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My baby has red birthmarks. What should I do?

What are the types of red birthmarks?

This red discolouration on the skin is due to abnormal overgrowth of blood vessels. There are 3 common types.

#1 Naevus flammeus AKA stork’s bite (on the back of neck), or angel’s kiss (between the eyebrows) — This is flat red/pink with poorly defined borders. This is very common and obvious at birth.

#2 Infantile haemangioma AKA strawberry spot — This appears soon after birth, grows rapidly in first 6 months of life and may then grow slowly till 18 months. Subsequently, it disappears spontaneously in 3-10 years. It can appear as superficial on the skin surface or deep as bluish soft firm swelling. It can occur on any areas of the skin and is harmless. But it can also grow rapidly to a large haemangioma and may have underlying organ anomalies, which is more serious.

#3 Port wine stain is less common — This appears as a large flat patch of pink/red stain on the skin surface with clear borders and is obvious at birth. It appears on any areas of the skin usually on one side of the body, known as segmental distribution.

Do I need to bring my baby for treatment?

Most of these birthmarks do not need treatment. Unfortunately, red birthmarks on the face may affect your child’s self-esteem. You may discuss treatment options with a dermatologist.

#1 Most naevus flammeus fade away spontaneously after the age of 1 and will not require

treatment. The stork’s bite may, however, be persistent and remain unchanged.

#2 Infantile haemangioma — treatment is recommended before 6 months of age with topical or oral medication, to prevent the growth and shrink the haemangioma.

#3 Port wine stain can progress to thickened and bumpy skin as your child grows, which is a cosmetic concern. I recommend starting laser treatment early to lighten the discolouration and prevent progression.

Credit: Dr. Liew Hui Min, Pregnancy Singapore