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"Do birthmarks ever go away?"
My son has a birthmark on his arm that is very large and I'm worried about him having it for the rest of his life. Do birthmarks fade as people get older or can he have it removed somehow?
There are many different kinds of skin irregularities that are present at birth (or shortly after) and are referred to as birthmarks. In general there are two kinds of birthmarks: those caused by cells involved in producing pigment and those caused by irregular vascular markings. The pigmented birthmarks include moles, cafe-au-lait spots, and the 'Mongolian' spot found on the lower back. Moles and cafe-au-lait spots typically do not fade with age, but Mongolian spots often do. Vascular birthmarks include several different pink/tan patches that are caused b an overgrowth of blood vessels. Hemangiomas will often resolve in childhood, while a nevus flammeus (port-wine stain) usually does not. With regard to your son's birthmark, the best thing for you to do is to schedule an appointment with his pediatrician to discuss further. Your son's doctor will be able to give you more information about exactly what kind of birthmark your son has and whether it is one of the kinds that will likely fade as he grows older. There are dermatological options (including surgery) to remove or minimize birthmarks, and you and your son's doctor can discuss whether this may be a good option for him as he grows older.
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