Understanding Birthmarks

Birthmarks are unique to each person. These pigmented patches of skin come in all different shapes, sizes and colors. Surprisingly, not all people have birthmarks and some birthmarks do not appear until shortly after birth. While birthmarks are typically no cause for alarm, some patients are bothered by their appearance. It is a good idea for all birthmarks to be examined by a dermatologist, as they may need to be confirmed a birthmark and/or monitored for growth. Here’s closer insight into the different types of birthmarks and how you can better understand your own birthmark.

Two Main Types of Birthmarks

While your birthmark may be raised, flat, brown or pink, all birthmarks can generally be categorized into two types: pigmented birthmarks and red birthmarks.

Pigmented Birthmarks

This type of birthmark can appear anywhere on the skin and can even grow after birth. Pigmented birthmarks are often black, brown or skin-colored. A mole that your baby is born with is considered a pigmented birthmark. Mongolian spots (bluish appearance) and café-au-lait spots (oval, flat and light brown) also fall into this category of birthmarks.

Red Birthmarks

Red birthmarks, also called macular stains, are much different than pigmented birthmarks, as they are vascular in nature. This type of birthmark is more likely to be a cosmetic concern, as they often appear on the face and are more obvious in appearance. Some patients choose to undergo laser treatment for red birthmarks, especially if it is a permanent port-wine stain on the face. Other red birthmarks will disappear or fade as the child grows, like hemangiomas and possibly stork bites. The following are common types of red birthmarks:

  • Angel kisses
  • Stork bites
  • Port-wine stains
  • Strawberry or cavernous hemangiomas

Rarely, a vascular birthmark will be a health concern. This typically occurs when there is a large collection of blood vessels around the eyes. In such cases, a plastic surgeon may need to be involved.

Let a Dermatologist Take a Look

It is always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to skin discolorations on your newborn. A dermatologist can examine your child’s birthmark and ensure it is not a sign of skin disease or quickly growing. If you are concerned about the appearance or nature of a birthmark, please schedule an appointment with one of our trusted dermatologists at Olansky Dermatology. We treat patients of all ages with gentle and knowledgeable skin care.

Posted on behalf of Olansky Dermatology Associates