Treatments for Birthmarks on Babies

image001Birthmarks are bumps and discolorations that form on the skin anytime from immediate birth to a few months afterwards. Over 80% of all babies are born with one or more distinct patches that can be considered birthmarks, some of which can disappear in time.

What Are the Different Types of Birthmarks on Babies?

Birthmarks can either be vascular or pigmented. Based on their names, the former are caused by sub-dermal blood vessels and can be bluish, pink or red. On the other hand, the latter are caused by abnormal pigment cells and come in gray or black.

Watch this video and learn more about the birthmarks on babies:

Do Birthmarks on Babies Need to Be Treated or to Be Removed?

1. Do Birthmarks Need Treatment?

Although they are caused by abnormal development in the skin or blood vessels, birthmarks are hardly any cause for alarm. In fact, most of these fade away within the first few months or years after the baby is born.

However, it is still advisable to have a professional check on any distinct markings on your baby’s body. This is because birthmarks that appear in certain areas of the body or carry certain characteristics may indicate or cause certain problems. In cases like these, it is best to seek medical attention for your baby immediately. These include:

Signs & Symptoms

Description

Sturge-Weber syndrome

Port-wine stains located beside or within the immediate vicinity of the eyes. These have been previously linked to glaucoma or developmental problems in vision, more commonly known as the Sturge-Weber syndrome.

Hemangiomas

Large growths called hemangiomas can hamper the breathing, eating and vision of your baby, depending on where they are situated. Aside from being physically blemishing, there have also been some reported cases of them growing inside the body instead of on the surface. These are more likely to pose as threats to the health and function of internal organs.

Birthmarks located in lower spinal or internal skin

Some birthmarks that are found in the lower spinal area and penetrate the skin’s surface can be cause for problems in blood flow and nerve sensitivity.

Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF-1)

Spots of skin that are akin to coffee stains and are grouped together by six or more may indicate the existence of neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF-1) in your baby. This disorder is genetic and is usually manifested through symptoms by the time your baby reaches the age of two years. Half the people who are diagnosed with this condition have also been found to experience some learning disabilities.

Large moles

Large moles that are already formed upon birth are more likely to become cancerous in the long run.

2. Can Birthmarks Be Removed?

It may be necessary to remove the birthmarks that have the ability to cause potential damage or health threats. However, regular, harmless birthmarks are not really recommended for removal because they are thought to be unnecessary and frivolous. This is especially true for those that disappear gradually and naturally without leaving any trace behind. In fact, unless these directly cause discomfort or health risks, most doctors would suggest simply waiting for your baby’s birthmarks to fade away instead of having him undergo a medical procedure.

If you have doubts about your baby’s birthmark, consult his doctor to see if he needs to receive treatment or if his mark may indicate an underlying problem.

3. What Are the Treatment?

Many growths, or hemangiomas, do not require any medical treatment as they usually fade away on their own. These include the strawberry, cavernous and salmon classifications. Similarly, unless they change in appearance or cause your baby physical disfiguration, emotional stress or painful sensations, nevus flammeus hemangiomas also need not be treated.

  • Surgery

Although harmless permanent birthmarks also do not require medical treatment, they may also be removed with equipment called a yellow pulsed-dye laser. Cryotherapy, laser surgery and other surgical procedures may also be employed to accomplish the task. However, it is usually recommended that you wait for your baby to reach school age before allowing him to undergo any serious procedures.

  • Medication and injection

Oral and injected cortisone may also be useful in inhibiting the growth and reducing the size of hemangiomas, especially those that have negative effects on vision or vital organ functions. Other less permanent measures include using cosmetic products and beta-blocker medications like propranolol.

How to Help Babies Deal with the Embarrassment Caused by Birthmarks

Because some birthmarks are very distinct and can draw attention to your baby, he may become uneasy with all the commotion it brings about. In order to make your baby feel more comfortable around family, friends and even strangers, be sure to remind these people not to make insensitive remarks, stare or point at him. Explain that your baby was born with the mark and it should not be a cause for him to receive any unwanted negative attention.

When your baby is finally old enough to understand the things going on around him, have a sit-down talk with him about how he came to have his birthmark. Explain what it is and assure him that it should not cause him any pain. If he is being bullied or teased because he looks different, teach him some ways to deal with the hurtful comments he receives. It is a good idea to help him practice explaining to his peers that what he has is a birthmark, and that he was born with it.

Once your baby starts going to school or to a day care center, make sure you find the time to have a talk with the staff and teachers about his birthmark and how he feels about it. This way, they will be better-informed about your baby’s situation and be better able to cater to his emotional and psychological needs.