Many of us have small, inconspicuous birthmarks on our bodies. In many cases, these showed up at birth or shortly thereafter, and they’ve either faded or grown darker depending on their skin exposure and the type of birthmark they are. Unfortunately, some birthmarks are large and show up in more obvious places. One friend of mine was known for a very large birthmark on her face. It was difficult to ignore, and it unfortunately ruined the symmetry of her face. However, it wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, as it certainly gave her distinct character. She once told a story about how her parents considered having it removed when she was a baby. I saw her recently, and it got me wondering how many parents actually remove birthmarks from their babies, and why they’d feel the need to do so. As it turns out, birthmark removal is a relatively safe process, but in many cases there is no need to remove it.

If your baby has a birthmark that will clearly interfere with his or her appearance, removal is an option. Like other medical procedures, it’s sometimes better to have done when the baby is young so that the pain is minimal. However, the procedure might be unnecessary. There is a good chance the birthmark will fade as your baby gets older, and he or she might even grow to like it. If you have a baby girl with a dark mark on her face, she will probably become comfortable with putting makeup on it when she’s old enough. If the birthmark is very large, removal will be difficult. You should talk to your baby’s pediatrician about medicated creams and lotions to lighten the pigmented skin. Again, it will depend on the type of birthmark, but many birthmarks are a result of abnormal pigment formation in otherwise normal skin.

Unless your baby’s birthmark interferes with your baby’s ability to have a normal childhood, it might be a good idea to wait until he or she is old enough to decide whether or not removal is necessary. Even before that, you’ll be able to see if it is interfering with his or her ability to make friends or act normally. Everyone has imperfections, and an unsightly birthmark is really no different than a facial feature that is too big or hair that is unruly. It might even give your kid unique character.

Source: Gayle Fischer: Common Skin Problems in Children Part 4: Birthmarks. Medicine Today Volume 6 Issue 6 pp. 36-42 June 2009

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