Common Myths and Remedies for Birthmarks on Babies
Birthmarks on babies are a very common occurrence and nearly one in three babies will be born with a birthmark. Many a time, parents panic when upon examination of their baby, they discover moles and birthmarks and they think that it is a sign of something wrong with the baby.
But birthmarks on infants are not rare and they are usually harmless growths of blood vessels in the skin. Birthmarks moles may be present on the head, face or some other parts of the body and in most cases, are of cosmetic importance only.
A baby birthmark can be characterized by primarily three types of marks:
The strawberry mark or superficial angioma is bright red in color and is like a tiny, raised growth which may feel lumpy. This often appears when the baby is just two or three weeks old.
It often grows in size, mainly within six to nine months and then become paler and flatter. This birthmark normally goes away by itself by the time the child reaches five years of age and does not pose a problem in the child’s appearance if it is concealed.
The application of steroid cream is found to be helpful for treating strawberry marks and in extreme cases, laser is recommended. Surgery is not necessary unless it is confirmed that the birthmark is not going to disappear on its own.
A birthmark baby may also have what is typically called the ‘port wine stain’ or capillary haemangioma. As the name suggests, this birthmark ranges from a pale pink color to a deep red and may cover a large area. It is a growth of the smallest blood vessels or capillaries and is usually found on one side of the face.
A small port wine stain may be treated with full thickness skin removal but larger ones are more difficult to treat. Concerned parents may opt for laser as it is the only treatment for a large port wine stain because it does not disappear by itself.
The earlier the treatment, the more successful it will be and therefore it advisable to start the treatment by two years of age. The entire procedure can require up to six treatments spread over almost three years.
Stork bite is also a form of port wine stain birthmark and is found on the nape. It is called the ‘salmon patch’ because of its pinkish color and this lies flat on the skin and does not grow. In the usual instances, stork bites gradually fade away and may completely disappear within the first two years. Stork bites do not require any treatment.
Birthmarks on babies are not harmful and parents should not press the panic button when they see them.