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06 April 2022

What is a Birthmark?

Birthmarks are generally harmless color changes that can be seen on babies' skin. These spots can be of different size, colour, shape and appearance. Sometimes they can be permanent but tend to grow. Some spots disappear over time and the skin returns to its normal color. Birthmarks are usually harmless, but some spots can indicate medical problems.

Contrary to their name, birthmarks do not always occur at the time of birth. Some types may occur after weeks. There is no way to prevent birthmarks before they occur. Most types of birthmarks are permanent for life, but some types disappear later in life.

Why Do Birthmarks Occur?

There are many beliefs among the people about why birthmarks occur. Some of these beliefs are; It may be due to the fact that the expectant mother cannot eat what she wants in case of craving and can be listed as foods taken without permission while pregnant. But birthmarks have nothing to do with these conditions. It is not known exactly why birthmarks occur, but some birthmarks may be genetic.

Birthmark Types

Among the most common birthmarks in newborn babies are infantile hemangiomas, simple moles, mongolian spots, milky brown moles, vascular abnormalities, and melanocytic moles. Listed below are the most common birthmarks:

Infant hemangiomas: These are the most common stains that occur as a result of flocculation of blood vessels. They are more common in female babies, premature babies, low birth weight babies and twins. They are also called strawberry hemangiomas because they are bright red in color, raised from the skin and resemble strawberries. Although they can be seen all over the skin, the most common areas are the head and neck regions. Hemangiomas can be located not only on the skin, but also in the liver, respiratory tract, and even internal organs such as the brain and heart. Sometimes they cause a blue color to the overlying skin because they are located deep and under the skin. Infantile hemangiomas are usually not present at birth or initially appear as a red patch on the skin and then enlarge and swell to form a hemangioma. They continue to grow for several weeks or months. They then enter the stagnation period. Then they start to shrink and disappear after a while. Most hemangiomas do not require treatment, but those located on the face and especially on the eyelids or lips, genitals cause an ugly appearance, but they can disrupt the function of the organ. They can also affect vision, breathing, or feeding. They need to be examined, followed up and treated. If hemangiomas itch, they may bleed heavily. In such a case, it is necessary to press a clean gauze cloth on the bleeding area for at least 5 minutes.

Simple moles (Nevus): They are in the form of patches of pink or reddish skin. They are more common between the eyes, on the forehead, or on the back of the neck. There are those who call it the birthmark or the "angel kiss". They occur as a result of the enlargement of the veins in the skin and give the skin a red color. They become more visible when the baby is pushing or crying.

Mongolian spots: They are seen as gray or bluish areas on the skin. The skin of the stained area may appear as if it has been crushed and bruised as a result of an impact. They are more common in races living in Asia, and the Mongolian name is derived from the Mongolian race. They usually appear on the back, waist or hips and disappear on their own within two years.

Port wine stain: It is the most common vascular abnormality. Its color is similar to the color of cherry juice or red wine. If left untreated, they can become darker and fluffier. Children with these birthmarks sometimes also have vascular abnormalities in their brains or inside their eyes. In this respect, they should be evaluated by doctors. These birthmarks do not go away for life.

Melanocytic moles (Nevus): It occurs when the cells that give color to the baby's skin are concentrated in one area of ​​the skin. They are usually light or dark brown. Sometimes they appear at birth, sometimes in the first few months and do not disappear for life. In babies with dark skin, they become even darker. During puberty, they may darken and swell and become hairy. If they are large, they can turn into skin cancer over time. They need to be followed by doctors. Treatment is not necessary unless there is a danger of skin cancer.

Milky brown spots (cafe-au-lait spots): They are light or dark brown spots and can be seen all over the body. They appear darker on darker skin. They vary greatly in size and shape. If their number is 6 or more, they should be followed by doctors as they may be a sign of neurofibromatosis type 1 disease.

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