Types of birthmarks
Birthmarks are skin abnormalities that are present when a baby is born. They can appear on nearly every part of a baby's skin, and when they are small they usually have no effects on the baby’s health. There are two types of birthmarks:
Vascular birthmarks: These are made up of blood vessels that have not formed correctly. They are usually a red pigment. Two types of vascular birthmarks are hemangiomas and port-wine stains.
Pigmented birthmarks These are made of a cluster of pigment cells which cause color in the skin. They can be many different colors, from tan to brown and gray to black. Moles can also be birthmarks if they appear at birth.
Why are babies born with birthmarks?
No one is sure what causes many types of birthmarks, but some are genetic and run in families. Your baby's doctor will look at the birthmark to see if it needs any treatment or if it can just be watched. Pigmented birthmarks are not normally treated, except for moles. Treatment for vascular birthmarks requires laser surgery.
Most birthmarks are not serious, and some go away on their own. Some stay the same or get larger or more pigmented as a baby gets older. However, some birthmarks, especially when they are big and vascular (full of blood vessels) can affect a baby's health. They should be checked to see if they require removal, especially if they start growing.
Most often birthmarks are removed for cosmetic reasons. But certain types of birthmarks can increase the risk of skin cancer. If your baby’s birthmark bleeds, aches, itches, or becomes infected, call your healthcare provider.