Whilst often overlooked in the style stakes, one in three of us has a birthmark. Birthmarks come in a whole array of shapes, sizes, textures and colours, (fingers crossed that you’ll always be able to find shoes to match) so if yours looks different to your friends that’s probably because it is. Generally speaking birthmarks can be divided into two broad groups; vascular and pigmented. Birthmarks can then be further sorted into a number of subgroups before falling under specific classifications. Remembering all the different names isn’t important (or cool) but having an awareness of the various complications that can sometimes arise means you’ll know whether to be concerned should a change occur.
Vascular Birthmarks are generally present from birth and are caused by a problem with blood vessels in or under the skin that subsequently means they can be flat or raised. Colours can vary from pinks and reds to blues and can appear anywhere internally or externally but are most commonly found on the face and neck area. Haemangiomas are raised, usually red, marks on the skin that start out small and flat but may grow for up to a year; quite rapidly in the first few months. They normally fade in subsequent years and many will eventually vanish completely though some may leave visible stretch marks or deformations of the skin where the birthmark used to be. In rare cases if the birthmark is particularly large removal surgery or drug treatment can be considered. Vascular malformations are made up of small blood vessels, veins and arteries. Some types, such as a Salmon Patch will vanish in childhood whilst others like a Port Wine Stain are hormone sensitive and may flare up during puberty, pregnancy and the menopause. The majority are permanent and some will darken with time though may fade with laser treatment.
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