Common Birthmarks and Removal Options for Baton Rouge Patients
Each person enters the world with physical characteristics that are uniquely their own. Whether present from birth or appearing over time, birthmarks are a feature that approximately 10% of the population possess at birth, and almost 100% eventually develop, yet no two are exactly the same. Although most pose no health risk, it is still recommended to have birthmarks evaluated by a dermatologist to gain a better understanding of the type and cause of each spot.
There are reasons, both medical and cosmetic, that birthmark removal may be the appropriate option for you. In addition to consulting a dermatologist, it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with the different types of birthmarks and removal options that are available.
Vascular Birthmarks- Caused by abnormal development of blood vessels, vascular birthmarks are flat, pink or red marks that can be found anywhere on the body. The most common are port-wine stains. Vascular birthmarks usually deepen in color and do not disappear over time. Some can cause medical concerns depending on the size and location.
Hemangiomas - Hemangiomas are not visible until a couple of weeks after birth. These most often appear externally on the head or neck but can also be found on internal organs. It is possible for hemangiomas to vanish over time, but the process can take years in many instances.
Macular Stains - Most commonly found on the neck or eyelids, macular stains usually disappear on their own without requiring medical intervention. The patches are flat, pink in color, and vary in size.
Pigmented Birthmarks - Pigmented birthmarks vary in size and location, while rarely requiring medical attention (unless changing size or color). These include cafe’-au-lait spots, Mongolian spots, and moles. Some may disappear over time while others may not.
Whether medically necessary, preventive, or to improve self-esteem, there are many reasons why birthmark removal may be the correct course of action.
Birthmark Removal Options
Pulsed Dye Laser - Pulsed Dye Lasers are an effective option for minimizing, or reducing entirely, red discoloration caused by birthmarks. Treatment can take as little as 10 minutes, and Vbeam Pulsed Dye Lasers deliver a cooling sensation to soothe and protect skin during administration. Most importantly, the results are usually permanent. PDL treatment can be appropriate for vascular birthmarks as well as telangiectasia, warts, scars, rosacea, and skin discolorations.
Q Switched ND:Yag Laser - In addition to sounding like a play Drew Brees would call in the huddle, the Q Switched ND:Yag Laser removes discolorations by targeting only pigmented lesions using pulses of light. This allows for removal of unwanted blemishes while keeping the surrounding, healthy tissue unaffected. Through a course of multiple treatments (10-15 minutes in duration and 4-8 weeks apart), the light will gradually cause lesions to fade in color.
Additional note: if your discoloration happens to be voluntary and takes the shape of barbed wire, the Q Switched ND:Yag Laser is also a great option for tattoo removal.
Intense Pulsed Light Therapy - Commonly referred to as “lunchtime procedures”, IPL is the leading cosmetic laser treatment due to the minimal amount of time required for the procedure and recovery. This non-invasive therapy uses high-intensity pulses of light to reach tissue located deep within the skin. This reduces or eliminates discolorations and other imperfections on the skin surface.
Freckles and lentigos are common candidates for IPL therapy. Rosacea, acne, excess hair, and facial lines can also be treated using this method. Results can be seen after each session and are usually maintained with annual treatment.
Surgical Excision of Birthmarks - Surgical removal of birthmarks can be considered when other methods have proved ineffective. Larger hemangiomas or those that are developing internally will require surgical excision and general anesthesia. You should first seek consultation from an experienced dermatologist when considering surgical excision of a birthmark.
If you’re considering birthmark removal to improve physical or emotional well-being in the Baton Rouge area, call the Dermasurgery Center office to schedule your consultation.