marți, 16 octombrie 2007


What is a birthmark? A birthmark is a blemish on the skin and there are many different types. Some are present at birth, others appear in the first few weeks of life. They can be red (blood vessel marks), brown (moles) or blue-ish birthmarks. They can also vary in size.

What are blood vessel birthmarks? The most common are blood vessel marks known as "stork marks" and strawberry marks. They are caused by an abnormality in the way that blood vessels form just beneath the surface of the skin as the baby is developing in the womb. They occur spontaneously and, in almost all cases, are not inherited from parents.

What are permanent birthmarks? Sometimes a birthmark is permanent. Port wine stains are a red or purple area of skin present at birth - they affect three in 1,000 babies. In about two thirds of affected babies they appear on the face. A port wine stain usually becomes darker and thicker with age and, having been flat, may develop surface lumps. These birthmarks can occur due to lack of smooth muscle lining around thin-walled blood vessels (capillaries), or they can be due to lack of nerve fibres which usually supply the blood vessels.

What treatment is available? For children with port wine stains, laser treatment can produce a significant lightening in colour for the majority or in some cases you get near complete clearance. Treatments are scheduled for four to six months apart. Younger children between the ages of six months and four years tend to have a better response to laser treatment than older children and adults. This may be because their birthmarks are generally pinker in colour, smaller, more superficial and the vessels are more immature.

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