What is a birthmark?
A birthmark is a congenital, benign irregularity on the skin which is present at birth or appears shortly after birth, usually in the first month. They can occur anywhere on the skin. Some birthmarks can also pose health risks therefore some people may seek out the advice of a cosmetic surgeon with a view to getting the birthmark removed.
There are two main types of birthmark, pigmented and vascular.
- Vascular birthmarks, also called red birthmarks, are caused by abnormal blood vessels in or under the skin, and include macular stains (salmon patches), hemangiomas, and port-wine stains.
- Vascular birthmarks are one of the most common types of birthmarks and can be found on all areas of the body. They do not tend to fade or disappear over time.
- Pigmentation birthmarks are where the skin has too much colour or pigment. Pigmentation birthmarks, also known as 'Cafe Au Lait', include some moles, or brown/cream coloured patches of skin. These marks normally fade over time.
Beckers Naevi is another type of birthmark that's actually classed as a lesion. They can be raised, black and hairy.
What treatments can help reduce the appearance of a birthmark?
- Vascular birthmarks/'port wine stains' can usually be improved with a laser or radiofrequency treatment.
- Pigmentation birthmarks/'Cafe Au Lait' can also be improved by laser.
- Beckers naevi - excision is usually the preferred treatment.