What are birthmarks?
Birthmarks are colored marks on or under a newborn baby’s skin. Some birthmarks show up soon after a baby is born. Most birthmarks are obvious at birth. Some kinds of birthmarks fade or go away as a child gets older. Others stay the same or get bigger.
There are many kinds of birthmarks. They can be any size or shape, and can be different colors, such as brown, tan, black, blue, pink, white, red, or purple. Some birthmarks are smooth, and some are raised.
What causes birthmarks?
Some birthmarks are from extra color (pigment) in the skin. Other birthmarks are blood vessels that are bunched together or do not grow normally. It is not clear why some children have birthmarks and others do not.
What kinds of birthmarks are there?
- Salmon patches – are thin, flat, light pink or red birthmarks. They tend to be on the back of the neck, the upper eyelids, upper lip, or between the eyebrows.
- Congenital moles – can grow anywhere on the body. They vary in size and shape. Most are brown.
- Most cafe-au-lait – spots are smooth, oval birthmarks. They range in color from light brown to chocolate brown and usually are found on the torso, buttocks, and legs.
- Mongolian spots – are smooth, brown or blue-gray birthmarks. They are often uneven in shape and are on the lower back and buttocks.
- Hemangiomas – are raised birthmarks. They are blue, red, or purple. They are clumps of blood vessels that did not grow normally. Hemangiomas grow in many shapes and sizes and can grow on the skin or deeper in the body.
- Port-wine stains – are birthmarks that are pink-red at birth and then become a darker red-purple. Port-wine stains are blood vessels that did not grow normally. They can be small, or they can cover a large area of the body.
Is it important to have them checked?
Although most birthmarks are harmless, some are not. If you see a birthmark on your baby, make sure one if our doctors has seen it. If a birthmark grows, bleeds, hurts, or gets infected, call to schedule a visit and have it checked.