Many readers are interested in the following topic: Different Kinds of Birthmarks. We are happy to note, that our authors have already studied the modern research about the topic you are interested in. Based on the information provided in the latest medical digests, modern research and surveys, we provide extensive answer. Keep reading to find out more.
Everything You Need to Know About Birthmarks
Birthmarks are growths that appear on the skin and are present at or shortly after birth. Many birthmarks fall into two categories, vascular birthmarks or pigmented birthmarks.
Birthmarks are common growths or lesions that appear on your skin at birth or shortly after birth. They can occur anywhere on your face, scalp, or body and can vary in color, size, appearance, and shape. Some birthmarks can be flesh-colored but may have a different texture than the rest of your skin.
Some birthmarks are permanent and may get larger over time. Others fade away completely.
Most birthmarks are harmless, but some indicate an underlying medical condition. In rare cases, birthmarks may be cancerous.
In some instances, birthmarks may be removed for cosmetic reasons.
You may have heard tales connecting birthmarks to unmet food cravings, but that’s a myth.
Birthmarks aren’t caused by anything that a pregnant woman does or doesn’t do during her pregnancy. The underlying reason why birthmarks form is unknown.
Are birthmarks genetic?
Some birthmarks are hereditary and run in families, but most aren’t. Very occasionally, some are caused by gene mutations.
For example, some babies born with a type of birthmark called port-wine stains (because they look similar to a splash of wine) may have a rare condition called Klippel-Trenaunay syndrome. This condition is caused by a genetic mutation that isn’t generally inherited.
Another rare condition, Sturge-Weber syndrome, also appears as port-wine birthmarks along a specific branch of nerves and is caused by a different gene mutation. It also doesn’t run in families and can’t be inherited.
Can birthmarks appear later in life?
Birthmarks refer to skin spots that are apparent at birth or shortly afterward. In rare cases, some birthmarks may appear on the skin during childhood. Other types of marks on your skin such as moles may occur later on in life but aren’t considered birthmarks.
- Pigmented birthmarks occur when there’s an overabundance of pigment cells, or melanocytes, in one area. Pigment cells are what give your skin its natural color.
- Vascular birthmarks occur if blood vessels in a particular area of your skin don’t form the way they should. For example, there may be too many blood vessels clustered in one area or the blood vessels may be wider than they should be.
These birthmarks occur when you have more pigment in one part of your skin than in other parts. Types of pigmented birthmarks include:
Moles (congenital nevi)
Moles range in color from pink to light brown or black. They vary in size and may be flat or raised.
Moles can occur anywhere on your face or body. Some moles fade away but others last for life. A change in a mole may sometimes be linked to skin cancer.
Café au lait spots
These birthmarks can be irregular in shape and range in size, and translate as “coffee with milk” in French. They’re often pale brown in color. The darker your skin is naturally, the darker your café au lait spot will be.
This type of birthmark may occur at any time from birth through early childhood. They may become larger in size but often fade. Some children have more than one café au lait spot.
Several café au lait spots may indicate a rare medical condition called neurofibromatosis. Diagnosis depends on the presence of six or more spots. Multiple café au lait spots can also indicate other genetic syndromes .
These flat, bluish-gray spots mostly occur in people with naturally dark skin. They’re not harmful but are sometimes mistaken for bruising.
Mongolian spots typically occur on the lower back and buttocks. They usually fade away within a few years.
Sometimes extra blood vessels will clump together and create a visible cluster. This is called a vascular birthmark. Vascular birthmarks occur in around 40 percent of newborns.
These red or pink patches often occur in the area between the eyes, on eyelids, or on the back of the neck. They’re sometimes referred to as angel kisses or stork bites.
They’re caused by clusters of small blood vessels under the skin. Salmon patches sometimes fade in color and don’t require medical treatment.
These birthmarks may appear pink, blue, or bright red in color. They’re often found on the extremities, head, or neck.
