First of all, you need to understand what type of birthmark you have and whether it is possible to remove it. There are several types of birthmarks. These are:
Mongolian blue spot: Named after the Mongolians, a Mongolian blue spot is commonly seen among East Asians, East Africans, Native Americans, Indians and Turks. These blue or grey spots are often irregular in shape and are mostly located on the lower back, buttocks, flanks and sometimes on the shoulders. At times they even appear on the thighs. There is no treatment suggested for removal of Mongolian blue spot, it usually fades away over time.
Port wine stain (Nevus Flammeus): As the name suggests, these spots are usually a deep red or purple in colour while sometimes they may even be a pale pink color. Port wine stains can appear anywhere on the body and are readily spotted at birth. These are permanent marks and do not fade with age. These marks are also irregular in shape and are sometimes quite large. While most of them are flat in line with the regular skin, sometimes they are raised and even become thick and form ridges or bumps. Laser treatment can be used to reduce the color to some extent and also to improve the texture of the skin.
Strawberry mark (capillary hemangioma): These are lesions that are usually found at birth or a few weeks later. They appear as a raised red lumpy area of flesh that can appear anywhere on the body. Most probable areas are the neck and head. These are basically vascular malformations that may grow large but eventually fade off or turn grey in color. If they don’t, surgery can be used to remove them. Some folks have also tried other treatments with success; these are – x-ray or laser therapy, cryotherapy, steroids, and even “compression and massage” treatment. Injection of hardening agent has also been used with moderate success.
Café au lait spot: These are flat oval patches light brown in color. They can occur anywhere on the body and do not fade with age. It is said that if you have more than 3 such spots, you should consult a doctor as it may be an indication of neurofibromatosis.
Stork bite (Telangiectatic Nevus): A stork bite (also popularly known as “angel’s kiss” or “salmon patch”) is a salmon or pink colored mark that usually appears on the nape of the neck. They may also appear around the mouth and nose, the forehead and upper eyelids. No treatment is necessary – they usually fade away within 2 years.
Arteriovenous Malformation (AVM): AVMs are usually found at birth but some even appear at adulthood. These are complex masses of veins and arteries and are firm and soft to the feel. Common areas are lips, head and neck. These can be painful and requires a physician’s consultation. They can be detected by angiography and removed by embolization / surgical excision.
Lymphatic Malformation: These appear when excess fluid accumulates causing lymphatic vessels to enlarge. They are sponge-like masses of abnormal channels and spaces containing clear fluid. Swelling occurs when affected. If bruised, leakage from it can cause cellulitis. They usually appear in the head and neck area and sometimes in mouth area. You can detect it with MRI or CAT scan and remove it using laser or surgery. If not removed, it can increase and grow with age.
I’ve also heard of a birthmark called Congenital Pigmented Nevi which appear as hairy moles and are light brown, dark brown or even black in color. Giant pigmented nevi are not as common as small ones and should be examined for malignancy. Cavernous Hemangioma is another birthmark which is blue or bluish red in color. It first grows fast but usually disappears by the age of 12. If it doesn’t fade away, treatment is similar to “Strawberry mark” above.
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Article Added on Thursday, May 7, 2009
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