Should I have a Birthmark Removed?
- Posted on: Oct 15 2020
Birthmarks are often viewed as a splash of character on the skin. For some people, it is easy to embrace brown or red markings on the skin. This isn’t the case for everyone, though. If you or someone you love has a birthmark that is large, noticeable, or just bothersome, there is a way to bid it farewell. Here, we discuss what you may want to know about birthmark removal.
Birthmarks can be different for every person in terms of size, location, and characteristics. There are two primary types of birthmarks, pigmented and vascular. It helps to understand a little about them as you consider how you may approach birthmark removal.
Pigmented birthmarks are the result of too many pigmented cells grouped in a small patch of skin. Common pigmented birthmarks include:
- Moles. these spots are often a shade of brown. They may be flat or raised and can be very small or quite large.
- Mongolian spots. These blue-gray spots may look like bruises. They are often found on the buttocks or back.
- Cafe au lait spots. This dark discoloration resembles spilled coffee, which is how this birthmark gets its name. Cafe au lait birthmarks can be any size. They sometimes fade over time.
- Vascular birthmarks are caused by an extraordinary number of blood vessels in an area of the skin. Common vascular birthmarks include:
- Port-wine stain. Like cafe au lait spots, port wine stains get their name for resembling spilled red wine. These dark birthmarks may literally look like a splash of color on the skin. They are often present on the face. Port-wine stains do not lighten or disappear on their own.
- Strawberry mark. This benign growth is comprised of red endothelial cells. Strawberry marks often shrink or fade away before adolescence.
- Salmon patches. This birthmark is often referred to as an “angel kiss” or “stork bite.” It is a flat, salmon-colored area on the skin.
Removing Birthmarks with Light
Before the development of laser devices, birthmarks could only be removed by excising them. Excision meant cutting the skin to remove the discolored area. This could leave a scar. Dermabrasion has also been a common birthmark treatment. This is like mechanical sanding of the skin. Today, laser birthmark removal is a common procedure. Lasers are more conservative, comfortable, and effective than any method that has come before.
The way that laser birthmark removal works is through short, intense bursts of a single wavelength of light. The light passes through the upper layers of the skin to land in the layer where excess pigment or cells reside. The grouping of cells that is causing the discoloration is broken up into microscopic particles. This allows the body to absorb or shed them. Depending on the type and size of the birthmark, this could require more than one treatment.
Posted in: Moles & Birthmarks