Types of Birthmarks and Treatment

Birthmarks are skin abnormalities that are present at birth or appear soon after birth.

Birthmarks are divided into two main categories: vascular or pigmented. Vascular birthmarks are the result of an overgrowth of blood vessels. Birthmarks in this category include: port wine stains, hemangiomas and stork bites. Examples of pigmented birthmarks include: café au lait spots, Mongolian spots and moles.

There is no way to prevent birthmarks and they are not caused by anything a woman does or does not do during pregnancy. The majority of birthmarks are not harmful, but some carry cosmetic concerns.

A dermatologist should evaluate any birthmark as soon as it develops. This is to identify the type of birthmark and to establish a baseline making it possible to monitor any changes that may occur in the future. Your dermatologist should also evaluate changes in birthmarks including bleeding, itching and pain.

Treatment usually depends on birthmark type, severity and location. Some common pigmented birthmarks and treatment options are:

The following are vascular birthmarks and treatment options:

Even birthmarks that are not physically harmful can impact a child’s self-esteem. If you have questions or concerns about a birthmark, talk with your dermatologist about treatment options.

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