Birthmarks are benign irregularities on the skin that appear shortly after birth. They can occur anywhere in the body. They are usually caused by blood vessels, melanocytes, fat, smooth muscle and keratinocytes. They may be flat or raise, have regular or irregular borders and may be of different shades. The different types of birthmarks are red or vascular birthmarks (hemangiomas and port-wine stains), and pigmented birthmarks (moles and café-au-lait spots). They are mostly harmless and may disappear over time.
HOW IS BIRTHMARKS DIAGNOSED?
Some birthmarks are only colorations of the surface of the skin; others are raised above the surface of the skin or extend into the tissues under the skin. The cause of most birthmarks is unknown. Most birthmarks are not inherited. The dermatologist can perform a physical examination to determine the defects.
HOW IS BIRTHMARKS TREATED?
Most birthmarks are not harmful and do not require any treatment. They often fade as a child grows older. However, some birthmarks may need treatment because of their location. For example, a raised birthmark near a child's eye may interfere with his or her ability to see. Vascular birthmarks may require reduction or removal for cosmetic reasons.
DID YOU KNOW?
It is important to help the child overcome and face the embarrassment caused by an abnormal birthmark.