Birthmarks

Birthmark is a broad term used to describe skin irregularities that are present at birth or appear later in life. Most birthmarks do not indicate a medical problem, and some will resolve spontaneously over time. While most birthmarks have no reason to cause concern, some may present a cosmetic problem, a medical problem, or be associated with future medical issues.

Zel Skin and Laser Specialists

If you have questions or would like to book a consultation with the dermatologists at Zel Skin & Laser Specialists. Call us at (952) 473-1286 to Book an Appointment.

If you have a questionable pigmentation, or if you’re unsure whether that spot on your arm is, actually, a birthmark, visiting one of our Minneapolis-area offices is an excellent start. Our practitioners are experienced with every type of skin lesion, which means we can assess your mark, let you know if it’s something to worry about, and suggest various treatment options.

 

What Causes Birthmarks

Though the name may imply otherwise, not all birthmarks appear at birth. In many cases, they can develop hours, days, weeks, or even years later. Birthmarks are caused by an overgrowth of structures or cells normally found in the skin. For example, extra pigment could cause a large mole at birth. Additionally, blood vessels could cause “angel kisses” or “stork bites” on the forehead, eye lids, back of the neck, scalp, or lower back. Large, irregular blood vessels can cause “strawberry” hemangiomas, port wine stains, or larger more significant hemangiomas. The type of birthmark you have will indicate the way in which it was formed.

 

Birthmark Symptoms

The two most common types of birthmarks are vascular and pigmented birthmarks. When blood vessels grow abnormally, they form vascular birthmarks, which are usually pink or red in color. The color of larger or deeper vascular birthmarks may range from red or purple to blue. By contrast, pigmented birthmarks are caused by extra pigment in the skin and may vary in color from brown or blue to slate gray.

Birthmarks can be different shapes and sizes, flat or raised. A birthmark should not cause any pain, but if it hurts, itches, bleeds, becomes infected, or interferes with vision or eating, the birthmark should get immediate attention from your dermatologist.

 

Types of Birthmarks

While there is a nearly endless list describing types of birthmarks, some are more common than others. Below, you’ll find descriptions and causes of some of the most common types of birthmarks we see.

  • Port Wine Stains – These birthmarks are deep red or purple marks that are flat. They are composed of dilated blood capillaries and often appear on the face. These birthmarks are permanent, which means some patients may be interested in port wine stain treatment.
  • Blue – Also known as Mongolian Spots, blue birthmarks are flat and typically appear on the lower back and buttocks. They can also be found on the arms or legs, and they are permanent.
  • Stork Bites – These birthmarks appear on the back of the neck, on the forehead, between the eyebrows, or on the eyelids of newborns. They typically last into adulthood.
  • Strawberry Hemangiomas – Small, closely packed blood vessels comprise these birthmarks. They appear when blood vessels grow rapidly, and they can appear anywhere on the body. Strawberry hemangiomas typically disappear with age.
  • Angel Kisses – These birthmarks most often appear on the forehead and eyelids.

Birthmark Treatment and When to See a Specialist

Most birthmarks are harmless and will require no medical intervention. Your dermatologist should examine large moles that were present at birth annually. In addition, large gray patches present at birth on the trunk or face should be documented in the patient’s medical record. Discuss the prognosis and treatment of raised or large hemangiomas with your dermatologist. Birthmarks that appear in childhood as rough patches or warty lines on the neck, scalp, or extremities should also be brought to the attention of our dermatologist or skin care specialist.

 

Contact us to schedule an appointment or virtual visit today.

Zel Skin and Laser Specialists

If you have questions or would like to book a consultation with the dermatologists at Zel Skin & Laser Specialists. Call us at (952) 473-1286 to Book an Appointment.

 

*Results may vary per patient. Services vary by location.