Birthmarks are a common type of discoloration that appear on your skin at birth or during the first few weeks of life. They’re usually noncancerous.
They can occur anywhere on your face or body. Birthmarks vary in color, size, appearance, and shape. Some are permanent and may get larger over time. Others fade away completely. Most birthmarks are harmless, but some indicate an underlying medical condition. In some instances, birthmarks may be removed for cosmetic reasons.
Causes of Birthmarks
Birthmarks can't be prevented and they're not caused by anything done or not done during pregnancy. There's no truth to old wives' tales about "stains" being caused by something the mother did or ate. The cause of most birthmarks is unknown. They can be inherited, but usually are not. They are typically not related to trauma to the skin during childbirth.
The vast majority of birthmarks pose no long term health problems. Many of them eventually fade away.
Some birthmarks, including strawberry marks, may turn into an open sore and develop an infection if they are in an area that is frequently irritated.
According to the Genetics Home Reference library, people with a giant congenital melanocytic nevus have a 5–10% chance of developing melanoma, which is an aggressive skin cancer.
if a port-wine stain occurs around the eye, there is a higher riskTrusted Source of developing glaucoma.
A child with a strawberry mark on the eyelid requires prompt treatment, otherwise their risk of experiencing vision problems increases.
Likewise, a strawberry mark that interferes with breathing or feeding may be life threatening and requires rapid treatment.
Treatment can sometimes be painful, and it is not always effective. Unless a birthmark causes problems with sight, feeding, hearing, or breathing, caregivers should try to weigh the potential risks of treatment with the anticipated benefits for the child. Not all birthmarks are treatable.
A doctor can usually make a fairly accurate prediction of how a child's birthmark will progress. If they believe that a birthmark requires treatment, they may suggest one of the following options:
A doctor may prescribe this for an infant to take by mouth. It helps prevent the further development of hemangiomas by narrowing the existing blood vessels and preventing new ones from forming.
Doctors can inject corticosteroids into some types of birthmark, or an infant can take them orally. This can help shrink certain birthmarks or prevent any further growth.
If a corticosteroid does not have the desired effect, a doctor may suggest this medication instead.
Doctors commonly use this type of therapy for port-wine stains and other birthmarks that are close to the skin's surface.
If other therapies are not effective and the birthmark is causing a medical problem, a doctor may recommend surgery.