What is a birthmark, and does it need to be removed?
Most people are born with birthmarks, dark blemishes on the skin that can vary in shapes, sizes, and colors. They can even change throughout your lifetime. There are two types of birthmarks, known as vascular and pigmented birthmarks, and our Buffalo, NY, dermatologist, Dr. Anthony Dee, is here to tell you more about the different kinds of vascular and pigmented birthmarks, as well as whether or not it’s necessary to have your birthmark checked out.
Types of Pigmented Birthmarks
As you may be able to tell by the name, pigmented birthmarks are markings that can range in color, from light brown to blue or gray. Types of pigmented birthmarks include:
- Congenital moles: these moles are present at birth and can develop skin cancer over time.
- Pigmented moles: these birthmarks may develop together or alone. These moles will get darker in the sun and can be found anywhere on the body.
- Café-au-lait spots: as the name suggests, these birthmarks are usually tan or light brown in color.
- Mongolian spots: these bluish markings often look more like bruises than moles and are often found on the back or buttock.
Types of Vascular Birthmarks
Vascular birthmarks are discolorations of the skin caused by the abnormal growth or development of blood vessels. Types of vascular birthmarks include:
- Nevus simplex (also known as salmon patches): a pink or red patch of skin that is usually small and appears on the face or neck. This is very common in newborns.
- Strawberry hemangioma: a raised, bright red marking that is usually found on the face, chest, or back. This type of birthmark is rare but in some cases, this birthmark can potentially affect organs in the body and lead to serious health risks.
- Nevus flammeus (also known as port-wine stains): another rare birthmark, the port-wine stain is usually dark red or purple in appearance and often appears on the face or neck.
When to See a Dermatologist
Everyone should visit their skin doctor in Buffalo at least once a year for screenings to look for changes or potential warning signs of skin cancer and other possible skin issues. If you have a congenital mole, it is possible that this mole could develop skin cancer at some point, so it’s important to keep an eye on it for any changes.
Of course, if the birthmark is in a location that affects vision or hearing it’s important to talk to your dermatologist about surgical removal options. If your child was born with a vascular birthmark a pediatrician will tell you whether a dermatological specialist should check it out.
Whether you are interested in having a birthmark removed or you just want to schedule a routine checkup, call Dermatologic Center for Excellence in Buffalo, NY, to book an appointment with us.