Types of Birthmarks
While there are several kinds of birthmarks, two among them are the most common. These are:
Vascular birthmarks are birthmarks that occur on the head, neck and face area. They are mainly caused by abnormal development of blood vessels in or under the skin. Common types of vascular birthmarks include:
- Salmon patch– This is the most common types of birthmarks found in almost half the babies. They are flat pink or red patches that can appear on the neck, eyelid or forehead at birth. Usually, they fade within four months but could take up to four years in some children.
- Infantile haemangioma– These are also known as strawberry marks and are red marks raised on the skin. They are most common in girls. They rapidly increase in size within the first six months they then enter a rest phase by about 8 months of age, and usually begin to shrink (involution phase) around 1 year of age. As the lesion shrinks, the color may change from red to purple and grey. It may take several years for the hemangioma to go eventually go away.
- Port wine stain– These are flat purple or red stains that affect a small number of newborn babies. Though port wine stains could appear anywhere, they are mainly on the face, back or chest.
Pigmented birthmarks are caused by a cluster of pigmented cells and are usually brown. They could also be described as brown-colored or tan skin marks. Common types of pigmented birthmarks are:
- Mongolian spots– These are bruised looking or blue-grey birthmarks that are present from birth. They may take several months up to four years to disappear.
- Café-au-lait spots– These are coffee colored skin patches that you may find one or two with your baby. However, in case your baby has more than six, consult your doctor as this could be a sign of abnormal genetic mutations.
- Congenital melanocytic naevi– These are also known as congenital moles and are black or brown moles on the skin. They are mainly caused by an overgrowth of pigment cells on the skin.
While most birthmarks are harmless, some of them may be treated for cosmetic reasons. Additionally, other birthmarks may need surgical removal in case they affect the airway or block vision or feeding.
#Please note that development differs from one child to another
# Content intended for educational purposes only, and should not be substituted for medical advice from your doctor.
Last reviewed January 2019