Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"What causes birthmarks?"
My sister just had a baby and her son has a large birthmark on his neck and face. What causes this? Is there a way to make them go away or is there nothing she can do about it?
Birthmarks are very common and they result from various abnormalities in the development of the skin and the pigment cells and blood supply with in it. There are several types of birthmarks that can occur on the neck and face; some of these, but not all, do require treatment. One of the common large birthmarks is something called a 'strawberry mark' or hemangioma. Many babies have small hemangiomas and these do not usually require treatment. However, if the hemangioma is large, they are often treated for cosmetic reasons and also to prevent complications from growth of the hemangioma. Typical treatments include steroid injections, oral medications, and laser therapy. Another common large birthmark found on the face and neck is the port wine stain. Port wine stains are usually also treated, because the do not tend to fade with age and may actually become more prominent. They also may be associated, rarely, with neurological conditions that need to be diagnosed. Typical treatments would include laser therapy. I would suggest that your sister talk with her pediatrician or her pediatric dermatologist to discuss this issue. They will be able to help figure out what kind of birth mark this is and what treatment, if any, might be needed.
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