Birthmarks

What are Birthmarks?

Birthmarks are simply areas of discoloration that appear at or near birth or within months. These birthmarks are either due to a collection of blood vessels at the skin surface (red in color), or pigmented (tan, brown)

Vascular birthmarks generally appear as two varieties:

  • Strawberry hemangiomas- appear as bright red dots or growths that often enlarge at different growth rates.
  • Port-wine stains- these frequently are located on the face

It is recommended that parents with babies that have a birthmark that concerns them be examined by a dermatologist to see what course of action (if any) is necessary. Often hemangiomas will slowly enlarge, stop growing and gradually disappear without any treatment. This is always the preferred option. However, if the hemangioma is located in a critical area that interferes with bodily function (near the eye obstructing vision, going to the bathroom), then options to help with its disappearance are discussed. Fortunately, there are several excellent options to help with these that are discussed with parents. The option recommended obviously depends upon the unique features of the hemangioma. Topical medicines are frequently very successful.

Port wine stains (PWS) are highly anxiety-provoking for new parents. Fortunately, options for helping clear this problem re well established. Lasers treatments are available to lighten and improve PWSs.

Pigmented Birthmarks

Birthmarks are not always present from birth; they can will show up after. Some birthmarks will fade away on their own, while others linger into adulthood.

Fortunately, the overwhelming majority of pigmented birthmarks are okay and can simply be managed with observation. Unwanted pigmentations in the skin can be approached with success using different techniques depending on the depth of the discoloration. Different options may include using a light source (Laser or Intense Pulsed Light- IPL), chemical peels, and others.

Birthmarks, if a concern, are best evaluated with their dermatologist. Individuals with birthmarks who are concerned about their appearance should schedule an appointment to see what option is best for them.

Birthmarks, if a concern, are best evaluated with their dermatologist. Individuals with birthmarks who are concerned about their appearance should schedule an appointment to see what option is best for them.

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