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Baby Birthmarks

Published February 05, 2008        by Nicole

You're changing your baby's diaper or baby clothes and you notice a little mark. Did you know that more than half of all newborns have some type of birthmark?  The most common skin blemishes are red, flat areas on the forehead, upper eyelids, upper lip, or back of the scalp and neck.  These are often called “stork bites.” They are not caused by trauma during birth.  Although they may be extensive, they usually disappear during the baby’s first year of birth.

“Mongolian spots” are blue-black discolorations on the lower part of the back and the buttocks of newborns. They look like large bruises. They gradually disappear and are almost always gone by adolescence.

Strawberry hemangiomas affect ten percent of all babies.  They are usually not present at birth, but appear during the first few months of life.  They are red, usually raised, and may be up to two inches across.  They continue to increase in size, perhaps a few years, and then gradually shrink and disappear by age five or six.  They are an accumulation of blood vessels lying just beneath the skin.  If the overlying skin is broken, they may become infected. Except for infection, they rarely require any treatment.  It’s generally best to leave them alone; in rare cases, surgery may be needed.

Port-wine stains are smooth, flat and purplish.  They often are quite large and may be anywhere on the body.  Unfortunately, these birthmarks don’t fade.  Currently, there is no effective treatment for them in children younger than twelve years of age, but laser treatment is often possible in older patients.

The most common type of birthmark found in children and adults, the common mole, is not often seen in newborns.  Moles tend to develop as your child grows.  Most children will have ten to fifteen moles by adolescence.