A blemish on the skin noted when a baby is born is called a birthmark. Birthmarks are abnormalities of the skin that are present at birth. These markings on the skin may be permanent or fade away over time. It is crucial to be able to differentiate the various types of birthmarks so that proper intervention should be implemented with these lesions. The size and location of all birthmarks should also be carefully documented.
The most common birthmarks are caused by a collection of tiny blood vessels just beneath the skin. These small red, mottled spots are sometimes called “stork bites” or “stork marks” when they’re on the back of the head or “angel kisses” when they’re on
the forehead or eyelids. Stork bites become obvious when the infant cries. These marks are harmless and they generally disappear in several months or years.
Causes of Birthmarks
No one knows what causes many types of birthmarks, but some run in families. Most birthmarks are not serious, and some go away on their own. They can be inherited, but usually are not, and typically are unrelated to trauma to the skin during childbirth.
Types of Birthmarks
- Mongolian Spots. These are bluish-black marks that resemble bruises. They usually appear at the sacral area but may appear on the buttocks, arms, shoulders and other areas. Mongolian spots disappear usually after the first few years of life and for some until the school-age period without treatment.
- Café-au-lait spots. These are permanent, light-brown marks that may occur anywhere on the body. They can be anywhere on the body and sometimes increase in number as a child gets older. Although they are harmless, the number and the size are important of café-au-lait spots are important to be evaluated. It’s wise to have your child evaluated if there are several (six or more) larger than 0.5 cm marks which are associated with neurofibromastosis(a genetic disorder that causes abnormal cell growth of nerve tissues) .
- Nevus Simplex. A nevus simplex is also called salmon patch, stork bite or telangiectatic nevus. It is a flat, pink or reddish discoloration from dilated capillaries that occur over the eyelids, just above the bridge of the nose or at the tape of the neck. They may be more noticeable when the baby cries.
Stork bites disappear by 2 years of age, although those at the nape of the nape may persist.
- Nevus Flammeus. This is a macular purple or dark-red lesion and is also called a port-wine stain. Typically these lesions appear on the face and are often found in the thigh. These marks do not fade and are not harmful. They occur more often in females than males.
- Strawberry Hemangioma. These are elevated areas formed by immature capillaries and endothelial cells. Strawberry hemangiomas tend to continue to enlarge from their original size up to 1 year of age. By the time the child is 7 years old, 50-70% of these lesions have disappeared. At 10 years of age, complete absorption may occur.
- Cavernous Hemangioma. These lesions are dilated vascular spaces. They resemble the appearance of strawberry hemagioma but the only difference is they DO NOT disappear with time. Surgical intervention removes these lesions.
image courtesy of reidhosp.adam.com, children.webmd.com, aarphealthcare.com, i-am-pregnant.com, greensanctuary56.blogspot.com