Facts About Birthmarks: What They Are, Why They’re There, And What They Mean

Birthmarks can be a fun topic of conversation. Some people don’t hesitate to roll up their sleeve or pant leg to show others their birthmarks. But have you ever wondered what birthmarks are to begin with? And are they as meaningful as they sound? The word “birthmark” seems very important, after all. Following are some facts about birthmarks you might want to know, so the next time your friends compete for whose birthmark is the most unique and interesting, you can tell them what birthmarks are all about.

10 Facts About Birthmarks You Should Know

1. It’s unclear exactly what causes birthmarks.

2. There’s no truth to the myth that they’re caused by something the mother did, didn’t do, ate, or craved during pregnancy.

3. Birthmarks can be flat or raised.

4. They can be brown, black, light blue, pink, purple, red, or tan.

5. There are two main types of birthmarks: vascular and pigmented. Vascular, or blood vessel, birthmarks occur when blood vessels don’t form correctly. Pigmented birthmarks occur due to the overgrowth of cells that create color in the skin. Both vascular and pigmented birthmarks contain several subcategories.

6. Two out of three newborns have a birthmark. Some marks develop within about a month after birth.

7. One-third of all newborn babies have “salmon patch” birthmarks around their head, neck, forehead, and eyes. They’re harmless and tend to disappear within a few months. Salmon patch birthmarks that are located between the eyes are fondly known as “angel’s kisses.”

8. Cafe au lait birthmarks are named so for their light brown color. The phrase literally means “coffee with milk.” People who have such marks sometimes have more than one.

9. Mongolian birthmarks or Mongolian spots resemble bruises.

10. A great majority of birthmarks are harmless, but a newborn’s birthmarks should still be analyzed by a medical professional. In rare cases, birthmarks can be signs of skin diseases that exist or will develop.

Removing Birthmarks or Reducing their Appearance

While many people take pride in their birthmarks because they enhance each person’s individuality, some birthmarks can be uncomfortable or troubling. This is especially true if they expand over time, are located on someone’s face, or are raised, such as strawberry hemangiomas.

Fortunately, many options for birthmark removal exist today, including laser removal and the use of oral or topical medications. We provide these services through our Associated Dermatologists offices, located in Commerce, West Bloomfield, Novi, Berkley, and Farmington Hills. Make an appointment with one of our dermatologists to discuss your options or to learn additional facts about birthmarks as they apply to you.

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