Birthmarks come in many different forms and have many different names, including: hemangiomas, port wine stains, café au lait spot, Mongolian spot, nevus, strawberry mark, nevus of Ota, Becker’s nevus and others. Birthmarks are common and while their name indicates that they are present at birth, some birthmarks can appear months to years after birth. Our pediatric dermatologists have special expertise and provide care for all children with birthmarks or other vascular anomalies.
Vascular birthmarks and pigmented birthmarks. Vascular birthmarks (i.e., hemangiomas and port-wine stains) are made up of blood vessels that haven’t formed correctly. They are usually red. Pigmented birthmarks (i.e., café au lait spot, Mongolian spot, congenital nevus, Nevus of Ota, Becker’s nevus) can sometimes be effectively treated with lasers. Though moles can be birthmarks, moles cannot be treated with lasers.
Lasers that have been developed to treat vascular issues can be effective in reducing the appearance of some hemangiomas and port wine stains, and we have the Candela V-beam Vascular and Rejuvenation Laser for this purpose.
Lasers are helpful in treating the red superficial component of the hemangioma and are also used if a hemangioma is bleeding. When a hemangioma is deep, other treatment options may be required. Lasers are the treatment of choice for port wine stains. It may take 10 or more treatments (with a one to two month waiting period between sessions) to completely treat a port wine stain. Early initiation of treatment is recommended since as port wine stains mature, they become more difficult to treat. An additional benefit of treating a port wine stain is that it can also help reduce the risk of further darkening of the birthmark.