Spanish, Italian and Arabic folklore has regarded birthmarks as the unfulfilled desires of the pregnant
mother. It is for this reason that words used for birthmarks in these countries can be translatedinto “whims”or“wishes”.
Actually, babies are born with some sort of small-scale skin abnormality that shows itself in the form of a birthmark. While 80% of newborns have a birthmark, a lot of them vanish with time, while some stay with them for a life. There is usually nothing to worry about birthmarks. However, in a few cases, the birthmarks may be related with a health issue and it’s best to consult a doctor to know whether it is the case with your child’s birthmark or not.
Types of Birthmark
Vascular (Blood Vessel) Birthmarks
- Macular stains
Macular stains are a type of vascular birthmarks. The stains are usually presented around the eyelids or on the forehead while they may also be found on the baby’s nose or on the upper and lower lips. The macular stains typically have a faint red color and they are the most common of all vascular birthmarks. Most of these birthmarks in children vanish within a couple of years though some stay till adulthood.
Hemangiomas are usually of two types. Superficial hemangiomas are birthmarks presented on the surface of the skin while deep hemangiomas are presenteddeep below the surface of the skin. Superficial ones are usually bright red in color while deep ones may be red or bluish. They appear mostly on the head or neck or on the back of the head or neck. They usually are prominent for the initial six months and shrink and vanish with age.
- Port-wine stains
Port-wine stains show themselves in the form of discolorations. They get their name from the fact that these birthmarks appear as if some wine has been spilled on that particular region of the body. They appear usually on the face, the neck or the legs. They are initially small but grow with the child and the mark can also get darkened with time. They need treatment in order to be removed, as they don’t vanish on their own.
- Café-au-lait spots
Café-au-lait spots are a type of pigmented birthmark and they get their name from their color which is similar to that of milk with coffee. They don’t have specific spots and can appear anywhere in the baby’s body. A single spot is never of any bother though it’s best to consult a doctor if your baby has a number of spots that are larger than 0.5 cm or if your old kid has spots that are larger than 1.5 cm.
- Mongolian spots
Mongolian spots are more common in children who have a darker skin in Asian, African, South European and Hispanic children. They are often found around the buttocks and lower back and look like flat patches grayish or bluish in color. There is no need for treatment for these birthmarks, as they usually vanish when the child is of school going age.
Brown nevi or nevus is generally referred as moles.Adults have the change of having moles like children. However, the moles visible at the time of birth stay with the person for his or her lifetime and are known as congenital nevus. Large congenital nevi may cause skin cancer during the latter stages,but the chanceisvery small. Moles are usually black or brown in color.
Why Do People Get Birthmarks?
There are no precautions that can be taken for birthmarks by the mother during pregnancy and any tales or myths that the marks are caused by something the mother does or eats during pregnancy are totally false. There is no explanation available for what causes birthmarks. They might be inherited though it usually doesn’t happen.
Some have held the idea that the cause behind pigmented birthmarks is cell overgrowth while the cause of vascular birthmarks is the incorrect formation of blood vessels.
When Should You Worry?
You can consult a doctor when a birthmark shows itself so that the doctor can determine whether it should be monitored or treated. Moles should be monitored throughout so as to ensure that if it’s sign of skin cancer. If it is, it should be nipped in the bud very soon. Hemangiomas should also be monitored as they sometimes turn into open sores and can cause problems. However, in most cases, birthmarks require no treatment or monitoring. You should consult your doctor in case the birthmark starts to bleed or if the child complains of itching or pain around the birthmark.
Help Children Deal with the Embarrassment of Birthmarks
Communicate with Others
Awkward birthmarks are difficult to handle for children. People usually tend to stare them for too long time for the birthmark even if they didn’t want to be mean or insensitive. This can often hurt a child and hurt his confidence badly. Thus, it remains important that you talk to such people directly and make them understand that it is best not to stare or remark it as it’s just a birthmark and such behaviors may make your child uncomfortable. You should adopt a friendly tone during the conversation. When you leave your child in a foreign environment like daycare or preschool, make sure that you have talked with the teachers and theywillpay attention to the child and handle his sensitiveness about the birthmark.
Educate Your Kids about Birthmarks
You should also tell your child to understand his situation and to understand why people might stare at him or say something rude. Try to make him understand that it’s just a birthmark and it’s nothing to do with him. You can also help him learn the phrase "It is my birthmark".
How to Remove Birthmark
Birthmarks often need no treatment and can disappear on their own. Pigmented birthmarks especially need no real treatment and remain so common that nobody notices them. The same is correct for hemangiomas which usually leave only a small scar behind after they disappear.
The method used to remove a birthmark depends on what kind of tissue is to be dealt with. Generally, the measuresused for both vascular and pigmented birthmarksare to destroy the cells. These measures include the laser, radiation and scalpel surgery.
You can learn general information about birthmark from this video: