Skin blemishes that are present at birth or appear soon after are generally referred to as “birthmarks”. These may vary in red or brown and represent an overgrowth of superficial blood vessels or pigment cells. The treatment of these birthmarks depends on the type of lesion. Before determining how to remove these birthmarks, here is some information on the more common types and how to identify them:
Pigmentation-Type Birthmarks – These can include various types of birthmarks including moles (congenital nevi), Coffee-cream spots, and Mongolian spots.
Macular Stains (Salmon Patches) – These are very thin, light pink, flat patches of discoloration. These are usually found on babies, either on the back of their neck, or on their upper eyelids.
Vascular Malformations – These are caused by abnormal development of blood vessels and are almost always present from birth. Port-wine stains, a very common birthmark, are a type of vascular malformation and can be found anywhere on the body. These birthmarks may be a concern if located on the face above or around the eye because they may be associated with eye and/or brain problems.
Hemangiomas – These are lesions that develop on infants within a couple of weeks after birth. These are caused by many tiny blood vessels that are bunched together and can grow quite rapidly during the child’s first six to nine months. These are the most common tumors found in babies and usually develop around the head and neck.
How is Birthmark Removal Performed?
There are different ways that a birthmark can be removed, depending upon its type, size, location and other factors. The effective birthmark removal treatments as follows:
- Laser Therapy: Lasers are used to treat birthmarks that are close to the surface of the skin. This method can be performed at any age. During treatment, short bursts of laser light are aimed at the birthmark in order to shrink it or cause it to stop growing. Multiple visits may be necessary to achieve optimal results. Laser therapy may also be used for hemangioma, however it is not used to treat cases where it is found on an internal organ, or deep within the skin.
- Surgery: This method is used when other non-surgical treatments have not worked. A hemangioma that is large, or found on an internal organ also requires surgery and general anesthesia.
There are many laser systems used to treat birthmarks – some more appropriate than others. However, as important as the technology is the competence and experience of the medical professional operating the machine. Not one type of laser treatment is the answer for every problem or skin type. Expert dermatological diagnosis and correct assessment is vital. Skin City is able to offer years of laser expertise gleaned from Dr. Niteen Dhepe’s years of heading the Department of Dermatology at Skin City.