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November 16, 2020
Birthmarks are unique skin marks that appear on our bodies at birth. While some people consider them beauty marks, others see them as blemishes.
Some people prefer to have the birthmarks removed for aesthetic reasons - when they negatively impact a person’s social, emotional, and physical being, which occurs right from infancy through childhood and adulthood.
If you feel uncomfortable with your birthmarks, you can have them removed through various techniques. This piece will try and answer the question, does birthmark removal leave scars? But first, let’s explore the meaning, causes, and types of birthmarks.
Birthmarks are skin discolorations that appear at birth and are noticeable within the first few weeks after a child is born. They can form anywhere on the body, including the hands, back, face, head, etc.
Birthmarks vary in size, color, and shape. Their color can either be dark brown, black, flesh-toned, tan, purple, red, blue, or pinkish. As for the texture, some are raised and rough, while others are smooth and flat to the skin surface.
Some birthmarks grow bigger and become more noticeable over time, and others fade away totally. Although birthmarks are often mistaken for moles, the two are not the same. A mole can be but is not necessarily a birthmark.
A majority of birthmarks do not cause any pain or discomfort. If your birthmark is changing in size, shape, and color, is painful, or bleeding, you need to visit a dermatologist as soon as possible to have it examined as it could a sign of an underlying condition.
Some birthmarks are genetic. Others appear due to the sudden development of pigment cells in one body part (pigmented birthmarks) or many irregular blood vessels that pack together beneath the skin in fetal development (vascular birthmarks).
Birthmarks can fall into two categories, including vascular or pigmented. Each of these has a different cause. Let’s explore each type:
1. Vascular Birthmarks
These occur when the blood vessels in a particular skin part don’t form as they should, and instead, they cluster in one area. Also, it appears if the blood vessels grow more expansive than they should be.
Vascular birthmarks are usually red, purple, or pink and occur due to blood vessel alterations beneath the skin.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, 10% of newborns have some types of vascular birthmarks. Some are easily noticeable at birth, and others become visible over time.
Here are the different types of vascular birthmarks:
These are pink or red patches that often occur on eyelids, on the back of the neck, and between the eyes. Sometimes, they are referred to as stork bites or angel kisses. They form when small blood vessels cluster under the skin. These types of birthmarks fade in color over time and don’t require medical intervention to remove.
Hemangiomas appear blue, pink, or bright red. Often, they form on the extremities of the neck or the head.
They start as flat in shape and small in size, and they become more extensive and elevated during the first few months of the baby’s’ life.
However, they tend to fade away entirely by the time the kid reaches adolescence. Sometimes, they leave behind a pale mark, often referred to as strawberry or cherry hemangiomas.
Hemangiomas sometimes require medical monitoring to ensure that they don’t interfere with the child’s breathing or vision. Children with multiple hemangiomas should seek further medical checkups for internal hemangiomas.
Port-wine stains can occur anywhere on the body but are often present on the neck and the face. These spots occur due to the abnormal formation of small blood vessels beneath the skin.
They are usually pink when starting, but they change over time to red and dark red or purplish. These birthmarks don’t fade away over time, and instead, they tend to grow darker unless treated. Also, the skin texture becomes thicker, dryer, and pebbled over time.
The port-wine stains that form on eyelids need close examination or monitoring to avoid interference with persons breathing and vision. These types of birthmarks are rarely linked to genetic conditions.
2. Pigmented Birthmarks
Pigmented birthmarks on the hand occur due to the overabundance of pigment cells (cells that give the skin its color) in one body area. They are generally brown or black and appear due to pigmented skin cells (melanocytes) aggregations.
Types of pigmented birthmarks include:
These types are inborn and occur during fetal development. They are flat or raised marks, and they vary in size and color from pink to black or light brown.
Moles are generally round in shape and can form anywhere on the body. Some moles disappear over time, and others last for a lifetime. A changing or irregular mole could be cancerous.
These types of birthmarks are pale brown in color and oval. The darker your natural skin, the darker your café au lait mark will be.
These types of birthmarks can grow larger through childhood years, but they often fade away later. A child can have one or several of these spots. If the child has many of them, it could be a medical condition called neurofibromatosis.
These are bluish-gray, flat spots that occur mostly in people with naturally dark skin. Though harmless, they are sometimes confused with bruising. These spots occur mainly on the buttocks or lower back. By age four, they often fade entirely.
Most people believe that birthmarks appear because of something the mother did or did not do during pregnancy, like eating or not eating some foods, taking certain medications, etc. That is a myth and just a popular unproven belief. There is nothing that a mother can do or not do to prevent birthmarks from occurring.
Another common myth is that if the birthmark is surrounded by hair, they are cancerous. Well, that too is a myth and is untrue.
Birthmarks and moles can have one or more hairs growing from them, healthy and non-cancerous, whether thick or dark hair. It is safe to remove this hair and doesn’t have to raise any concern.,
Removing Birthmarks causes no harm, and there is no medical reason to or not to remove them. Some people remove them for cosmetic reasons, and others remove them if they increase risks for diseases.
You can remove birthmarks through various techniques. Different techniques may or may not result in scarring.
Here are the most common methods to remove birthmarks:
Corticosteroids are medication that can either be taken orally or injected into the birthmarks directly. These types of drugs are anti-inflammatory and work directly in the blood vessels. They help shrink the birthmark size.
These are oral medications usually used to treat high blood pressure (HBP). One type of beta-blockers is propranolol, which helps reduce the appearance and the size of hemangiomas.
This medication works by shrinking the blood vessels as well as reducing the flow of blood. It causes the hemangioma to shrink, soften and eventually fade.
Another type of beta-blocker is timolol. This is applied topically, and it offers similar effects as propranolol.
Light therapy involves exposing intense pulsed light (IPL) t to the birthmarks. The IPL degrades the pigment cells and the abnormal blood vessels that make birthmarks noticeable. This treatment method is not effective on everyone and is not enough to make large and prominent birthmarks unnoticeable.
The birthmarks removal laser method is one of the most effective treatments for both vascular and pigmented birthmarks.
Laser resurfacing procedures include ablative and non-ablative methods. Both can help diminish the birthmarks, but the ablative one produces excellent results than the non-ablative approach.
Laser treatment is more invasive and requires an extended period for recovery, and may cause scarring.
The surgical method is the only permanent method of getting rid of vascular and pigmented skin lesions.
Surgical procedures can either be punch excision, shave excision, or actual surgical excision. These surgical birthmark removal methods are all useful, and they can help get rid of the birthmarks completely.
The birthmark removal surgery procedure leaves a scar behind. But, you can have the scar eliminated.
So at this point, we know the answer to the question, does birthmark removal leave scars, is yes, - some method cause scarring. The good thing is, you can reduce the appearance of the scars.
You can try natural products to remove birthmarks though unverified. Some of the products to use at home to get rid of birthmarks include:
Talk with your dermatologist before you try any of these natural methods.
While birthmarks are harmless in a medical sense, they cause cosmetic concerns to some people. Thus, removing them becomes the ideal decision for them.
Several techniques can help get rid of birthmarks. Most of these techniques are non-invasive, and thus scarring does not occur.
However, when a person chooses laser treatment or surgery, it causes scarring. Thus, to answer does birthmark removal leave a scar - is yes, - laser treatment and surgery techniques leave a scar. You can get AWDMED silicone products to help reduce the appearance of the scars.
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