Birthmarks and Other Skin Pigmentation Problems
Blemishes Of The Skin And Their Treatment
Many of us are born with skin imperfections such as patches called birthmarks and a variety of pigmentation disorders. Some are just cosmetic while some others could even be dangerous.
Different type of Birthmarks
Birthmarks are found at birth and even develop just after birth. Suspicious birthmarks need to be checked by a doctor to confirm that they are not cancerous.
Moles and spots
Both moles and spots are characterized by skin pigmentation causing them to be colored.
- Moles are caused due to clustering of cells and can even be raised. They should be observed for any changes in color, size or shape.
- Mongolian spots are bluish gray in color and appear on the back and bottoms of babies.
- Café-au-lait-spots (coffee with milk in French) are light brown, oval-shaped spots that don’t fade with age. More than four spots sometimes indicate an underlying nerve tissue disorder called neurofibromatosis.
These are caused by defective blood vessels under the skin.
- Macular stains are red or pink, flat blotches caused by dilated capillaries. Also called as Salmon patches, if they are on the face, usually on the forehead and eyelids, they are called as Angel’s kisses. If found on the back of the neck, they are called Stork bites. Angel’s kisses usually fade away but not stork bites.
- Hemangiomas are raised strawberry red marks caused by bunched blood vessels. They tend to grow but fade with age. They can affect the function when present in sensitive areas like eyes, genitalia etc and can be treated with laser, corticosteroid hormones or surgery.
- Congenital melanocytic nevus are large brown or black moles that occur predominantly on the head and neck of babies. They can change in appearance with age and even turn cancerous.
- Port-wine stains appear on the face and are usually flat, red or purple. When present on the eyelids, it could mean an underlying brain or eye disease. Laser is the method of treatment while radiation, freezing, dermabrasion or sclerotherapy may also be used.
Skin pigmentation related conditions
Melanin is what gives skin and hair its dark color. People with albinism have a defective gene that stops the production of melanin causing their skin and hair to look white. Albinism cannot be treated but sunscreen is a must to protect the skin from sun damage and skin cancer.
Also known as Chloasma, it causes red or brown patches almost like a mask on the face covering the cheeks, nose, forehead, chin and upper lips. It is common in pregnancy due to hormones but men can get them too. Sun screen and prescription creams are used to treat them.
This is characterized by white patches of skin on the body due to faulty pigment causing cells. Skin injuries, diabetes and thyroid problems can also be the reason. There is no cure, but corticosteroid creams and UV treatment can be used to treat the patches.