Disorders of the Skin - Birthmarks

About one-third of all infants are born with the type of birthmark called a hemangioma , also known as a vascular birthmark. These are caused by a clustering of small blood vessels near the surface of the skin. The mark, which is flat, irregularly shaped, and either pink, red, or purplish, is usually referred to as “port wine stain.” There is no known way to remove it, but with cosmetic covering creams, it can usually be successfully masked.

The type of hemangioma that is raised and bright red—called a strawberry mark—spontaneously disappears with no treatment in most cases during early childhood. If a strawberry mark begins to grow rather than fade, or if it begins to ulcerate, a physician should be promptly consulted.

See Ch. 18, Cancer , for a discussion of skin cancer; see Ch. 3, The Teens , for a discussion of adolescent skin problems; see Ch. 23, Aches , Pains , Nuisances , Worries , for further discussion of minor skin problems.

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