Every child has a birthmark, which is a congenital and benign irregularity on the epidermis. This mark commonly occurs at or right after birth. They can appear anywhere on the skin. Most birthmarks are permanent. However, some are temporary and fade when the child grows.
Although birthmarks are usually harmless, some people like to remove them for cosmetic purposes. There are also rare cases where birthmarks are symptoms of an underlying disease. Read on to learn if it is necessary to treat birthmarks.
What Are Birthmarks?
Birthmarks occur because of the overgrowth of blood vessels, fat, muscle, fibroblasts, keratinocytes, or melanocytes. There are two primary categories of birthmarks:
- Red: Vascular birthmarks or overgrown blood vessels.
- Pigmented: Pigmented birthmarks can be found on different parts of the body and have a distinctly different color than your skin.
Types of Birthmarks
There are various classifications of birthmarks under the two primary categories. Most of them are painless and harmful, but some can be a symptom of a medical health issue.
- Strawberry hemangiomas
- Cavernous hemangiomas
- Port-wine stains
- Salmon patches
- Mongolian spots
- Pigmented nevi
- Congenital nevi
- Cafe au lait spots
When to Consider Receiving Treatment for Birthmarks
Birthmark treatment or removal can be performed for cosmetic and medical reasons. Although most birthmarks do not require treatment, and some can fade with time, some parents may be concerned if their child has particularly large birthmarks.
Some birthmarks located in visible areas can adversely impact the physical appearance and lead to low self-confidence and emotional distress. Furthermore, some birthmarks may indicate severe health issues.
Here is a list of birthmarks for which you should consider treatment.
Cafe Au Lait Spots
These birthmarks are permanent and can appear anywhere on your child’s body. They can increase in size. Cafe au lait spots don’t usually need removal. However, many spots can be a sign of neurofibromatosis, a genetic condition where tumors grow on nerves. You should consider taking your child to a doctor if your child has more than six spots.
Congenital nevi are often present at birth. These birthmarks are painless and dark-colored moles, which may appear on your child’s trunk and scalp. If your child has congenital nevi, they are more at risk of developing skin cancer. Consult your doctor to determine if your child has this kind of birthmark.
These birthmarks are permanent. They usually begin pinkish and darken over time. Port-wine stains often appear on the face; however, they can also occur elsewhere on your child’s body. It also thickens the affected skin, causing it to develop a pebbled surface.
Due to the emotional stress they can bring to your child, you might want to consider laser therapy to remove this birthmark. Sometimes, this birthmark may also indicate Sturge-Weber or Klippel-Trenaunay syndrome.
A hemangioma is a red, pink, or bluish birthmark that can usually be seen on the neck, head, arm, or leg. Treatment is usually not required for this kind of birthmark. Still, some hemangiomas can spread, negatively impacting your child’s ability to function. You should consider a medical examination if your child has more than one hemangioma.
Pediatric and Adult Dermatology in Miami
Most birthmarks are harmless, but some can lead to or indicate a higher risk for specific medical concerns. We at Children’s Skin Center are committed to providing you with the latest medications and advanced treatments to address your skin conditions.
Our highly-qualified specialists and staff ensure that every visit is friendly and patient-centered. The Children’s Skin Center offers our patients the best treatments available in a family-friendly atmosphere. To set an appointment, you can call our office at (305) 669-6555 or fill out our online request form.