Cosmetic Dermatology Conditions - Birthmarks

A birthmark is a patch of discolored skin that appears at or shortly after birth. Birthmarks can be red, pink, blue, light or dark brown, or black. Although most birthmarks are harmless, birthmark removal is often performed for cosmetic reasons. Some birthmarks can be treated using non-surgical methods to lighten pigmentation.

Birthmarks can be classified into two groups: pigmented and vascular. Pigmented birthmarks include moles, café-au-lait spots, and Mongolian spots. These birthmarks are generally smooth, flat, and harmless. Moles with irregular edges, uneven coloring, or rough texture should be examined by a dermatologist because they pose an increased risk of skin cancer, but otherwise these discolorations are merely a cosmetic problem. Vascular birthmarks include hemangiomas, port wine stains, and salmon patches. These are caused by an abnormal growth of blood vessels in the skin. Salmon patches and hemangiomas are usually temporary and tend to disappear in early childhood.

There are several techniques for birthmark removal. The most effective method for removing a particular birthmark is dependent on its type, its location, the age of the patient, and other factors. A dermatologist can examine the birthmark and recommend the most appropriate treatment.