Around 10% of newborns have some kind of birthmark.(Representational image: Pixabay)
Around 10% of newborns have some kind of birthmark.(Representational image: Pixabay)

Understanding Birthmarks: Common Types and When to Seek Medical Advice

Birthmarks appear in a variety of shapes, sizes, colors, and textures on or under the skin

Birthmarks appear in a variety of shapes, sizes, colors, and textures on or under the skin. They may be present at birth or appear during the first year or two of life.

Birthmarks are prevalent: around 10% of newborns have some kind of mark.

Most birthmarks are harmless, while some may gradually lighten or vanish even without any kind of medical intervention. Rarely, certain birthmark kinds could indicate a more serious illness. If birthmarks appear in huge quantities or in groups, this is more likely to occur.

Dr. Madhavi Bharadwaj who is an MBBS ,MD Pediatrics (MAMC, Delhi), Allergist (CMC Vellore) took to Instagram and shared her opinion about birthmarks.

She explained the common types of birthmarks and common doubts around them. she suggested to consult a doctor if there is any problem or if the mark changes unexpectedly.

TYPES OF BIRTHMARKS

Different types of birthmarks include:

1. Naevus flammeus, or stork bite/mark

2. Mongolian spots

3. Haemangioma of infancy,also known as strawberry mark

4. café au lait spots

5. congenital melanocytic naevus

Around 10% of newborns have some kind of birthmark.(Representational image: Pixabay)
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1. Naevus flammeus, or stork bite/mark -Also known as salmon patch or macular stain, they are harmless collections of blood vessels that leave behind tiny, flat, rosy-red marks.

Often referred to as "stork bites," salmon patches are persistent lesions that develop at the back of the neck. However, as kids get older, they become less apparent and are readily covered by hair.

Salmon patches can also develop in the middle of the face, on the lip, in the eyelids, or on the forehead. These are commonly referred to as "angel's kisses" because they nearly invariably diminish as the child gets older. Treatment for salmon patches is rarely necessary.

2. Mongolian spots - They are bluish, irregular flat patches found mainly on the back and bottom, and are more common in Asian and African babies with dark skin colour.

They are benign and less noticeable as the child gets older. They could be mistaken for bruises.

3. Haemangioma of infancy - As many as 1 in 20 babies are affected by hemangiomas. Premature babies are more prone to get this kind of birthmark, and girls are three times more likely than males to have them. Strawberry hemangiomas and deep hemangiomas are the two most common types of hemangiomas.

The vivid red color of strawberry hemangiomas gives rise to their name. They might appear as elevated, hard pimples or as flat, splotchy patches on the skin's surface.

Strawberry hemangiomas may be more likely to ulcerate, or turn the birthmark's surface into an open sore, if they are situated next to a bodily opening or fold. Sometimes the hemangioma will flow pus or blood, which needs to be examined by a doctor.

Deep hemangiomas are elevated blue-gray lumps that develop in the skin's deeper layers. When this kind of birthmark first appears on the skin's surface, it could not be noticeable for several weeks or months after a baby is born.

Hemangiomas typically grow quickly in the first year of a baby's life. After that, they fade gradually and level off. By the time a child reaches the age of ten, many hemangiomas have entirely disappeared, while some may still cause slight skin discoloration or ripples.

The vivid red color of strawberry hemangiomas gives rise to their name. (Representational image : Wikipedia commons)
The vivid red color of strawberry hemangiomas gives rise to their name. (Representational image : Wikipedia commons)

4. café au lait spots - Café-au-lait” means “coffee with milk” in French. They are flat, roughly oval shaped light brown spots.

Café-au-lait birthmarks are typically round or oval in shape and come in a variety of sizes. The body's natural pigment, melanin, is produced in excess by skin cells, which is how these birthmarks develop.

Birthmarks from café au lait typically do not erase and may even enlarge or darken with time. The majority are safe. On the other hand, the existence of six or more, wherever they may be on the body, may be connected to a hereditary disease known as neurofibromatosis type 1.

Around 10% of newborns have some kind of birthmark.(Representational image: Pixabay)
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5. congenital melanocytic naevus - A brown patch that exists from birth or during the first year of life is called a congenital melanocytic naevus. More often, acquired melanocytic naevi appear in children starting at age 2. Some are big, dark brown, blue, or black, and they occasionally have dark hair. Some are bumpy and elevated, while others are uneven and flat.

The most common type of pigmented birthmark seen during the a Prospective Survey in 1000 Neonates study was Mongolian spots (66.7%). The following most frequent types of pigmented birthmarks were café au lait spots (30%), congenital melanocytic nevus (1.8%), and nevus depigmentosus (0.5%).

(Input from various sources)

(Original/Priyanka Pandey)

References - 1- https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/birthmarks

2- https://nyulangone.org/conditions/birthmarks-in-children/types

3- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6442070/#:~:text=The%20most%20common%20type%20of,and%20nevus%20depigmentosus%20(0.5%25).

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