A birthmark is a blotch or spot which you see on a baby when they are born or within the next few weeks after their birth. Birthmarks are basically blemishes on the skin that appear on babies and are non-malignant. The precise reason for birthmarks is still indefinite and most people have this misconception that they are hereditary and that is not entirely true. Only a few varied birthmarks can be hereditary such as siblings getting the similar marks on their bodies.
Birthmarks can appear in several colors such as brown, pink or red and they comprised of an increased number of blood vessels. Some birthmarks are prominent and are raised up from the skin whereas others can just be flat birthmarks. Caucasians are most likely to be affected compared to Asians and blacks. It is also researched that premature babies on the whole are more prone to birthmarks. However, they are not symptoms of a disease and is not linked to cancer as how some would misinterpret.
There is no definite cause of birthmarks but it is affirmed that they are not a result from a mother’s pregnancy with the baby. Vascular birthmarks are the most ordinary and frequent type of birthmark which is also known as macular stain. This type of mark is not inherited and are sometimes called “angel’s kisses” as they are found on the nose, upper lip, forehead and eyelids which will fade at two years old. Birthmarks found at the back of the neck are called “stork bites” and they continue into adulthood. These vascular birthmarks are not prominent and are pink in light red in color usually. All in all, these marks are not dangerous and do not need treatment.
Hemangioma is a common kind of vascular birthmark. It does not necessarily show right after birth and only is noticeable after a few weeks of a baby’s birth. There are two kinds of hemangioma – the superficial “strawberry” hemangioma and the deep “cavernous: hemangioma. A superficial hemangioma prominently stands out and is bright red due to the unusual blood vessels that are adjacent to the skin whereas deep hemangiomas are purplish and bluish in color as the abnormal vessels are deeper under the skin. Hemangioma is common in the fairer gender appearing more often on the neck and head but can be on any part of the body.
A baby can have more than one hemangioma and in some special cases, some may have these internally. This mark grows very quickly and begins growing when an infant is six months old and continues to do so until one year old. The majority of these birthmarks do not exceed three inches in diameter but some may appear bigger. After one year of growing, the hemangiomas stop developing and they begin to turn white and slowly diminish. Many of these marks fade by the age of five and nine but at times, a faint spot is left and it is undetermined if hemangioma will completely disappear.
Some of the treatments for hemangiomas widely used are corticosteroid medication and lasers. Corticosteroid medication is given orally or injected directly to the mark and frequent treatments are required. Lasers on the other are used to avoid the development of hemangioma and lasers can be used on marks with sores. However, one should note hemangioma treatments have side effects and are not entirely safe.
Another common type of vascular birthmark is the port-wine stain and this mark appears at birth. They come in various colors such as pink, purple and are flat. Commonly found on neck, arms, legs and face, they can be of any size. Port-wine stains grow proportionately as the child grows and gradually they may develop ridges and small bumps. These birthmarks however are permanent and this pose a problem for those who have port-wine stains on their faces. Not only is it a beauty issue but these stains are linked with seizure and glaucoma.