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A birthmark is a benign irregularity on the skin which is present at birth or appears shortly after birth, usually in the first month. They can occur anywhere on the skin. Birthmarks are caused by overgrowth of blood vessels, melanocytes,smooth muscle, fat, fibroblasts, or keratinocytes.

Dermatologists divide birthmarks into two types. Pigmented birthmarks caused by excess skin pigment cells include moles, café au lait spots, and Mongolian spots. Vascular birthmarks (also called red birthmarks) are caused by increased blood vessels and include macular stains (salmon patches), hemangiomas, and Port-wine stains. A little over 1 in 10 babies have a vascular birthmark present by age  Several birthmark types are part of the group of skin lesions known as nevi or naevi, which means “birthmarks” in Latin.

Birthmarks are coloured marks that are visible on the skin. They’re often present at birth or develop soon afterwards.

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There are several different types of birthmark and some of them are very common.

The two main types of birthmark are:

  • vascular birthmarks (often red, purple or pink) caused by abnormal blood vessels in or under the skin
  • pigmented birthmarks (usually brown) caused by clusters of pigment cells

Vascular birthmarks often occur in the head and neck area, mainly on the face. But both types of birthmark can appear anywhere, including inside the body.

If surface blood vessels are affected, a vascular birthmark will appear red, purple or pink. If the affected vessels are deep, the birthmark will appear blue.

Pigmented birthmarks are tan or brown-coloured skin marks.



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