Birthmarks are caused by an overgrowth of superficial blood vessels or pigment cells. Different types of birthmarks include:
- Port wine stains are red to purple discolorations on the skin caused by swollen blood vessels. They may be removed with laser therapy.
- Hemangiomas or strawberry marks are flat red marks that appear in the first weeks of life and may enlarge significantly in the first year of life. Although many resolve without treatment, early diagnosis and monitoring is important because some may require treatment with laser or oral medications.
- Brown birthmarks are present at birth. Certain types of these birthmarks respond well to laser treatment while others don’t. Usually a test treatment is carried out prior to laser treatment.
- Congenital melanocytic nevi are brown moles that are present at birth. They should be monitored on a routine basis because they may carry a small risk of becoming cancerous over time.