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Uncovering the Mystery of Birthmarks: Causes & Types

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A close-up shot of the removal of a birthmark from a client's cheek with a laser device.
February 20, 2023
AKJ Clinic Team
Reading time: 6 mins

Are you curious about birthmarks? Do you want to know why they appear and what types of birthmarks are out there? Or perhaps you’re interested in learning about how to remove them? If so, you’ve come to the right place! Here, we’ll explore the causes, types, and removal methods for birthmarks. So, let’s get started and explore the fascinating world of birthmarks!

Birthmarks are mysterious and unique markings that we each carry with us from birth, and are an intriguing part of our physical identity. They can range in colour, shape, and size, and can appear anywhere on the body. While some may be seen as just a cosmetic feature, birthmarks can also be an indication of a deeper medical condition and require monitoring.

Each birthmark is different and tells a story, with some having the potential to hold a deeper, hidden meaning. So, embrace and explore the mystery of your birthmarks and let them be a reminder of the beauty of your individuality.

This article seeks to dispel some of the mystery surrounding birthmarks by explaining what causes them, the different kinds there are, and how Laser Therapy can be used to remove them in a non - invasive way.

Birthmarks: What are they?

Birthmarks are merely an unusual variation in the skin's melanin or blood vessels and have nothing to do with your ancestry.

Discolorations can show up practically everywhere on the body due to either an abnormal accumulation of melanin or a clustering of blood vessels.

What Are The Causes Behind Birthmarks?

A birthmark is a skin discoloration caused by the unnatural proliferation of skin cells. There are two primary reasons for a birthmark, and they are-

(i) The formation of abnormal blood vessels just beneath the skin's surface.

(ii) Overgrowth of grouped cells under the skin that produce melanin pigmentation.

Many civilizations around the world have urban legends and beliefs regarding what causes birthmarks, but none of them have any validity scientifically. Having a baby has nothing to do with having a birthmark.

What Are the Different Kinds Of Birthmarks ?

The two most common kinds of birthmarks are  vascular and pigmented birthmarks.

  • Vascular Birthmarks

Birthmarks of a red, pink, or purplish hue are the consequence of an abnormal or atypical pattern in the veins, capillaries, or lymph ducts just beneath the skin. Haemangiomas, Salmon patches, Port wine stains, etc are all examples of vascular birthmarks.

  1. Salmon patches - Flat, pink spots created by small blood vessels forming immediately under the skin are known as stork bites, angel kisses, or Salmon patches. These spots usually disappear on their own without any treatment.
  2. Port wine stains - Port wine stains are permanent and can become thick and rough over time. If you have a port wine stain on your eyelid, it could be an indication of glaucoma, and in rare cases, a neurological disease. Laser therapy is an effective option for removing large, unwanted port wine stains.
  3. Haemangiomas - There are two kinds of hemangiomas:
    • Those that show up on the skin's surface and those that go deep into the skin.
    • Strawberry hemangiomas are a type of birthmark that are a cluster of blood vessels and appear as a bright red, prominent birthmark.

Most strawberry hemangiomas go away on their own over the course of 7 years if nothing is done. Hemangiomas, particularly the deep ones, cause bumps and a bluish tint to the skin. Even though most will shrink with time, those that are located close to the eyes, nose, or mouth may need to be treated with lasers since they can make it difficult to breathe, eat, or see.

  • Pigmented Birthmarks 

These are typically dark in colour and formed when melanin-producing cells known as melanocytes clumped together under the skin. Spots of varying degrees of pigmentation, such as  Mongolian spots, Cafe-au-lait spots, and Congenital moles are among the most common types of pigmented birthmarks.

  1. Mongolian spots- They are grey or blue bruise-like markings that appear more frequently in infants with dark skin. They tend to appear on the lower back and buttocks, and there's no need to worry about them because they usually disappear on their own after 5 or 6 years.
  2. Congenital Moles: Moles can appear at any time, but those that are there at birth are called birthmarks. A congenital mole should be examined by a dermatologist each year to detect any signs of cancer cell development.
  3. Cafe-au-lait spots- Common birthmarks known as "café au lait spots" get their name from their "coffee with cream" hue. Babies who have big café au lait spots should be checked for a genetic condition known as neurofibromatosis. The flat and oval spots have a tendency to get larger over time.

How Do You Get Rid Of Birthmarks?

The vast majority of birthmarks are completely harmless, and some even fade away over time. However, some of these scars can become permanent, obstructing the body's ability to see, eat, breathe, etc., or be the root cause of other physiological disorders. As a result, it's important to think about birthmark removal options in this situation.

In addition to the factors mentioned previously, birthmark removal surgeries may also be adopted for improving your appearance.

After consulting with a dermatologist, you'll have a much better idea of how to go about treating a particular birthmark, whether it's on your face or somewhere else.

  • Medicating oneself
  • Opting for surgery to remove it
  • Undergoing laser therapy

Lasers can reduce the visibility of vascular birthmarks by shrinking blood vessels, whereas shaving and surgery actually eradicate the birthmark. Some birthmarks, like hemangiomas, can be reduced in size with medication.

How are birthmarks removed by surgical procedure?

If the birthmark is particularly large or the Haemangioma is located deep within the body, surgical excision is the only choice.

What are the methods for eliminating birthmarks without surgery?

Those who are hesitant to have surgery to eliminate birthmarks shouldn't worry; there are alternative methods available. These are some prevalent non-invasive options:

  • Opting for medications
  • Steroids (These can either be given orally or injected directly) into the birthmark, especially in the case of haemangiomas. By doing so, the birthmark's expansion can be stifled, and its size and visibility can be diminished.
  • Laser therapy

How to remove a birthmark using a laser treatment?

Getting rid of a birthmark typically requires invasive surgery, however laser therapy has proven to be the most successful approach. Treatment with a laser can reduce the prominence of blood vessels, making vascular birthmarks less noticeable. The laser can diminish and eventually remove pigmented birthmarks by breaking apart the pigments responsible for them.

Laser pulses penetrate the skin to treat the afflicted area. Light therapy works by heating and damaging the capillaries that give rise to the birthmark. There will be a noticeable improvement after just a few sessions, as the targeted area will be noticeably lighter. It also helps diminish the age-related "cobblestone" elevation of birthmarks.

Depending on the extent of the birthmark, laser skin treatments might last anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour.

Is laser treatment for birthmarks painful?

The treatment is painless; some patients compare it to a tingling, pinging or prickling, feeling; and because it is non-invasive, there is no downtime involved with it.

Your birthmark will be examined by a practitioner before treatment begins, and you will develop a treatment plan together to remove it most effectively.

Wrapping Up

Although most birthmarks are not medically harmful and do not require removal, some people may seek out birthmark removal procedures if they wish to have their birthmark reduced in size. These can include surgery, laser therapy, and medications. Keep in mind that the effects may not last forever. Insurance typically won't cover these cosmetic procedures, which can add hundreds or thousands of dollars to the total price tag. You should never attempt to remove a birthmark yourself; instead, seek the care of a certified dermatologist.

Let no flaw make you feel less. Redefine your charisma! Try AKJ Skin and Laser Centre today to discover the secrets behind birthmarks and learn about the different causes to types and removal!  Get the insights you need to understand birthmarks and make informed decisions about it. Our experts are here to help you get rid of birthmarks and get your perfect skin back.

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