While birthmarks vary greatly in color, shape, and type, they are present on almost every newborn child. Some birthmarks may lead to a health issue, but they are largely harmless. Every birthmark is unique, and while there are subtypes of birthmark, no two are the same. Types of birthmarks may vary from deep, purple patches on the skin to small brown/pink marks. Most experts agree that birthmarks are random and not hereditary, and certain types of birthmarks are more common among certain races and ancestries.
Chances are, if you think you don't have a birthmark, you might be missing the one on your scalp/neck. Your birthmark may appear faded or stretched, and might be hidden underneath a tan or freckles. Birthmarks are a normal part of development within the womb, and can be caused by a number of things. They are largely harmless, but they may signify an underlying/potential health issue.
If you're concerned about your child's birthmark, ask your doctor about the spot. If it is unsightly or obvious, they can choose to have it removed later in life. In the meantime, educate your children on birthmarks and what they are. Encourage self-confidence, and do not give them any indication that their birthmark is ugly or weird. Their self-image relies heavily on their parents' opinion, so help them build a good one.
A birthmark may be in an obvious place like the face or neck, but they can occur virtually anywhere. The legs, arms, and chest are also popular places for birthmarks, but they can color hair and eyelids as well. Birthmarks may "disappear" with time, especially lighter colored marks that are easily overlooked. Virtually every person on earth has a birthmark, although they may appear stretched or faded as they grow older. Birthmarks on the scalp and neck may also be forgotten, as those places are hard to see.
While certain birthmarks can be inherited (silvermarks, for example), vascular birthmarks are not hereditary. They are completely random, and can occur anywhere. While they may be more obvious on light-skinned children, they can also appear in children with dark skin. The exact cause of most birthmarks is undetermined. Most experts believe port wine stains are caused by the dilation of blood vessels. This results in a purple-red mark across the face. Other experts blame the placenta and proteins for birthmarks. While there is no official cause of birthmarks, each one is unique to the child.
There is no truth in the idea that birthmarks are caused by the mother's diet, or how the child died in their 'past life'. Birthmarks are completely natural, and few children are born with unhealthy birthmarks. Children with certain types of birthmarks may decide to remove them for cosmetic reasons, especially if the mark is located on their face. However, this does not mean the birthmark is bad or harmful. Most marks are completely benign, and might fade as time goes on.
Treatment can vary depending on the type of birthmark, the reason it's being removed, and whether or not the mark is harmful. Where infected birthmarks or port wine stains might require heavy treatment in adolescence, most other birthmarks do not require medical attention. For cosmetic purposes, birthmarks can be covered with makeup. This reduces the need for surgery or medical treatment. Location of the birthmark can also determine the treatment. Marks in sensitive places like the face/eyes may require gentler treatment than those on the body and limbs.
Because of their randomness, there is no way to prevent birthmarks in unborn children. Instead of trying to prevent them, doctors encourage parents to think positively about their child's features. Their self-confidence hinges on their parents' opinion of them, so its important to give children a good outlook on their birthmarks.