Birthmarks are patches of skin that have a different color and/or texture than the surrounding skin. As their name suggests, people are either born with birthmarks or develop them during infancy. Over time they can prove unwanted, and that’s where we can help. Here at Dermatology Center of the Rockies, we are proud to offer options for birthmark reduction and invite you to learn more about them.
Types of Birthmarks
There are two main types of birthmarks: pigmented and vascular. Pigmented birthmarks are caused by clusters of pigment cells in one spot. Examples of pigmented birthmarks include moles, café-au-lait spots, and Mongolian blue spots. Vascular birthmarks are caused by small blood vessels clumping together. Examples include port wine stains, salmon patches, and hemangiomas. While some birthmarks are associated with genetic disorders, most are harmless. Some birthmarks do fade over time, but others remain throughout the patient’s lifetime. For example, hemangiomas often go away on their own, but port wine stains do not.
Can You Get Rid of Birthmarks?
Yes. There are a variety of medications, laser treatments, and surgical procedures that can either remove birthmarks altogether or make them less noticeable. The dermatologist will advise the patient as to their options, which will depend on the type of birthmark, its size, and its location.
How Does a Laser Treat Birthmarks?
Laser therapy can significantly lighten birthmarks. The laser will target either the pigment or the blood vessels in the birthmark while leaving the surrounding tissue untouched. Some lasers have built-in cooling mechanisms to keep the patient comfortable. The doctor may also provide a topical anesthetic. Most patients will need several treatments to get the desired results. Depending on the type of birthmark being treated, they may undergo one treatment every few months.
How Do Medications Affect Birthmarks?
The various medications used to reduce the size of birthmarks only work on the vascular birthmarks. They generally work by causing the blood vessels to shrink so the birthmark also shrinks. The patient usually takes the medication by mouth once a day.
What is Birthmark Removal Surgery Like?
Birthmark removal surgery is an outpatient procedure, and the doctor will typically administer anesthetic beforehand. The doctor will generally recommend surgery for birthmarks that penetrate to the deeper layers of the skin or haven’t responded to less invasive treatments.
Who is a Good Candidate for Birthmark Reduction?
The ideal candidate for birthmark reduction will be somebody in overall good health with realistic expectations. Some treatments can be safely used on small children. In fact, some doctors recommend removing the more visible birthmarks, like a port wine stain on the face, before the child starts school.
Get In Touch with Us for More Information
To learn more about birthmark reduction, we warmly encourage you to make an appointment with Dermatology Center of the Rockies. At our convenient locations in Longmont and Estes Park, our friendly and devoted team of professionals will be pleased to explain your options in greater detail and answer any questions you may have. Contact us today to set up your consultation – we look forward to speaking with you!