What Are Birthmarks & Its Different Types?


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Have you noticed certain spots on your baby’s body? Are you curious and clueless about what causes birth marks and wonder if it’s normal? If you are intrigued about your baby’s birthmark and want to know what is a birthmark, then read on to know some interesting facts about the same.

What Are Birthmarks?

A birthmark is a kind of spot or blemish on the surface of the skin. It is mostly noticeable at the time of birth, hence the name birthmark. In some infants, a birthmark may appear a few days after birth.

Most newborns have a vascular birthmark. It is the pink, red or even purple blemish or spot that appears due to an abnormal blood vessel that lies just under the surface of the skin. Some newborns also have a pigmented birthmark at the time of birth. A pigmented birthmark is mostly brown in color. It appears due to the clustering of various pigment cells. Doctors and skin experts are yet to ascertain the exact cause of birthmarks.

What Are The Different Types Of Birthmarks?

Here are some of the most common types of birthmarks:

1. Café Au Lait Spot:

As the name suggests, a café au lait spot birthmark is light brown or milky in color. It is mostly oval in shape and can be either present at the time of birth or may show up a few days or a couple of weeks after your baby’s birth. Some newborns may have one or more café au lait spot birthmarks at the time of birth. As your baby grows up, this particular type of birthmark will not fade away.

If your baby has more than four café au lait spot birthmarks, it could be an indication of an underlying neurofibromatosis condition. It is a condition in which the nerve tissue of your baby has a neurofibromas (tumor) growth. The condition is mostly genetic. In some cases, it can be harmless. It can be a dangerous condition if it presses nerves or other tissues.

2. Congenital Melanocytic Nevus:

Almost one percent American infants have a congenital melanocytic nevus birthmark. It is a mark or blemish that can appear on any part of your newborn’s body. Almost 15 percent of newborns who have a congenital melanocytic nevus birthmark have it either on their head or neck. If the newborn has a light skin tone, the birthmark may be brown in color. If the newborn has a warm skin tone, the birthmark may appear to be almost black.

The congenital melanocytic nevus birthmark can be of any shape. It can be flat and irregular in shape, or it can even be a lumpy and raised growth. Such birthmarks on newborns skin look almost like bigger black or brown moles. Once your baby starts growing up, this particular type of birthmark will reduce in proportion. It can sometimes get darker with age and may also become hairy when your child attains puberty. The risk of cancer associated with this type of birthmark is usually low, but in case it is of a large size and does not diminish with age, it can turn malignant.

3. Mongolian Spots:

The birthmarks are mostly present in newborns who have a warm skin tone. In most cases, this type of a birthmark looks like a bruise mark and can be seen on your baby’s hip area or the lower back. By the time your baby will reach the age of four, this birthmark will fade away. The Mongolian spots birthmarks are completely harmless.

4. Hemangiomas:

The hemangiomas type of birthmark is usually like a red and raised mark, often referred to as a strawberry mark. At the time of your baby’s birth, the mark may be relatively small and flat. In some cases, the mark can grow very fast during the first four to five months of your baby’s life, after which it stops growing further. In most cases, the strawberry mark birthmark fades away eventually. Sometimes, the area where the birthmark appears may become stretchy or even deformed if the mark is quite large.

5. Telangiectatic Nevus:

The telangiectatic nevus birthmark or salmon patch or stork bite appears due to the expansion of capillaries in your baby’s body. The birthmarks on baby’s skin are like small patches of red skin. If your baby has the mark as a salmon patch on the face, it is known as an angel kiss. If your baby has the birthmark on the back of the neck, it is known as a stork bite. If your baby has an angel kiss birthmark, it will usually fade away during his early childhood. In some cases, however, it can show up if your baby is crying. The stork bites may stay for life, but in most cases they get covered over with hair.

6. Port Wine Stain:

As the name suggests, a port wine stain birthmark is like a purple or red spot that mostly appears on your newborn’s face. It can also appear on any other part of your baby’s body due to a leaking blood vessel. The spots can vary in size from a few millimeters to several centimeters.

In case you do not get the port wine stain birthmark treated, it could become dark in color as your baby grows up. Almost ten percent of babies who have such a birthmark have it in the eyelid area and might require additional monitoring or treatment, especially if the doctor suspects any chance of a brain abnormality.

7. Silvermark:

It is a hereditary birth spot and is like a silver streak of hair. It mostly appears on the left or right side of the baby’s face where the forehead and the hairline meet.

If you are worried about your baby’s birthmark, do speak to your baby’s doctor about it.

Which of the above birth mark does your baby have? Did you discuss it with your baby’s pediatrician? Did he advise any treatment? Please share your experience with other moms here.

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