Birthmarks are present on the skin at birth and often are categorized as being vascular (containing blood vessels, generally red or pink) or pigmented (containing melanin, generally brown or tan).
Hemangiomas: Hemangiomas (or “strawberries”) are one of the most common red birthmarks. They affect 1 in every 10 infants. The hallmark of a hemangioma is its rapid growth during early life. It may appear as small as a red dot that quickly grows in size and thickness. The good news is that over the first 5 years of life, 50% of hemangiomas go away on their own. Some hemangiomas may persist (particularly those that grow very large) and often require laser skin treatment and other medical intervention.
Port -Wine Stain: Port-wine stains are another red birthmark, although they are less common than hemangiomas. They affect 3 to 5 of every 1,000 children born in North America. In up to 90% of all cases, they are located on the face or neck. They usually appear as pale pink skin patches that grow as the child grows, becoming progressively darker (red or purple) and thicker over time. Without treatment, they will remain forever.
Pigmented birthmarks: Some brown or pigmented spots are limited to the outer layer of the skin (epidermis) whereas others are located deep in the skin (dermis). The most common pigmented birthmarks are:
Café-au-lait: Café-au-lait spots appear as pale brown patches of various sizes in 10% of the population, making them the second most common type of birthmark (after hemangiomas).
Pigmented nevi (moles): Pigmented nevi appear darker in color than freckles or café-au-lait spots. Some nevi consist of multiple small dark, bluish-gray spots that coalesce to form a patch. A pigment birthmark, known as Nevus of Ota, is often located on the face and accompanied by discoloration of the conjunctiva (white portion) of the eye.