Have you ever asked yourself ‘what is a birthmark?’ Many of us in the population have something that can be thought of as a birthmark. Whether it is clinically a birthmark or what is popularly believed to be one, they are not uncommon.
30% – 50% of the population have some form of a birthmark. There are different types of birthmarks. Vascular and pigmented are the two primary types. Vascular birthmarks occur when blood vessels do not form normally either under the skin or in the skin while pigmented birthmarks a collection of brown or tan pigments darker than the rest of the skin.
Typically, birthmarks are not a health concern however if you believe yours or your child’s birthmark are uncommon it is advisable to contact your family physician. Birthmark removal is known to be very successful. Treatments for the removal of birthmarks range from laser removal to high precision techniques that do not require the use of needles, scalpels or lasers.
When there is not a health concern related to a birthmark we may decide that it is important to us to have it removed. Removal birthmarks can have a positive increase in our emotional well-being and confidence due to a noticeable change in our appearance and with little to no pain.
If you have a birthmark that you would like to have removed, contact HP Dermatology for a consultation
A birthmark is a splotch on the skin that often varies in shape, size and colour from one person to another. However, one thing that is common with all birthmarks is that they are usually harmless and may disappear on their own. Some of the birthmark types might be on a body part that is not easily visible while others might be on your visible body parts like face, neck or arms. The latter scenario is not good for some people as they feel self-conscious about it.
What causes birthmark?
Although there are no specific causes available as to why some people have birthmarks, they are usually not because of any genetic reason. The vascular birthmarks are caused due to any abnormality in the blood vessels. On the other hand, pigmented birthmarks are caused due to an imbalance in the pigment cells of the skin. Similarly, the port wine stains are caused due to improper functioning of nerve cells that control the expansion and contraction of capillaries. Therefore, each of the birthmark types has their cause for formation.
There are several different birthmark types, and most of them are quite common ones. Let’s have a look at some. Birthmarks are classified into two main categories, and all the birthmarks fall either of these two categories. These are – vascular birthmarks and pigmented birthmarks
• Salmon Patch or Stork Mark – In this birthmark type, patches of red or pink in colour appear on an infant’s forehead, face or around the neck area at birth. Almost half of newborn babies have this birthmark and therefore, is quite common in infants.
• Infantile Haemangioma – These are usually characterized by red raised marks on the skin, and are more common in girls. Also known as strawberry marks, this birthmark is formed deep inside the skin – giving the skin a blue or purple colour.
• Port Wine Stains – Mostly formed as red or purple marks, this birthmark type is quite rare in babies and is permanent in nature. Port wine stains are often found on only one side of the body and become more noticeable during puberty or pregnancy.
• Café-au-lait spots – Mostly coffee-coloured, this birthmark type is formed in patches, and the number is limited to either 2 or 3 marks. However, if you notice that your child has more than six spots, you should consult a dermatologist immediately.
• Mongolian Spots – These spots are characterized by bluish gray colour and are present right from the birth. The Mongolian spots are more common in people having a dark skin than others and are formed especially in the lower back area of a child’s body. These spots disappear after a few months and by the time your child reaches four years of age, all spots will disappear completely.
• Congenital Melanocytic Nevi – These birthmarks are also known as congenital moles. This birthmark type is quite common in infants and is mainly caused due to overgrowth of the pigment cells in a child’s skin. These marks become smaller with every passing day but may become dark in colour or become hairy during puberty.
Before going any further, get in touch with us to consult HP Dermatology Centre specialists today and get a personalised advice related to your birthmark.
Birthmarks are one of the most common skin conditions people face. Although these are completely harmless and often disappear with time, people sometimes opt for birthmark removal. Some feel that birthmarks on the visible body parts make them feel self-conscious. Similarly, some birthmarks may become uncomfortable for a person and hence, its removal becomes necessary. Certain birthmarks also need to be removed for medical purposes, for instance, haemangioma, as it blocks the airways. And given the advancement of technology, birthmark removal is nothing risky or will take much of your time. So, you should get in touch with a dermatologist in London and get your birthmark removed at any time.
Treatment methods employed for birthmark removal may depend upon various factors, which include the type of birthmark, your health, age, etc. For instance, port wine stains are permanent but treatment can make the marks lot more faded and less noticeable. Let’s have a look at some of the birthmark treatment methods.
Although laser treatment is effective for most of the birthmarks removal, it is the only option if your child has port wine stains. Although laser treatment would not completely remove the birthmark, it will make it less noticeable. Also, port wine stains become more and more visible with passing age, often becoming bumpy during adulthood. Therefore, getting this birthmark removed in early childhood is the best option.
To reduce discomfort during laser treatment, a jet of cold air is sprayed onto the skin to provide comfort. Although this method is relatively risk-free, there are some side-effects of laser treatment, which include –
- Bruising marks on the treated area that often disappears after a couple of weeks.
- Laser treatment can be painful and to counter it, the dermatologist might use local anaesthesia to negate discomfort to your child during
- Increased sensitivity to sunlight that makes your child more prone to sunburn for an initial few months after the treatment.
- Around 5-30 treatment session on an average might be required to treat port wine stains and other birthmarks.
This method is used when no other method is ideal for birthmark removal. For instance, if the haemangioma is big or found on the internal organs, a surgical excision is the only option to get it removed. However, there are a few side-effects of this birthmark removal method as well, which include bleeding, scarring or infection.
Once the birthmark removal is done, it may leave the treated area in dark purple colour. This usually lasts for about 8-10 days after treatment and disappears on its own. However, care should be taken that you do not scratch the treated area as it may infection or other side-effects. Similarly, one should avoid going out in the sun after birthmark removal treatment. Even if going out is necessary, proper sunscreen should be used to negate the harmful rays of the sun. The complete healing process can take up to seven weeks and during this period, all efforts should be taken to look after the treated area properly.
For a personalised advice on your birthmark removal, you can also consult our HP Dermatology Centre experts and know more about birthmark removal.