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A birthmark is a coloured mark on or under a newborn baby's skin. Some birthmarks show up soon after a baby is born. Most birthmarks are obvious at birth. Some kinds of birthmarks fade or go away as a child gets older. Others stay the same or get bigger, darker, or thicker.
There are many kinds of birthmarks. They can be any size or shape and can be different colours, such as blue or blue-grey, brown, tan, black, pink, white, red, or purple. Some birthmarks are smooth, and some are raised or lumpy.
Nearly all birthmarks are harmless and painless. But it's important to have a doctor check all birthmarks, just to be sure they are okay.
Some birthmarks are from extra colour (pigment) in the skin. Other birthmarks are blood vessels that are bunched together or don't grow normally.
It's not clear why some children have birthmarks and others don't.
Most birthmarks are harmless and need no treatment. Some will even fade or disappear over time. But in rare cases, birthmarks need treatment because they are growing quickly, growing on an internal organ, or causing a medical problem (such as a problem with sight, breathing, hearing, speech, or movement).
There are several ways to fade, shrink, or remove birthmarks. These include:
Your options will depend on the type of birthmark, where it is, and what problems it's causing. Treating a birthmark can be a big decision. The treatments may not work, and they can be painful and cause side effects.
If your child's birthmark bothers or worries you, try not to let your child know how you feel. Ask others not to make a big deal out of it. If a birthmark upsets your child, it may help to have your child talk with a trusted doctor. If your child is still upset, talking to a counsellor or support group may be a good idea to help him or her feel better.
If you see a birthmark on your baby, make sure that a doctor has seen it. Although most birthmarks are harmless, some aren't.
If a birthmark grows, bleeds, hurts, or gets infected, see a doctor to have it checked.
Current as of: July 2, 2020
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: Kathleen Romito MD - Family MedicineBrian D. O'Brien MD - Internal MedicineAdam Husney MD - Family MedicineMartin J. Gabica MD - Family MedicineJohn Pope MD - Pediatrics
Current as of: July 2, 2020
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Brian D. O'Brien MD - Internal Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine & John Pope MD - Pediatrics
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