I have a birthmark on the side of my stomach, I had a neighbor a couple of months older than me, and he had a similar kind about the same position. We thought we were soul mates (lol). We were not kidding about it. I don’t know where he is now though; I mean it’s been almost two decades now.
Are birthmarks all that of a big deal? Birthmarks are colored marks that are visible on the skin. They are often present at birth or develop soon afterwards. There are several different types of birthmark and some of them are very common.
The two main types of birthmark are vascular birthmarks (often red, pink or purple) caused by abnormal blood vessels in or under the skin and pigmented birthmarks (usually brown) caused by clusters of pigment cells. Pigmented birthmarks are tan or brown-colored skin marks.
Coffee-colored skin patches. Many children have one or two of these, but if more than six have developed by the time the child is five, see your doctor as it could be a sign of neurofibromatosis.
Congenital melanocytic naevi (CMN) – also known as ‘congenital moles’. These are relatively large brown or black moles that are present at birth. They are fairly common and are caused by an overgrowth of pigment cells in the skin. Most CMN become proportionally smaller and less obvious with time, although they may darken during puberty or become bumpy or hairy. They can range in size from less than 1.5cm to more than 20cm in diameter. The risk of CMN developing into skin cancer is low, but this risk increases with the size of the CMN.
It is not understood exactly why birthmarks occur, but they are not usually inherited. Vascular birthmarks are caused by abnormal blood vessels in or under the skin, while pigmented birthmarks are caused by clusters of pigment cells.
Most birthmarks are harmless and do not need to be treated. Some types of birthmark will fade over time whereas other types, such as port wine stains, are permanent if they are not treated. In some cases, a birthmark will need to be treated for medical reasons, for example if a haemangioma blocks the airways, affects vision or becomes ulcerated. Some people may seek treatment for cosmetic reasons.
Contributed By: Chisom Nwobodo