• What you Need to Know about Birthmarks

    Read all about the different types of birthmarks and its possible causes.
    by Ina Atutubo, MD .
  • birthmarkAllow me to share with you my own personal experience about birthmarks. I was born with a birthmark on my left arm about the size of a 5-peso coin. It was dark brown and had hair, much like Gretchen Baretto's, only uglier and more visible. In grade school, I used to be very shy about it, always wearing shirts with sleeves that would cover it up. It gradually grew in size, in proportion to my growth as a child, until its present size of 8cm (about the size of a dalanghita). I don't exactly remember when, but it seems that I outgrew being embarrassed by this huge black thing on my arm. It became a normal part of my body. I would only remember that I have it when people point it out to me, "EEEK!! Ano yan?!" I just smile and tell them it’s my lucky charm.

    No one really knows the cause of birthmarks. Our elders would say that the mother’s diet during pregnancy will have an effect on the baby’s skin color; however, this is not proven to be true. Some also say that an injury or an illness could cause the discoloration on baby’s skin, but, just like the other myths, this is also unproven.  

    It is normal for moms to be worried about their baby’s birthmark, especially if it is the first time they see it. Others might be uneasy at the sight of an unusual-looking birthmark. While most of birthmarks are harmless, some are associated with other health problems, so it is best to consult your pediatrician so that she can determine if the birthmark is benign or otherwise.

    There are two types of birthmarks: vascular and pigmented. Vascular means there are blood vessels involved.  Examples of these are hemangiomas, port wine stains and macular stains. Pigmented birthmarks are those that involve a skin colorant, or a pigment, examples of which are Mongolian spots, café-au-lait spots and moles.

     

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