When to Call the Dermatologist About a Birthmark


For the most part, birthmarks are merely a skin discoloration or a raised area you hardly ever think about. You were either born with the mark or it appeared sometime during your first year of life. You may notice that it fades or shrinks as you get older, or it may become more noticeable. All of this is perfectly normal and nothing to be concerned about. There are times, however, when it would be best to have a dermatologist look at it or remove it. 

Strawberry Nevus

This type of birthmark looks like a raised, red area on the skin that looks a lot like a small strawberry. In most cases, these are nothing to medical to worry about and you do not need to do anything about them. If it is on your face, or in an area where your clothing rubs against it, causing it to become irritated or bleed, a dermatologist can remove it. You should know that it is common for these marks to fade and flatten with time. However, if it continues to grow, you should have it checked by a skin doctor to ensure that it is not growing inward as well and damaging internal organs.

Café au lait Spots

Café au lait spots are what most people think of when a birthmark is mentioned. They are small, light brown colored patches caused by excessive pigmentation. They are not raised and may be of any shape. These too, usually fade with time. However, if you have more than five of these spots, and they are larger than 15 mm across, you need to have them checked by a dermatologist. If it is your child, and the spots have a diameter of greater than 5 mm, make an appointment with the skin doctor. This could be a symptom of neurofibromatosis, a condition in which tumors grow along the nerves.

Port Wine Stains

These birthmarks are similar in appearance to a café au lait spot but are either red or purple. However, they are due to a collection of blood vessels under the skin. They should not be a cause for concern unless they begin to thicken and become a raised spot. While it is rare, this unusual collection of blood vessels may also be occurring inside the body, most specifically in the brain. To ensure everything is fine, your doctor may refer you to a neurologist for a brain scan.

The important thing to remember is most of the time a birthmark is not a problem other than how it looks. However, if you notice changes to it that are causing it to grow, thicken, or become darker, it is best to get a medical opinion on it. Talk to a doctor like those at the Dermatology Surgery Center for more information.


20 January 2017

Cancer Treatment Questions: Understanding The Differences in Options

After watching my mother navigate treatment for breast cancer in my early teens, I knew pretty much what to expect from my dad's diagnosis with prostate cancer. What I didn't know was how different chemotherapy and radiation can affect different people. My mother became very ill while my dad seemed to weather the treatments with few ill effects. I spent a long time researching the differences in treatments, types of chemotherapy, and how each one can react differently with the body. I created this blog to help others understand the same things, because I knew I couldn't be the only one unfamiliar with it. I hope it helps you if someone you love is facing treatment for any type of cancer.