Birthmarks include a variety of markings that appear on the skin at birth or during the first few years of life. Birthmarks include a wide variety of skin areas that are lighter or darker than the surrounding skin, areas of the scalp where hair does not grow, diffuse blue or grey areas typically found on the back, and a variety of pink, red, or purple markings often seen on the head and neck. Birthmarks we commonly see include the following:
- Cafe au lait spots
- Capillary malformations, Nevus Flammeus, Salmon patches
- Congenital nevi
- Dermal melanosis / Mongolian spots
- Infantile Hemangiomas
- Nevus Anemicus, Nevus Depigmentosus
- Nevus Sebacceous
- Port-wine stains
While many types of birthmarks are harmless, others should be evaluated and/or treated by a dermatologist early in life. Pink, red, and purple markings on the head and neck are usually vascular in nature. These should be evaluated as they may indicate an underlying medical condition that requires further medical testing. Other vascular birthmarks that are very important to assess early are those that start to grow, those that are near the eyes, and those along the spine. Those that start growing may be infantile hemangiomas, which can be treated by topical and oral medications, and often have better outcomes when they are addressed sooner. Depending on location, these can sometimes affect vision, hearing, and sometimes even swallowing and breathing.
Other types of birthmarks are thought to undergo changes as a child ages and may pose a risk for some types of skin cancer in the future. Your dermatologist will be able to explain these better during you visit, as well as the decision to keep or remove them, and the age at which you might want to do so.
People may also choose to have birthmarks removed for cosmetic purposes, as they create an unusual appearance on the skin. If you or your child would like to have a birthmark evaluated, call Kessel Dermatology today.