Even though about one in 10 babies are born with a birthmark, it’s easy to become overly worried about whether or not your child’s birthmark requires extra attention. If you learn more about the types of birthmarks and can tell the difference between common, harmless birthmarks and their riskier counterparts, you’ll be better equipped to determine if a dermatologist should take a look.
Non-vascular birthmarks are the most common type and are typically harmless. These can be brown, tan or black spots that are usually found on the torso, legs or buttocks. They may also be bluish patches of skin that show up on the legs, arms or back. These spots may eventually go away on their own.
Vascular birthmarks are red or pink patches of abnormal blood vessels located underneath the skin. These are sometimes referred to as stork bites, port wine stains or hemangiomas. In most cases, these birthmarks aren’t harmful, but they can be embarrassing for your child if they don’t fade or diminish on their own.
When to Consult a Doctor
If your child’s hemangioma is located near his or her eyes, mouth or neck, you should have it looked at by a specialist, as vascular birthmarks in these areas can cause complications. You should also have your child’s birthmarks examined if they are large, start to bleed, become itchy or start to change in size, shape or color.
Although your pediatrician may recommend that you simply keep an eye on your child’s birthmark to see if it’s a cause for concern, pointing out any unusual spots during your next checkup can help you and your doctor catch any potential problems early on. Occasionally, birthmarks can be associated with underlying problems in other organs, and any such issues should be identified early to optimize management.