Hemangiomas may start out small in size and flat in shape. Sometimes they grow during the first few months of a baby’s life, becoming elevated and larger. They usually stop growing between 6-18 months.
Many hemangiomas fade away completely by the time a child reaches adolescence. They sometimes leave a pale mark. These marks may be referred to as cherry or strawberry hemangiomas.
Some fast-growing hemangiomas require medical removal to ensure that they don’t interfere with a child’s vision or breathing. Children with multiple hemangiomas on their skin should be checked for internal hemangiomas.
Port-wine stains (nevus flammeus)
Port-wine stains are caused by abnormal formation of small blood vessels under the skin. They can occur anywhere on the body but are often found on the face and neck.
Port-wine stains may start out as pink or red and turn dark red or purple. They don’t fade over time and may become darker if left untreated. The skin may also become very dry, thick, or pebbled in texture.
Port-wine stains that occur on eyelids may require medical treatment or monitoring. Rarely, these types of birthmarks may be associated with genetic conditions.
Different Kinds of Birthmarks
Birthmarks are patches of discolored skin on a child’s body. They may be born with them or they my just appear some months after the baby is born. Birthmarks are quite common, with more than 80% of babies having them. Many birthmarks stay on forever but some fade with time as the baby grows. They can either be pigmented or vascular. Vascular birthmarks come about from blood vessels under the skin’s surface and may be in a range of colors from pink and all the way to pink and bluish. This depends on how deep the blood vessels are. Pigmented birthmarks are as a result of pigment cells developing abnormally and can be gray, brown, black or bluish.
Birthmarks are of different shapes, colors and sizes and have no particular place they can show up. Anywhere is fertile ground. They come with different names but the most common are salmon patches, angel kisses, stork bites and vascular stains appearing on almost 70% of babies. They appear as purple or pink blotches on the skin and come about as a result of dilated capillaries close to the skin. It becomes easier to notice them when the temperature changes or the baby cries. Stork bites are those that appear at the back of the neck and are more likely to go into adulthood. Those that appear on the eyelids and forehead, known as angel kisses, will usually disappear by the age of two years.
Mongolian spots – Appearing as bluish or grayish flat spots on the buttocks or lower back, these are more common in those with dark skin. They fade by school-going age but never quite disappear.
Café au lait spots – These are light brown patches that could also come in groups or multiples. They occur in 20 to 50 percent of babies, may get darker when exposed to the sun and usually reduce in size or fade as the child grows.
Port-wine stains – Also known as nevus flammeus, these start out at birth as pale pink to dark purple patches and usually grow bigger with age. They may also darken, become thick and form small lumps on the skin surface.
Hemangioma – These are growths formed by blood vessels. They are more common in twins, girls and preemies and can vary in size. Compared to other kinds of birthmarks hemangiomas grow very fast. They appear within the first six weeks after birth but only 30 percent may be visible at birth. Many grow for about a year and then begin to reduce in size and turn white, taking between three and 10 years to do so.
Are birthmarks dangerous?
Most birthmarks pose no harm and may even disappear with no intervention within the first years of a child’s life, according to Seth Orlow, a professor of pediatric dermatology at New York University School of Medicine. Like many other occurrences, there are exceptions to this. About 40,000 children in the U.S. have birthmarks that require some form of medical attention. It is therefore of utmost importance that you have your child’s birthmarks checked by a doctor.
How a birthmark is treated will depend on the type of birthmark it is. Hemangiomas, for example, may require laser therapy or surgery. Other treatment options for other types of birthmarks include oral, topical, or oral beta blockers. The surgical methods may, however, leave some scarring.
In the event that your child’s birthmark doesn’t fade, you will have to help them deal with it. It takes a lot of confidence to walk around with a permanent scar on any part of the body. Things become a little more complicated if the scar is somewhere visible and on a child. Children can be brutally honest and this sometimes comes off as insensitive. As a parent, talk to your child about the mark and have them understand what it is. Teach them to explain what it is and to be comfortable in themselves regardless of what anyone else says. They might as well get used to the mark if it is there to stay.