Different types of birthmarks:
What are birthmarks?
Birthmarks can be divided into two categories; vascular and pigmented. Read more about each specific birthmark below.
How do you get birthmarks?
Vascular birthmarks are an accumulation of blood vessels under the skin and range from pink to red or bluish in color.
Pigmented birthmarks result from an abnormal development of pigment in the skin and are black, brown or bluish.
80% of babies are born or develop a birthmark in the first few months of life; some are temporary and other permanent.
Different types of baby birthmarks
(Nevus flammeus nuchae) is present in 25-50% of newborns and is usually temporary.
- It is one of the more common birth marks.
- It is usually a flat pink or red birthmark that appears on the neck, eyelid or forehead, baby can be born with it or it may appear in the first few months after birth (see images of birthmarks)
- It is caused by a group of blood vessels that dilate just under the surface of the skin.
- The color might darken when baby cries or with room temperature changes and it may fade when you push on it.
- Doctors can quickly diagnose it with a visual diagnosis.
- Most newborn birthmarks will fade by 18 months, if the birthmark is still visible by 3 years of age it can be removed with laser surgery.
- Neck birthmarks in babies will usually not go away.
Angle kisses (Salmon patch)
(Midline nevus flammeus) is present in 15% of newborns.
- It is a vascular birthmark and is usually a birthmark on eye or forehead of babies (see photos of birthmarks)
- For cause, diagnosis and treatment see stork bites.
(Nevus flammeus) only about 1 in 300 babies are born with this.
- Is usually a birthmark on the face but, can occur anywhere on the body, It gets it's name from the red or purple color that resembles port wine.
- It starts off as a flat pink mark at birth and grows in size and color intensity with passing years. (see pictures of birth marks)
- The skin can become raised and hard as well
- It can also be a sign of a syndrome such as Sturge-Weber syndrome or Klippel-Trenaunay-Weber syndrome.
- It is a vascular anomaly and part of the arteriovenour malformation disorder, where the dilated capillaries are deeper in the skin than those of stork bites and angle kisses.
- A skin biopsy is necessary for diagnosis and in some cases the doctor may do an X-ray of the scull.
- The most effective way of treating and lightening PWS is the flashlamp pumped dye laser.
- The neodymium YAG laser is used to treat nodules in adult birthmarks.
- Stains on the face respond better than stains on the body but, 20% of birthmarks may show no improvement at all.
- If the birthmark is close to the eye or mouth, it can cause deformity or loss of function, these complications are only visible later in life.
(Melanocytic nevus) only one in a 100 babies get born with moles.
- Usually appears in the first 20 years of a person’s life and Moles can be subdermal (under the skin) or a pigment growth on the skin.
- They are formed mostly of a cell named melanocyte and the dark color is caused by the collection of pigment in the spot.
- Doctors can diagnose with a visual test or by using a dermatoscopy.
- Moles that change color could be a cause for concern… read more on cancerous moles here.
Café au lait
Found in 20-50% of newborns.
- Their name is French meaning milky coffee as they are brown birth marks and they are also called giraffe spots or coast of maine spots.
- 6 or more spots before puberty measuring 5mm or after puberty measuring 15mm may be Diagnostics feature of...Neurofibromatosis type 1, McCune-Albriht syndrome, Legius syndrome, Tuberous sclerosis, Fancni anemia, Idiopathic, Ataxia telangiectasia, Benign congenital skin legions, Bloom syndrome, Chediak Higashi syndrome, Congenital naevus, Gaucher disease, Hunter syndrome, Maffucci, -Multiple mucosal neuroma syndrome, Watson syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome.
- To diagnose a doctor will measure and count the spots and this can be treated with a laser.
- Is most common in dark skin babies. *95-100% of Asian babies *90-95% of East American babies *85-90% of Native American babies *50-70% in Hispanic babies *1-10% of Caucasian babies
- Mongolian spots are flat large birth marks with an irregular shape.
- They are mostly a blue birth mark caused by melanocytes, the melanin is usually found in the epidermis but with these spots, they are in the deeper dermis part of the skin.
- They are found on the buttocks, flanks and shoulders.
- They normally disappear in 3 to 5 years from birth.
- They usually appear in the first few weeks after birth, grow rapidly in size and then slowly start to go white and shrink away by the age of 10.
- They are connected to the circulation system and are filled with blood.
- They can be found on the skin as a raised red spot resembling a strawberry or under the skin as a bluish swelling.
- They are also sometimes found on organs such as the liver or larynx.
- The cause of Hemangiomas are currently unknown.
- Some Hemangiomas may break down on the skin causing ulcerations which can be painful if the Hemangioma is deep within the skin.
- It can cause breathing problems if found on the larynx.
- If found on the eye, it can grow and cause amblyopia.
- In very rare cases the mass may be so big that it causes heart failure.
- If it is situated next to bone it can cause erosion of the bone.
- Beta-blockers can reduce size in infants, surgery for the correction of distorted facial features and dye lasers can help with early lesions and to speed up healing.
By Zelda Behr
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