CIGNA members: Please note that you may receive a letter in the mail stating that The Dermatology Center of Indiana is no longer in your network. This communication from CIGNA is incorrect and we would like to reassure you that we are still in network with CIGNA. We look forward to continuing to service you and your family for all your dermatology needs.

What Does Your Birthmark Say About You?

More than likely you have a birthmark, and everyone you know has one too. Birthmarks come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and even the locations can vary. Most birthmarks are visible right at birth, but some can show up soon after birth. While the cause of birthmarks remains unknown, researchers do believe that birthmarks can, in fact, be in inherited, though it’s very unlikely.

A vascular birthmark happens when blood vessels don’t form correctly. This could mean there are too many blood vessels, or the blood vessels are wider than usual. Vascular birthmarks are often called hemangioma or port-wine stains. You may also have heard them called angel kisses, stork bites, etc. Hemangiomas come in two forms, Strawberry Hemangioma and Deep Hemangiomas. Strawberry hemangiomas are usually bright red and on top of the skin. They get their name because they often look similar to the deep red color of the fruit. Deep hemangiomas are bluish in color. These make the skin swell and often times bulge. These birthmarks show up after a baby is born and typically get larger throughout the first year of life. Vascular birthmarks are common as more than one in 10 babies have some type of a vascular birthmark. Hemangiomas typically go away on their own, they start shrinking and are usually flat by the age of 10 and disappear leaving only a light mark behind.

Pigmented birthmarks are most common types of birthmarks. Café-au-lait spots are typically light brown in color and can be located anywhere on the body. These types of birthmarks actually increase in number as the child gets old. If you find more than six spots bigger than the size of a pencil eraser it would be wise to get them checked out by a dermatologist. Numerous types of these birthmarks can be a sign of a genetic disorder called Neurofibromatosis. Moles are actually considered birthmarks as well. Moles present at birth (called Congenital Nevi/Nevus) will last a life time. These have a low, but possible, chance of turning into skin cancer later on in life.

Birthmarks are your own special stamp – no two birthmarks are the same! Birthmarks are typically left alone with the exception of congenital moles, those are often time surgically removed. Hemangioma and port-wine stains are visible and can sometimes be embarrassing. These types of birthmarks can be treated with laser treatment to lighten the discoloration of their appearance. If your birthmark is affecting your everyday life, you can schedule an appointment with us for a consult.

Disclaimer: This blog provides general information and discussion about medical, cosmetic, mohs, and surgical dermatology. The words and other content provided in this blog, and in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice. If the reader or any other person has a medical concern, he or she should consult with an appropriately-licensed dermatologist or other health care worker.