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Birthmarks are coloured marks on the skin that are there at birth or shortly after birth. They can be different sizes and shapes. They come in many colours, including brown, tan, black, blue, pink, white, red, and purple. Some birthmarks form a raised area on the skin. Birthmarks can grow quickly, stay the same size, shrink, or disappear over time.
Doctors don't know why some children are born with birthmarks. Birthmarks can be caused by extra pigment in the skin or by blood vessels that group together.
Salmon patches are pink patches that occur mainly on the back of the neck, the upper eyelids, upper lip, or between the eyebrows. These marks are also called stork bites or angel kisses. Moles are brown raised bumps that can occur anywhere on the body. Café-au-lait spots are brown, oval birthmarks on the lower part of the body. Mongolian spots are smooth, brown or grey birthmarks on the lower back and buttocks. Be sure to tell any child care provider that your child has these birthmarks. Sometimes they look like bruises, and people who see them may become concerned about child abuse.
Hemangiomas are raised, blue, red, or purple birthmarks formed by a clump of blood vessels that can be any size or shape. Port-wine stains are pink-red at birth and then become a darker red-purple colour. They are formed by blood vessels that did not develop as they should. They can be large.
Talk to your child's doctor about whether to have birthmarks treated. Hemangiomas are the birthmarks most often treated. But many are not treated for the first couple of years of life. This is because most go away without any treatment or problems. Treatment can involve medicine to shrink the birthmark, laser therapy to stop it from growing, or surgery to remove it.
Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.
Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:
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Current as of: July 2, 2020
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.
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