A birthmark is an unusual or abnormal mark that appears on the skin of an individual at the time of birth. Some birthmarks lose themselves in the abyss of time, while some somehow manage to linger on and donÂ’t really go anywhere. In other words, some birthmarks are temporary, while the rest are as good as permanent.
DIFFERENT TYPES OF BIRTHMARK
What do we know about birthmarks? A birthmark is a blemish on the skin formed before birth. A little over 1 in 10 babies have a vascular birthmark. They are part of the group of skin lesions known as nevi or naevi. The cause of birthmarks is not fully understood. They are a benign overgrowth of blood vessels in the skin, and are made up of cells that usually form the inner lining of blood vessels. They are thought to occur as a result of a localized imbalance in factors controlling the development of blood vessels. Strawberry marks affect as many as one in ten Caucasian babies but only about 1% of Asian and Black newborns have them. They are particularly common in premature babies. Strawberry marks are not a sign of ill health, or associated with cancer.
A birthmark is an unusual or abnormal mark that appears on the skin of an individual at the time of birth. Some birthmarks lose themselves in the abyss of time, while some somehow manage to linger on and don’t really go anywhere. In other words, some birthmarks are temporary, while the rest are as good as permanent.
Sadly, however, why exactly birthmarks occur on the skins of people is not really known. Scientific predictions, however, revolve around the beliefs that birthmarks are caused due to the developments of skin abnormalities. Birthmarks are called so, because they almost always occur during the time of birth. Some birthmarks, however, can appear on the skin of a person during the early stages of childhood!
If you have always been yearning to know more about birthmarks, the opportunity to do so has now arrived. But before we continue, here is some folklore about birthmarks.
*Birthmarks are called voglie in Italian, antojos in Spanish, and wiham in Arabic; all of which translate to "wishes" because, according to folklore, they are caused by unsatisfied wishes of the mother during pregnancy. For example, if a pregnant woman does not satisfy a sudden wish or craving for strawberries, it's said that the infant might bear a strawberry mark.
*In Dutch, birthmarks are called moedervlekken and in Danish modermærke (mother-spots) because it was thought that an infant inherited the marks solely from the mother.
*The Hungarian word for any flat mole (as opposed to only congenital birthmarks), anyajegy, is also derived from this belief.
*Some myths associated with birthmarks are that they are caused when an expectant mother sees something strange, or experiences a great deal of fear.
*In Iranian folklore, a birth mark appears when the pregnant mother touches a part of her body during a solar eclipse.
Different Kinds of Birthmarks
These birthmarks, arguably, make for the most common birthmarks and can occur almost anywhere on a person’s body at birth. Café-au-lait spots are light and resemble the color of coffee. These birthmarks can show up on the skin of a person at birth or even appear during the early stages of childhood. Café-au-lait spots are as common as they are, because almost everyone gets at least one or two of them during birth. Interestingly, café-au-lait spots are permanent and almost never disappear.
Salmon Patches or Nevus Simplex
Salmon patches are reddish-pink marks that occur on the skin of a person at the time of birth. Salmon patches are called so because they almost always occur in patches and resemble salmon. These birthmarks are faint and almost always make their presence felt on the skin of a person at birth. Salmon patches, more often than not, appear on the back of a person’s neck, and sometimes even between the eyes or on the eyelids. These birthmarks, unlike café-au-lait spots, usually fade away within a year or so of their occurrence. Salmon patches are also known as ‘angel kisses’ and ‘stork bites’.
Contrary to popular belief, all birthmarks are not really unwanted, and silvermarks just happen to be one such birthmark. These birthmarks have been proven to be hereditary and almost always occur in the front portion of the hairline. Silvermarks are not shunned upon, because they are believed to be a blessing in disguise. Silvermarks are also known as ‘witch’s streak’ and enjoy the distinction of being the most popular birthmarks.
Congenital Pigmented Nevi
‘Congenital pigmented nevi’ occur on the skin in the form of hairy moles. These moles usually occur in light brown tones and black tones. However, in terms of size, these birthmarks can be a cause of concern. At times, they can be small, and at times they can be excessively large. When congenital pigmented nevi occur over large areas, they become causes for worry. If you just happen to have abnormally large congenital pigmented nevi, make sure you go in for a checkup with a health care specialist.
Slate Gray Nevus
A ‘slate gray nevus’, previously known as a ‘Mongolian blue spot’, is a bluish-gray birthmark that makes its presence felt on the lower back and the buttocks. These birthmarks are not too common amongst fair skinned children. However, slate gray nevus marks or Mongolian blue spots are extremely common in dark-skinned children, especially children who hail from the continents of Asia and Africa.
Port Wine Stains
Port wine stains are called so because when they first appear on the skin of a person, they are pale pink in color. However, with the passing of time, these birthmarks can turn into a color that resembles the color of thick red wine, and hence the name. It is a known fact that these birthmarks affect only around 0.3 % of the entire world’s population. It is also a known fact that port wine stains appear on the skin of a person due to a deficiency of nerve supply to blood vessels.
Strawberry Hemangioma - Vascular malformation with red, soft, raised appearance.
May be present at birth or first few weeks thereafter, it will grow, but start to fade, turn gray in color. Usually disappear between ages 5-10.
Surgery might be necessary to remove – depending on size and location of lesion.
Other treatments are compression and massage, steroids, X-ray therapy, laser therapy, cryotherapy, or injection of hardening agents.
Venous Malformation is abnormality of the large deep veins, sometimes mistaken for hemangioma. Can be deep or superficial – deep can have no color but show a protruding mass. Jaw, cheek lips and tongue are most common areas affected. Soft to the touch, color disappears and empties when the lesion is compressed.
When a child cries or is lying down, the lesion expands and the vessels fill and the color becomes more intense.
Slow, steady enlargement – it will grow – some things cause more rapid growth such as serious sickness, trauma, and infection, hormone changes (puberty, pregnancy, and menopause). Partial removal is not recommended, as these lesions will grow back.
Type of flat birthmark that is bluish in color and comprised of enlarged venular vessels – sometimes blebs appear and can pop and bleed.
Images from Google Image