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What Is A Birthmark?

Birthmarks are congenital skin conditions that typically appear at birth or shortly thereafter. They are benign conditions that do not harm the overall health of an individual. When they are located on the face or in other visible areas, however, they can cause some social or psychological distress.

What Are Different Types of Birthmarks?

  • Congenital nevi: Nevi are moles or pigmented lesions that can sometimes grow dark coarse hair.
  • Hemangiomas: These are red, soft raised bumps. They usually decrease in size on their own, but it can take years for this to happen.
  • Port-Wine Stains: These birthmarks are large red or pink patches sometimes called “stork bites.”

Signs and Symptoms of Birthmarks

Birthmarks come in many different forms. Typical signs of birthmarks include:

  • A raised reddish spot that looks like a small strawberry.
  • A small lump that sits under the skin.
  • A splotch of brownish skin.
  • What looks like a bruised patch of skin.
  • A wine-colored splotch across the skin.

What Causes Birthmarks?

Birthmarks are caused by a variety of things depending on the type of birthmark they are. They are not caused by any actions or choices made by a mother when a child is in utero. In some cases, birthmarks such as port-wine stains or strawberry hemangiomas are caused by a malformation of the blood vessels. Others, such as a nevus sebaceous, occur when a section of the skin overgrows.

How Birthmarks Are Treated

Some birthmarks can disappear during childhood. Others, such as port-wine stains, can get larger or more textured as the individual ages. Treatments that are often used for birthmarks include laser therapy, which can slow the growth of some birthmarks, propranolol which can prevent growth in a hemangioma, and surgery to excise the birthmark. In rare cases where a birthmark is life-threatening, interferon may be prescribed. Any birthmark should be watched for changes in color or texture.


IPL is a light treatment used to affect and improve the appearance and condition of skin. IPL is different from a laser which uses only one wavelength of light. Learn More

Laser Therapy

Laser therapy is a dermatological procedure that uses lasers to smooth and refine the surface of the skin while also reinvigorating the layers of skin below. Learn More

Liquid Nitrogen Cryotherapy

Liquid nitrogen cryotherapy works by freezing and destroying the cells in a skin growth or lesion. Learn More


PDL, or pulse dye laser, is a laser treatment used in dermatology to treat blood vessels in the skin. Learn More

Surgical Scar Revision

Surgical revision is a treatment option for those who wish to reverse the appearance of scars on the body. Learn More

Vbeam® Laser

The Vbeam® laser is a world renowned, easy to use pulsed dye laser recognized as the gold standard technology for the treatment of vascular lesions. Learn More

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