Birthmarks, like people, come in many different sizes, shapes, and colors. Some are small and barely noticeable, while others are prominent and can cause patients to feel self-conscious. Some may fade or even completely disappear as the years go by, whereas others will never go away on their own. Most pose no health risk. However, there are others that due to size, type, and placement, may need to be addressed as they begin to cause medical concerns. In all, birthmarks are as unique as the individuals who have them.
Types of Birthmarks
Understanding the type of birthmark that you have will help you better understand how or if it should be treated.
Vascular Birthmarks – Vascular birthmarks are caused by abnormal development of blood vessels. The most common of this type are port wine stains. These birthmarks are flat, pink or red marks found anywhere on the body at birth. These do not disappear over time. Instead, they darken to a dark red or even purple. Depending on the location and size, these may be troublesome for some patients, but there are treatment options available.
Hemangiomas – Hemangiomas are not immediately apparent at birth. Instead, they typically develop a couple of weeks after. The cause of hemangiomas are tiny, rapidly growing blood vessels. Most often located on the head or neck, these may also occur on internal organs. Hemangiomas are the most common infant tumor, and although they can shrink or disappear over time, this process can often take years.
Macular Stains – Macular stains, commonly known as salmon patches, often resolve on their own and pose no medical concern. These patches are flat, pink-colored, and vary in size. They are most commonly found on the back of the neck or the eyelids. Those on the eyelids tend to resolve more quickly.
Pigmented Birthmarks – Other birthmarks can include moles, Mongolian spots, or café-au-lait spots. These can range in color and location. Some resolve on their own while others do not. These types of birthmarks are rarely a source of concern unless they are changing in size or color.
For birthmarks that are affecting health or self-esteem, there are removal options available. The two most relied upon methods for birthmark removal are laser treatment and surgical excision. While most common birthmarks such as port wine stains that are located close to the skin’s surface may be treatable with lasers, others such as particular forms of hemangiomas may require a surgical removal. And all birthmarks that are changing in size, shape, or color should be evaluated by a physician.
Learn More about Birthmark Removal
Each birthmark is unique. Some may go away on their own; some may require treatment, and others can stay with you for life without ever causing a problem. If you would like to have a birthmark removed due to aesthetic or health concerns, contact our Baton Rouge dermatology office or Lafayette dermatology office to schedule your consultation and treatment.