There are many types of birthmarks, and just like the people who wear them no two are exactly alike. Although many are proud of this distinguishing part of their body, some people would prefer them removed. In rare cases, the birthmark may be malignant and require removal or treatment.
In cases where a birthmark is removed for cosmetic or medical reasons, the birthmark removal treatment depends on the type of birthmark. Of the many different types, most fall into two main categories: pigmented birthmarks and vascular birthmarks.
Most birthmarks are harmless and don’t require removal. However, birthmark removal treatments do exist for those that pose health risks. Treatments also exist for those who would like to remove their birthmark for cosmetic reasons.
1. Pigmented Birthmarks
These types of birthmarks manifest as tan or brown skin discolorations on the body. Moles and café-au-lait spots are both examples of pigmented birthmarks. They are caused when pigment cells in the skin cluster together.
Treatment for pigmented birthmarks typically involves monitoring the marks for changes over time. Melanoma screening is often performed if you notice a change in the birthmark, or if it hurts or bleeds. Surgical removal is an option for birthmarks such as moles that show signs of becoming malignant.
2. Vascular Birthmarks
These types of birthmarks are typically red, purple or pink in color and are caused by an abnormality in the blood vessels in the skin. Hemangiomas, capillary malformation and salmon patches are all examples of vascular birthmarks.
These types of birthmarks can be common in babies. Some stay throughout life, while others will disappear within the first several years. Both medication and laser procedures are available for those with large or bothersome birthmarks. For instance, beta blockers and steroid injections are both commonly used to treat hemangiomas.