Macular Stains

What are Macular Stains?

Macular Stains are also called salmon patches, angel’s kisses, or stork bites and are a type of birthmark that can appear anywhere on the body as light red flat marks. These marks will eventually fade on some children and remain on others. Angel’s kisses usually appear on the eyelids and the forehead and usually go away by age two.

Stork bites tend to appear on the back of the neck and usually last into adulthood. At least 7 in 10 children will be born with Macular stains. The birthmarks are caused by dilations in tiny blood vessels called capillaries and it’s believed that they aren’t inherited. Macular stains are always non-cancerous, are not linked to any syndromes involving the brain or development, and are never painful or itchy. In the past Macular stains and port-wine stains were thought to be two variations of the same type of birthmark. It is now known that port-wine stains are malformations of capillaries and will never improve by themselves.

What are the Symptoms of Macular Stains?

Birthmarks often mild and therefore have no symptoms and generally need no treatment. They range in color from white to blue.

Macular Stains Causes

Macular stains are the most common type of vascular birthmark, and although they can affect the appearance well into adulthood they are harmless and not considered a serious health problem. The cause of these birthmarks is abnormal blood vessels under the skin, although in some cases they are caused by a cluster of pigmentation cells similar to the development of moles and freckles. Although they are called birthmarks, they are not always visible at birth. Medical science has no consensus of what causes these marks, although they are sometimes caused by dilated capillaries in the circulatory system. Some researchers believe that proteins released by the placenta during pregnancy may lead to Macular stains in infants. Unlike many birth defects, birthmarks such as Macular Stains are not believed to be linked to genetics or heredity.

How are Macular Stains Treated?

Laser treatment can remove Macular stains without scarring and can take anywhere from five minutes to three hours. Corticosteroids taken orally can also reduce the size of birthmarks.

Macular Stains Prevention

Prevention of Macular Stains may not be possible. Not only are genetics and heredity not linked to them, but there is no scientific consensus on what, if anything, happens during pregnancy. Some are not even detected after birth but develop slowly in the first weeks of life. The good news is that they are rarely considered a serious health concern and many fade and become less noticeable with age. In extreme cases, or in cases where they are indicative of certain cancers, surgical solutions exist similar to the treatment of skin cancer. Macular stains that remain into adulthood are rare and may require closer scrutiny and monitoring by a medical professional as they may be indicative of greater underlying health problems. Elective cosmetic surgery may be an option for those who feel that their appearance is adversely affected by this condition, although time and patience often makes the condition less noticeable.