Health A to Z

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Birthmarks

Birthmarks are natural marks on the skin since birth or soon afterward. Most birthmarks are harmless and disappear without specific treatments, but some might require remedy.

Birthmarks types 

Salmon patches:

  • Pink or red patches often appear on a baby’s eyelids, neck, or head
  • These are very common and standard among babies 
  • Typically, salmon patches fade away by the age of two when there are on the eyelids or forehead
  • Can take longer to fade when they appear on the head or neck

Raised red lumps (hemangiomas):

  • Blood vessels that form a red raised lump 
  • Can appear soon after birth 
  • Typically look red on dark and light skin
  • These are more common in girls, low birth weight babies, and premature babies
  • They usually look bigger during the first 12 months and disappear around the age of 7
  • Rarely do they appear under the skin and make the skin look purple or blue
  • Might require treatment if they affect feeding, breathing, or vision

Cafe-au-lait spots:

  • These are dark or light brown patches that typically can appear anywhere on the body
  • More common among children, and many have one or two
  • They look darker on the dark skin
  • It can be in different shapes and sizes 
  • It might be a sign of neurofibromatosis type 1 when a child has six or more spots.

 Raised red lumps (hemangiomas):

Blue-grey spots:

  • It appears blue-grey on the skin, just like a bruise
  • They often appear on the bottom, arms, legs, and lower back 
  • They are from birth 
  • More common in babies with darker skin 
  • Doesn’t require any treatments; they usually go away by the age of four
  • These are not a sign of any health condition

These marks will be recorded on the medical history.

Congenital moles:

  • Typically appear as black or brown mole due to overgrowth of pigment cells in the skin 
  • It might look darker on dark skin
  • Can turn darker, hairy, and raised, particularly during puberty
  • It might develop into skin cancer if they appear large 
  • It doesn’t require any treatment unless there is a risk of skin cancer 

Consult a doctor if

  • You are worried about your birthmark 
  • It affects your mouth, eye, or nose
  • Your birthmark is bigger, lumpier, or darker than before
  • Your birthmark is painful and sore
  • Your child has six or more cafe-au-lait spots

If required, medications, laser therapy, and surgery are some primary treatments for birthmarks.

 

Reviewed by – Dr. Priyanka, MBBS MD Microbiology
Page last reviewed: 16 JULY 2022