What are Birthmarks?

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.

Signs and Symptoms of Birthmarks

Birthmarks come in. any 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. What they are not caused by are 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 to 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.

Suggested Treatment Options

All cases of birthmarks are not the same, therefore we recommend seeing a specialist to help determine which treatment option is the best for you.


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


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

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