Baby Birthmarks and Congenital Markings
Birthmarks usually appear on babies at birth or shortly thereafter, usually within the first two months after being born. There are a few different types of birthmarks and markings that babies can be born with. Many go away over time, but others can cause serious skin conditions or eventually lead to worse issues.
These vascular birthmarks tend to fade over time, but they start out as bright red patches — often on the eyelids, back of the neck, or the forehead (though they can appear elsewhere). They are flat and fade to a pale pink or completely disappear as a baby grows older (often gone by age two).
Port-wine stains are darker, wine-colored stains that can appear on an infant. They are most commonly found on the face, neck, arms, or legs. Port-wine stains grow as your child grows. They do not fade on their own; instead they tend to grow bumpy — like the texture of pebbles — as your child ages. They are treated by plastic surgeons or specialists, and ones near a baby’s delicate eyes are watched closely because they may affect vision in the future.
The color of these spots resembles coffee and cream and can appear anywhere on the body. If your child has one at birth, others may develop as they grow. These are generally not a cause for concern, but if your child has several that grow to be the size of a quarter, along with other characteristic signs, this could indicate a more serious problem and should be evaluated by a pediatrician.
Hemangiomas are divided into two types: superficial and deep. Often called “strawberry marks,” the superficial ones are reddish marks just on the skin’s surface. Deep hemangiomas are often raised a little bit or puffy. They can be red or even a deeper blue or purplish. Sometimes, although they are considered a birthmark, they may not fully appear for a few weeks after baby is born. They are also more common in twins than they are in single babies. During the first months of a baby’s life, these can grow quite rapidly, which can be alarming for new parents. However, after about six months old, the growth slows and then reverses itself, and may take up to ten years to disappear.
Darker-skinned children can develop these spots. These spots, which can resemble bruises, are flat with a bluish or gray tinge and are found on the back or sometimes the buttocks. These usually fade in time. These spots are more common in Asian, American Indian, African, and Hispanic children. They can measure 1-4 inches and are not usually a cause for concern.
Moles (congenital nevi)
“Mole” is the common name for a brown nevi, and most people will develop a mole at some point. Although adult moles can fade away, congenital moles — also called “congenital nevi” — do not go away. If your baby has a large congenital mole, it bears watching over time. Later in life, these kinds of moles are sometimes associated with melanomas or skin cancer. Unfortunately, these kinds of moles grow with your child. If they need to be removed for cosmetic reasons or due to skin cancer concerns, that is usually done during teenage years.
- Cleveland Clinic
National Institutes of Health
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