Beauty Mark?

What you should know when you're considering removing a birthmark.

Andrea Markowitz, Ph.D.

HealthKey.com contributor

June 7, 2010


What is a birthmark?

Birthmarks are spots on the skin that typically appear at birth or shortly after. Some are benign and may fade or disappear, but you may want to remove yours for cosmetic or health reasons.

What are the different types?

CosmeticSurgery.com lists four common birthmark categories:

Removal options

CosmeticSurgeryAustralia.com says the key to successful birthmark removal to treat the mark as early as possible, when it's lighter and therefore requires fewer treatments. Early removal also spares a child from feeling self-conscious and being teased.

Topical creams can sometimes be used successfully to fade lighter birthmarks. Surgical options for darker and more complicated birthmarks include laser therapy and surgical excision.

Laser therapy, according to CosmeticSurgery.com, is used on birthmarks that are close to the skin's surface, like port-wine and external hemangiomas. Short bursts of laser light shrink the birthmark it or cause it to stop growing. Multiple visits may be required.

Surgical excision is used on large hemangiomas and hemangiomas found on internal organs, and for birthmarks that haven't responded to non-surgical treatments.

Ask your dermatologist or cosmetic surgeon about which method would be best for you.

To learn more visit CosmeticSurgery.com, MayoClinic.com and CosmeticSurgeryAustralia.com.