Growing up with a visual birthmark is often emotionally devastating to the youngster. Peer pressure and name-calling occur which causes self-esteem issues that often persist into adulthood.
Understanding What is a Birthmark
They classify some as a congenital abnormality and others have unknown causes. A birthmark occurs before or shortly after birth. Asian people rarely have birthmarks. In Arabic countries, parts of Italy, and Spain, birthmarks are shrouded in folklore and believed to be the unfulfilled wishes and dreams of the expectant mother. They were referred to as voglie, wiham, or antojos which translate into ‘whims’.
In India and Asian countries, those who believe in reincarnation think that the birthmark indicates how someone died in a previous life such as by a gunshot, stabbing, bludgeoning, tumor, or burn. The birthmark manifests at the site of the previous injury. If you are wondering what is a birthmark and what is its meaning according to modern medicine, then there are many scientific reasons for their manifestation.
Wondering What Causes Birthmarks?
Vascular birthmarks are not believed to be inherited. They appear to be caused by excessive cells within the blood vessels that form a strawberry birthmark. Some researchers also believe that the placenta becomes entwined in the baby’s developing cells and accounts for the development of the birthmark. If you are wondering what causes birthmarks then it has to do with the type. Port wine stains occur when the nerves fail to trigger the dilation and constriction of the capillaries. In the birthmark’s area, the vessels are permanently open causing the discoloration. Salmon patches arise from a disproportionate number of capillaries. The placenta also produces proteins which discolor the developing embryo’s skin and cause the spots.
Learning About the Types of Birthmarks?
Birthmarks have unique characteristics. Classifications consist:
- Vascular (is based on circulatory problems and blood vessel issues)
- Pigmented (large areas of pigmentation)
Types of birthmarks:
- Congenital Nevi (Moles): A standard mole that develops in-utero. Congenital nevi occur all over the body. They range from blush to black. Sometimes they are raised or flat. All are round. As years pass and the skin undergoes puberty changes, the marks might fade. Such moles often turn cancerous and require monitoring.
- Café au lait spots: The name is French and translates, ‘coffee with milk’ because they are always pale brown. This mark might be present at birth or materialize during childhood. Neurofibromatosis sufferers often have multiple spots.
- Mongolian blue spots: These odd birthmarks occur on Native Americans, Hispanics, and Africans. They bear a striking resemblance to a typical bruise. They occur along the lumbosacral area. They completely disappear by school age.
- Salmon patches: They appear red or slightly pink. Many are located between the eyes, on the eyelids, and at the nape of the neck on the back of the head at the edge of the hair. Many call them a stork bite or an angel kiss. The cause is a cluster of blood vessels just under the skin’s surface. Many fade with time.
- Hemangiomas: A hemangioma is often brilliant red, blue, or pink. They can occur on head, on face, and extremities. The mark might grow on a newborn and become monstrously large or elevated. By adolescence, most are completely gone leaving behind only a slight cherry mark called strawberry hemangiomas. When they are located on a baby’s face might require surgery if it is in eye, it can cause vision disturbances. Near the nose, it can hinder breathing. If a baby has multiple hemangiomas, then they can also be located internally.
- Port-wine stains (nevus flammeus): An abnormal formation of tiny blood vessels causes the port wine stain which might be red, purple, or pink. The birthmark does not fade and only becomes darker. Occasionally, they occur in conjunction with other genetic conditions.
What is a Red Birthmark?
We normally associate a red birthmark as a port wine stain. Some babies with a red birthmark also have the genetic condition referred to as Sturge-Weber syndrome which causes seizures, muscle weakness, eye issues, and learning disabilities.
What is a White Birthmark?
White birthmarks do occur. It can appear as a raised or smooth white birthmark which might continue growing and require removal. Also, the surrounding area may lose pigment and white.
Multiple white spots are cause for concern and may require removal using excision or a CO2 laser.
Exploring Birthmark Removal
Birthmarks are embarrassing and upsetting. Many wonder how to get rid of the mark. You do have options when it comes to birthmark removal. Vascular birthmarks normally respond to treatment. Excision, radiation, or laser removal are options when it comes to how to remove birthmarks. Many laser treatments can lighten the coloration. In the mid-60s the Argon laser showed promise, but it often resulted in burns and scarring. Nowadays, the precision has been fine-tuned. Nd: YAG is the most popular choice for treatment of port wine stains and other difficult vascular lesions.
Pulsed tunable dye lasers are also frequently used. Cosmetic surgeons also use carbon dioxide. Port wine stains might lighten but only 15 to 20 percent disappear. Vitamin-A derivative Retin-A lightens some birthmarks.
Over-the-counter treatments and home remedies:
- Tomato juice
- Lactic acid peel
- Brazilian Miracle
- Kojic Dipalmitate
- Le Blanc Night Brightening
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