Baby birth marks

When you examine your baby in detail, you may notice a variety of skin marks, which are present at birth or appear soon after. This birth marks affect about third of all babies. Ask your doctor if they will disappear.
There maybe small marks and spots, usually on the head or face, or sometimes, larger marks on the head, face or other parts of the body. They are harmless growths of blood vessels in the skin and are usually of cosmetic importance only.

There are different forms of birthmarks:

- The strawberry mark ( superficial angioma) is a small, bright red, raised growth that appears in the first week of life. It grows to its fullest size during the first year of life and then usually becomes flatter and paler. It often disappears by itself by 5 years of age. Although it may affect the appearance of the baby, there is no need for surgery until it is certain that it is not going to disappear by itself.

- The port wine stain (capillary haemangioma) is pale pink to deep red growth of capillaries, which are the smallest blood vessels. It is present at birth and is usually found on one side of the face. Although it does not disappear by itself, usually no treatment is needed. A particular type port wine stain (stork bites) is found on the nape of the neck. They gradually fade away although it may be months before they disappear.

- The carvernous haemangioma is a permanent non-cancerous (benign) growth of medium size blood vessels and blood spaces. It is raised and markedly coloured.

Most of the problems encountered with persistent birth marks are psychological, especially those on the face.

However, there is an association between large skin haemangiomas and haemangiomas in the brain and eye. As such, your doctor must follow up a child with this condition regularly.

Strawberry marks and stork bites do not require treatment. A small port wine stain can be treated by full thickness skin removal. Extensive port wine stains are treated with lasers. The treatment of cavernous haemongiomas is more problematic. It is advisable to seek the advice of plastic surgeon.