Birthmarks are congenital, benign skin irregularities that appear at birth or shortly afterwards. They can appear in all shapes and sizes, and are typically a red or brown hue. These blemishes signify an overabundance of superficial blood vessels or pigmented cells, but are generally harmless.
Some of the most common birthmarks include:
- Brown Birthmarks are areas of unusually high concentrations of melanin in the skin. The most common brown birthmarks are “café au lait spots,” referring to their coffee-like color. These spots pose no medical risk, but many of our patients seek treatment for cosmetic purposes.
- Brown Birthmarks are treated with the Alex TriVantage® Like other lasers, the Alex TriVantage works by producing an intense burst of light that eliminates any over-abundance of melanin without harming the surrounding tissue. Complete removal of brown birthmarks requires roughly one to three treatments but depends on the patient.
- Another type of brown birthmark is called the congenital pigmented nevi – commonly known as a mole. Like other birthmarks, they can appear on any part of the body. Moles generally start out small and flesh-colored, but can grow and darken over time. It is important to monitor moles shape and size, because new or unusual growth could be a sign of melanoma. Moles are removed with the Ellman®, which uses Radiowave Technology to eliminate lesions with minimal discomfort and a shorter healing time than traditional surgical removal.
- Portwine Stains are vascular birthmarks where swollen blood vessels form a reddish-purplish discoloration in the skin. They are most commonly seen on the face, arms and legs. Like moles, they can start off flat and lighter in color, and get darker and thicker as a person ages. The VBeam works by producing an intense burst of light that allows the selective destruction of the over-abundant blood vessels without harming the surrounding tissue. A series of treatments are generally needed for complete removal.
- Cherry Hemangiomas are very common vascular lesions that are simply an over growth of blood vessels at the surface of the skin that form a small, red, mole-like bump. They appear spontaneously, without apparent cause and are not malignant. They can cause pain and profuse bleeding if ruptured, which can easily happen due to their dome like shape. Although they are mostly seen in adulthood, Cherry Hemangiomas can also appear on babies at birth. On children they tend to dissipate as the child ages. For adults, Cherry Hemangiomas can easily be treated and removed with the VBeam® laser.
- A Venous Lake is another type of vascular lesion that tends to appear in older adults. They appear as dark bluish-purple papules on lips, ears and face and are as a result of sun exposure. Venous lake lesions can easily be treated with the Gmax laser.
If you are concerned about a questionable mole or bump, we are proud to now offer skin screenings and biopsy. Don’t wait six to eight months for a dermatology appointment – we are happy to see you now to ensure your peace of mind. If you’d like to come in to learn more about birth mark removal and skin screenings, call our office to schedule an appointment!