Spotted a birthmark? Don’t get paranoid!


Spotted a birthmark

Babies are born with birthmarks, i.e. discolored patches or markings on their skin. They may be permanent or fade away with time, but parents mustn’t worry much or lose their sleep over it. Let’s have a look at the type of birthmarks and which ones can be an area of concern.

There are 2 types of birthmarks (i) Vascular anomalous cluster of blood vessels usually thought to be running in families or caused due to placenta problem during gestation & (ii) Non-vascular (pigmented) ones are formed by a compilation of tiny blood vessels just under the skin. They don’t require any attention as they tend to fade away with time.

Vascular birthmark is further sub-divided into:-

  1. Haemangioma: These are fake birthmarks as they tend to appear during infancy. These are raised strawberry or lumpy blue-ish, purple-ish marks that can appear on any part of the body, grow in size till around first 6 months and then begin to subside or shrink. But if they grow bigger in size, bleed or ulcerate, then do show it to the doc. Parents can opt for a complete removal with laser treatment, especially if these marks are located near the eyes, throat or nose (as they can pose as a hindrance to baby’s sight, vocal cords or breathing). You can also opt for steroid-based medication on doc’s recommendation. Doctors usually consider child’s age and severity of the mark before deciding on the treatment.
  2. Port wine stains: Flat, purple (like the color of port wine) marks range in size and usually appear on one side of the face. They usually grow bigger and deeper with age.
  3. Salmon patches: They are flat, light pink (color of Salmon fish) marks that appear around the eyes. Most of the babies are born with these marks and they tend to fade away within months of birth.

Non-Vascular birthmarks are of the following types:

  1. Café-au-lait spots: Light brown patches of skin that almost every baby is born with. If you notice more than 6 spots then do bring it to your doctor’s attention. It could be a sign of a genetic disorder called Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF-1)
  2. Congenital moles: These are dark brown/black marks that usually appear on the torso. They can often be raised and/or hairy
  3. Mongolian spots: These look like bruises due to its color which ranges from bluish to greenish. They usually appear on baby’s back or bottom. They can be present at the time of birth or could appear days or weeks later.

Parents shouldn’t worry much about these marks, rather should leave them alone unless they are causing problems which again should not be bothersome as they can be treated. I do understand that the marks can make your child feel conscious. But the way to go about it is by teaching your kid to treat them as an angel’s kiss. Teach your kid early on to deal with it and please don’t get paranoid. Most of these marks fade away with time. As for the ones that don’t, we just have to live with it because they are a gift from god. More like almighty’s stamp that your child is his creation and he is keeping a watch on your child.

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