Birthmarks On Babies

Some Facts About Birthmarks On Babies

Birthmarks on babies are more common than most of us tend to believe. One reason for this is unless the birthmark is on the head or face, it is likely to be covered most of the time. The other reason is that most birthmarks tend to be temporary, usually disappearing as the infant grows, and even larger birthmarks can disappear before the youngster reaches his or her teen years. The fact is, about a third of newborns either have a birthmark or will have one later in life. Also, birthmarks are somewhat more common in girls than in boys, by about a 2 to 1 ratio.

The percentage of babies having birthmarks tends to be higher in those that are born prematurely. There is some correlation between the formation of a birthmark and a baby's development, which might be the reason for this particular statistic.

The causes of birthmarks on babies varies, as there are a number of different types of birthmarks that can make an appearance. Some birthmarks are there at birth, while others do not appear for several months, or less commonly, after several years.  Birthmarks that are present at birth are referred to as congenital birthmarks, while those which come later are called acquired birthmarks. Birthmarks on babies fall into one of two general categories. Some birthmarks are the result of an accumulation of blood vessels just beneath the skin. These are called vascular birthmarks. The other type, pigmented birthmarks, are a result of an abnormality in the development of pigment cells in the skin. Roughly two-thirds of the birthmarks that babies are born with are what are generally called strawberry birthmarks, which are of the vascular type.

Storks And Angels - Besides strawberry birthmarks, some of the other more common types include the so-called "stork bite", a pink patch resulting from a system of dilated capillaries under the skin, and is usually found on the back of the neck. A similar birthmark, when located on or near the eyelid has a slightly more pleasant name, the "angel's kiss".

Moles And Patches - Two of the more common pigmented birthmarks are moles, which are clusters of pigment-making cells, and cafe au lait spots, tan patches which sometimes occur in multiples. Over 20% of newborns have one of these pigmented birth spots which mostly fade away as the infant grows older. As common as moles are, they most often appear later in life, and only about one in one hundred babies is born with a mole.

The Port Wine Stain - One of the more prominent birthmarks on babies, and fortunately one of the more rare ones, is the port wine stain, a vascular birthmark having the medical designation nevus flammeus, nevus being the medical term for birthmark. Most birthmarks of this kind will be with the infant for life, though some do fade away. Port wine stains can at times indicate the presence of some other disorder so are never completely ignored when present on a newborn.

Birthmark Treatment Options - Many birthmarks can be removed, and some are if they are presenting a medical problem or are a significant cosmetic issue. Unless a medical or cosmetic issue dictates otherwise, doctors generally advise against having a birthmark removed, in most cases because it may eventually go away on its own. Some birthmarks on babies obviously should be taken care of, and there are fortunately a variety of treatments available. Treatments to remove birthmarks or make them less obvious include surgery, laser therapy, topical ointment applications, and the injection of steroids. Laser treatments have been especially effective for port wine stains, a birthmark which not too many years ago was considered permanent. It does need to be taken into account however that most treatments will involve some scarring, depending of course on the size, and sometimes the location, of the birthmark.