-Haired Pretty Boy. His Eyepatch of Power and the scar that peaks out around it do not detract from his good looks. If anything, it just makes him look dangerous and sexier. On the rare occasion he removes the eyepatch, you can see the sapphire he wears as a Glass Eye and the Creepy Blue Eye makes him look striking and unnerving. This is a Red Right Hand—but a very attractive one, with a Fashionable Asymmetry element.
  • Adar from The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power is an intentional example to differentiate him from the other orcs. He is the most Demihuman looking orc in a Tolkien work until now, and his looks are the first clue of the origins of the Orcs. He is a corrupted Elf from Beleriand, and unlike the other orcs he kept many of his Elvish good looks despite some minor Body Horror, at worst being a Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette with long hair.
  • New Girl: Invoked in "Wig". Schmidt recounts that when he first met Cece, he was so stunned by her beauty that he would invent all sorts of flaws to make her more relatable. They try the same trick to get Nick to be more comfortable around Reagan by telling him Reagan's hair is fake.
    Schmidt: You know, when we first met, I had to pretend that all kinds of things were wrong with you just so I wouldn't freak out. You know, like, I gave you a glass eye for a while. You had a wooden foot for a short period of time. There was one week where I pretended that you were a Democrat.
    Cece: ...I am a Democrat.
  • The Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Wrongs Darker Than Death Or Night" reveals that Kira Nerys' mother Meru was a very attractive woman, despite a small scar that she would hide with her hair. Gul Dukat used a dermal regenerator to deal with that when he took her as a "comfort woman".
  • Star Trek: Voyager took aboard the female Borg Seven-Of-Nine. At first, she came with all the many cybernetic appendages that typify Borg, but over time, these were removed and replaced with regenerated tissue or more natural-looking bionetic implants. Seven is mostly seen with a residual interface around her right eye, and little else. Seven is played by the pretty and shapely Jeri Ryan.

    Video Games 
  • Eve's design in Blaster Master Zero II invokes this trope. The mutant virus disfigured half her body, and while the worst of it is contained inside a new mechanical arm, its effect can be seen mainly in her right eye. Earlier concept designs kept that part of her face hidden behind her hair, but that was opted out of her final design to not make her look meek.
  • Darkest Dungeon: The Shieldbreaker was a Head-Turning Beauty and a graceful dancer who was coveted by all kinds of men. She was highly prized by powerful men and was held captive and traded around like property. One day, she manages to escape but loses a hand in the process. The experience was traumatic, but it was liberating for her: while she's no longer the flawless beauty she was once was, she was no longer an object to be coveted and was finally free.
    At last, I finally understand: a thing cannot be truly beautiful until it is broken.
  • Dragon Age: Inquisition has Cullen and Cassandra - companions of the Inquisitor who are acknowledged in-universe to be considerably attractive, and who each have facial scarring. Their scars are indicators of their respective experiences in battle but do little to detract from their appearance. Fellow warrior the Iron Bull takes it even further, as he is Covered in Scars and missing an eye, but still attracts a great deal of attention from both male and female members of the Inquisition. The player may also, during character creation, give facial scarring to the Inquisitor while otherwise making them incredibly good-looking, which gets taken even further at the end of Trespasser when the Inquisitor loses their left arm.
  • Baiken in the Guilty Gear series has a scar over her left eye, which she therefore can't open (she gets an eyepatch in later entries), and lacks her right arm, making her the poster child for Handicapped Badass, but otherwise she's quite a looker.
  • Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart: Rivet's entire right arm is replaced by a robotic prosthetic, and yet when she and Ratchet meet face-to-face for the first time, they're so distracted that it never gets mentioned, and when they finally work up enough courage to have a proper conversation, their primary objective (rebuilding the Dimensionator) takes priority.
  • In Saints Row: The Third and Saints Row IV, it's possible to give the player character facial scars through Character Customization, potentially making them fall under this trope, depending on how the player decides to model them.
  • sora
    • Sham is noted for having burn scars on the left side of her body, though how severe it is depends on the artist (some artwork depicts it going all the way down her body, while others merely restrict it to her left cheek). Even then, she still looks quite cute and, as mentioned in the Image Song "Ultimate Weapon Girl", is determined not to let that get in her way.
    • Alte is shown to have a burn scar over her left eye (which is otherwise hidden with her bangs) in concept art and on her plushie. Despite this, she's still shown to be quite attractive.
    • Nath had both her arms amputated when she was made into a replacement Ultimate Weapon. Other than that and the dull eyes, she's not too bad-looking and has her fans.

    Visual Novels 
  • The attractive ojou Katja from Missing Stars wears a medical eyepatch over one eye.
  • Katawa Shoujo: Hanako has severe burn scars over the right-hand side of her body, from her head to her legs. However, she is still drawn as a typically cute girl and the main character Hisao finds her very beautiful.

    Web Animation 
  • RWBY:
    • Weiss Schnee has a vertical scar running down her left eye, which was received during the White Trailer while fighting an giant animated suit of armour known as an Arma Gigas. It doesn't stop her attracting the attentions of Jaune Arc and Neptune Vasilias in Volumes 1-3, who both independently call her "Snow Angel". In Volume 4, she also attracts the attention of Henry Marigold, who thinks she's "pretty".
    • Like the fire she's associated with, Yang Xiao Long favours asymmetry as a mark of beauty, so her fashion choices reflect this aesthetic. After coming to terms with her Volume 3 injuries, she turns it into a feature as part of her asymmetrical design. It doesn't stop her turning heads; a bandit in Volume 5 unsuccessfully makes a pass at her because he thinks her appearance is "just right", and her eventual girlfriend Blake Belladonna finds her absolutely gorgeous. In Volume 3, she loses her right arm when Beacon Academy is destroyed. Once she adapts, she repaints her plain cyberarm a vivid yellow with black accents.
    • In Volume 8, Nora Valkyrie absorbs so much electricity that her Semblance is pushed to its limit and quickly shatters; she's left with scars on her upper torso, arms and neck that are akin to Lichtenberg figures. It doesn't put anyone off her appearance, and she doesn't make any effort to hide them. The event contributes to her Love Interest, Ren, finally admitting he loves her.


    Western Animation