Birthmarks or naevi

Birthmarks or naevi

Most birthmarks consist of an abnormal collection of small blood vessels just below the skin. Most disappear in time but some remain and may increase in size.

Stork bite’ marks are commonly seen on the eyelids, forehead, nose and

especially at the back of the neck. They look like flat pink spots and disappear after a short while, usually within the first few months.

Spider’ naevi look like cobwebs of small blood vessels under the skin. If pressure is applied they fade temporarily, and have usually disappeared permanently after the first or second year.

Port-wine’ stains are deep pink or purple marks usually of a different texture to normal skin and, although they do not grow, they will not disappear. They may sometimes be removed, or covered with a special cosmetic preparation.

Strawberry’ naevi usually appear in the first few weeks of life and look like raised, strawberry-textured lumps. They can grow quite rapidly in the first year and this is a sign that they are also likely to reduce and have disappeared in most cases by the time the child starts school. If it is in an awkward place or there is danger of haemorrhage they may require treatment, but in most cases none is necessary, and they are best left alone.

Pigmented’ naevi are brown patches on the skin which often increase in size. The skin texture is the same as normal skin and they are not usually unsightly.

Hairy or wart-like moles usually appear after birth and should be left alone. If they are particularly unsightly they may be removed surgically. Any obvious change in a mole should be investigated although the common brown mole from which a few hairs grow is most unlikely to become malignant.

Mongolian spots are flat blue-grey patches sometimes found on the lower back of babies born to dark-skinned parents. They are of no significance and usually disappear by the age of three or four.

White spots or areas that lack pigment in the skin are an inherited trait and there is no treatment except for the use of cosmetic preparations to cover them. Similar areas on the scalp may result in patches of white hair.

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