Birthmarks, as their name implies, are marks that can appear on the skin (epidermis) of a newborn. They can appear anywhere on the skin and vary in size, shape, and color.
Even though they are mostly harmless, birthmarks on your child can be a reason for serious concern to you as a parent. An awkward or unusual mark on the skin can not only have a serious psychological impact on your child as they grow up, but it can also pose a risk of developing into skin cancer.
Let’s talk about what types of birthmarks on your child can be dangerous, and where you can go to get treatment for your child’s birthmarks in Miami.
Can Birthmarks Become Skin Cancer?
Not all types of birthmarks pose a risk for skin cancer. Only a couple types of birthmarks do, i.e., congenital nevi (pigmented birthmarks) and sebaceous nevi.
Nevi are clusters of melanocytes, which are cells that produce melanin – and that is what gives color to your eyes and skin. Anytime you hear the word “cluster” in medicine can be a bit concerning because cancer by definition is when cells suddenly develop into a cluster of cells that grows uncontrollably.
- Congenital nevi. These birthmarks are moles that are present at birth and affect about 1 out of 100 people. These moles may range in color from light to dark brown or almost black. Some of these moles are raised and lumpy, while others are flat and irregular in shape. Even though it is rare, these birthmarks do pose an increased risk of developing into skin cancer depending on their size. Congenital nevi with a width greater than 20 cm have a higher risk of developing into cancer than do smaller ones.That said, children who are born with any kind of mole that is wider than 8 cm have a greater chance of it developing into skin cancer later in life, so be sure to have an evaluation of your child’s skin by a trusted skin doctor.
- Sebaceous nevi. These are an uncommon type of birthmark that usually appears on the scalp. They form as a result of the overgrowth of a sebaceous gland, which is a gland that secretes sebum, or skin oil.This type of birthmark can also pose a risk for skin cancer. In the teen years, the puberty hormones may activate the glands in this birthmark and thereby increase the chances of it growing uncontrollably – thus possibly developing into skin cancer.
What You Can Do About Birthmarks as a Parent
If your child has a birthmark or any kind of skin growth or mark that is an unusual shape, size, or color – and not just a small round mark or mole – then it is in the best interest of your child’s health to have the mark evaluated and possibly treated by a pediatric skin doctor. You can monitor birthmarks by looking for any change in:
- Size, such as an abnormal growth
- Color, like the darkening of the pigment in the birthmark
- Shape, such as if it is raised above the skin or has irregular borders
Treatment for Birthmarks in Miami, FL
If your child has a birthmark and you want to find out its type and whether it’s dangerous or not, contact our dermatologists here at Children’s Skin Center Pediatric and Adult Dermatology. Our dermatologists specialize in treating birthmarks and skin tumors in people of all ages. Our practice is welcoming and kid-friendly.
If you would like to set up a consultation with one of our outstanding dermatologists, call us today at (305) 669-6555 or use our secure appointment request form online now. We look forward to serving you and your family!