Your baby and birthmarks

By Drum Digital
05 September 2014

One in 10 babies is born with or quickly develops a birthmark, 99 percent of which are harmless. Doctors still don’t know what causes these unique marks on the skin, but say they’re not caused by anything a mother does during her pregnancy. Most birthmarks will fade shortly after birth.

There are two types of birthmarks, vascular or pigmented.

Vascular birthmarks are caused by blood vessels below the skin’s surface. They range in colour from pink to red to bluish and often occur on the head and neck area.

Pigmented birthmarks result from abnormal development of pigment cells and are usually brown, grey, bluish or black.

FACT: Birthmarks are unpreventable.

FACT: Most birthmarks are harmless and don’t need treatment.

HEMANGIOMAS: WHAT ARE THEY?

They’re a type of birthmark, composed of blood vessels, which can appear anywhere on the body. They’re part of the vascular birthmark category. They appear as raised, usually red, marks on the skin and are also known as strawberry marks. Around five percent of babies are affected by hemangiomas, which rapidly increase in size for the first six months, before eventually shrinking and disappearing by age seven. This process is known as involution.

Girls are five times more likely to get a hemangioma. You may know them as a “stork bite” when they appear as a light pink patch on the nape of your baby’s neck. “Angel kisses” are the splashes of pink on the middle of your baby’s forehead or eyelids, which turn bright during a crying spell. These are mild hemangiomas, and usually fade before baby turns one.

See a doctor if your baby’s hemangioma is increasing rapidly, or if it gets in the way of vision or feeding. Treatments include surgery, instilling agents into the hemangioma that choke off the vessels, or pulse laser treatments.

Cavernous hemangiomas are more serious, and appear as a raised, bluish puffy mark. They are usually benign, but can cause life-threatening lesions on the liver, in the airway or in the brain. Cavernous hemangiomas may also cause lesions which can block a baby’s vision, nose, ears or mouth. Treatments such as steroid injections, drug therapies, lasers and surgery can remove these unsightly, obstructive marks.

-Megan Bursey

SOURCES: WWW.NHS.UK, BABYZONE.COM

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