Birthmarks are skin discolorations that occur on the skin at birth or a few weeks after birth. These marks are characterized by their pigmented, patchy, and blemished skin appearance. Birthmarks are usually noncancerous.
Birthmarks can occur in different body areas and vary depending on the size, color, shape, and appearance. Some of these marks are permanent and may increase in size with time. Others fade away and disappear eventually.
While most birthmarks do not pose a health risk, some may indicate an underlying health condition.
On this day, many birthmark removal treatments are available to give the skin surface a flawless appearance.
Table of Contents
- 1 What Causes Birthmark?
- 2 Types of Birthmarks
- 3 Birthmark Removal Treatment Options
- 4 Birthmark Removal Results
- 5 How much does birthmark removal cost?
- 6 Birthmark Removal Treatment FAQs
- 7 Schedule a Consultation
What Causes Birthmark?
The exact reason for the birthmark is unknown. However, contrary to what many people believe, birthmarks are not a result of pregnant women suppressing their food cravings.
Having that said, scientists do believe that some birthmarks run in families. In very rare cases, birthmarks are caused by genetic mutations. For instance, port-wine stains in newborns are usually a symptom of Klippel-Trenaunay syndrome. Port-wine stains can be a symptom of another health condition called Sturge-Weber syndrome, which is a result of a different genetic mutation.
Types of Birthmarks
All birthmarks fall into two categories: vascular birthmarks and pigmented birthmarks. Let’s have a look at both these types.
Vascular birthmarks occur due to the poor formation of blood vessels in a particular skin area. For instance, many blood vessels clustering in one place can cause vascular birthmarks. Widening of blood vessels can also cause these reddish stains.
Here are the types of vascular birthmarks.
- Salmon patches: These patches usually occur on the back of the neck, eyelids, or the area between your eyes. These marks are also called stork bites. The reason for these birthmarks is the clustering of tiny blood vessels beneath the skin. Salmon patches generally do not require any treatment as they go away gradually.
- Hemangiomas: These birthmarks are usually blue, pink, or red and appear on the neck, head, or extremities. Hemangiomas are generally small during their onset and grow in a few months to become more prominent and elevated. These birthmarks fade away gradually and may disappear when a child acquires adolescence. They may leave behind a pale mark, which is generally referred to as strawberry hemangioma. Hemangiomas that grow fast may require medical attention as they can interfere with a child’s vision or breathing.
- Port-wine stains: These birthmarks appear due to the problem with blood vessel formation under the skin. Most commonly occur on the neck and face, though they can appear anywhere on the body. Port-wine stains or nevus flammeus can be pink or red during the early days. The port-wine stains are permanent and may turn darker over time. Medical treatment may become necessary if these birthmarks appear on the eyelids. Very rarely a birthmark may be linked to a genetic condition.
These birthmarks appear due to the accumulation of the skin pigment cells called melanocytes in a small skin area. Melanocytes are the dark-colored cells that give your skin its natural tone.
Here is a brief overview of the types of pigmented birthmarks.
- Moles: Moles or Nevi appear in different colors ranging from pink to light brown to black. They can be flat or raised and have varying sizes. Some moles fade away gradually, while some are permanent. Moles that change shape and size may indicate cancer.
- Café au lait spots: These oval-shaped birthmarks usually appear pale brown. Generally, these birthmarks are comparatively darker on dark skin. Café au lait spots fade away most of the time. In some cases, these birthmarks may indicate a medical condition called neurofibromatosis.
- Mongolian blue spots: These bluish-gray birthmarks typically occur on dark skin. Mongolian blue spots or slate gray nevi usually disappear by the age of four.
Birthmark Removal Treatment Options
A birthmark treatment option depends on your requirements and preferences. Typically, birthmarks are removed using one of the following three options.
- Surgical birthmark removal
- Laser therapy
Your doctor may prescribe beta-blockers to reduce blood flow to the area of the birthmarks by shrinking blood vessels. This helps reduce the appearance of birthmarks like hemangiomas. Corticosteroids may also help shrink blood vessels to treat infancy hemangiomas.
Surgical Birthmark Removal
Surgery to remove birthmarks is usually performed under local anesthesia. The surgeon uses a scalpel to remove the mark once the treatment area is numb.
You may require general anesthesia if your birthmark is too large.
Different laser technologies are used to treat different types of birthmarks.
For instance, the laser technology that helps shrink small blood vessels is ideal for treating vascular birthmarks. Similarly, the laser technology that targets skin pigments is helpful for pigmented birthmarks.
In general, laser therapy works best on birthmarks of infancy. Deep-rooted marks – the ones typically found in adolescents and adults – can also be treated with this option but may require longer exposures to the laser beam and multiple sessions to achieve the desired results.
Birthmark Removal Results
All three birthmark removal techniques tend to deliver permanent results as the eliminated cells do not return or regrow. However, the number of birthmarks treated and whether these marks are removed or lightened depend on the treatment technique. For instance, surgery is a surefire way to remove birthmarks as it involves cutting off the lesion. And laser therapy may leave behind a faint mark.
How much does birthmark removal cost?
The average starting price of birthmark removal is 1000AED. The final cost of the treatment depends on the amount or number of birthmarks and the treatment method selected.
Birthmark Removal Treatment FAQs
Is it painful to remove birthmarks?
The pain associated with birthmark removal is minimal with laser therapy. Surgical birthmark removal can hurt a bit more than the laser treatment, but the pain is manageable overall.
When should a birthmark be removed?
Since a birthmark is primarily a cosmetic issue in most cases, removing it through any means is a personal choice. In general, the time to remove a birthmark depends on whether this blemished lesion tends to fade away or becomes more prominent as you age.
Can brown birthmarks be removed?
Yes, brown birthmarks are removable, but the treatment methods may vary depending on the size and location of these marks.
How long does it take to remove a birthmark?
This mainly depends on the method of removing birthmarks. Removing a birthmark with non-surgical procedures like laser therapy or medications usually requires multiple treatment sessions over several weeks. On the other hand, surgical treatment involves cutting off the skin area with a birthmark, which generally takes less than an hour.
Can birthmarks be cancerous?
Most birthmarks carry little to no risk of cancer. Some rare types, however, can be cancerous. For example, a giant congenital melanocytic naevus can develop into a melanoma.
Schedule a Consultation
Birthmark removal requires careful selection of the treatment method and greater expertise. Therefore, it is imperative to get this treatment from a skilled dermatologist. Thus, at EuroMed Clinic Dubai, we connect you with top-rated, board-certified dermatologists with an enhanced experience in dealing with various cosmetic issues, including birthmark removal. For more information or to book an appointment, fill out the form below.