Strawberry birthmarks or hemangioma are bright red spots that appear on the surface of the skin due to dilated blood vessels. They are visible at birth or within the first two months and occur commonly in the face, head, back or chest. Usually a strawberry birthmark disappears within the first 5 years without any complications but in rare cases may also lead to medical complications.
Strawberry birthmarks are more common in premature babies due to overgrowth of blood vessels. Other possible causes include oxygen deletion in the placenta. There are no known genetic factors or known food or medication reactions that can cause strawberry birthmarks.
Symptoms of a strawberry hemangioma include a reddish lesion on the skin, with or without a tumor. The location and size of hemangioma might interfere the functioning of an organ. Treatment of strawberry birthmarks may not be necessary in most case. In rare cases, when the birthmark is near the eye or an organ however, physicians use laser therapy and steroids to remove the blood vessels associated with it.
Other birthmarks include stork bites, Mongolian blue spots, port wine stains, congenital melanocytic nevi and café au lait spots. Stork bites are flat irregularly shaped marks that can occur in the forehead neck, knee or the lip. These marks usually disappear in the first year and not associated with any other condition.
Mongolian blue spots are a benign irregular marks caused by melanocytes that lie deep in the skin. This is mainly found in the lower back, buttocks, flank or area around the shoulder. Though the color of this birthmark resembles a bruise, it is not associated with any pain or discomfort.
Port wine stains are deep red or pinkish in color and caused to dilation of blood vessels in that region. The reason for this birthmark is the absence of nerve supply to blood vessel in that region and this condition maybe associated with seizures and glaucoma.
Congenital melanocytic nevi or moles are found in infants at the time of birth. This can occur in any part of the body and varies and size and shape. Usually it is a benign structure which does not change over time. If, however, the mole starts growing or changing in shape, it is a cause for concern and should be shown to a dermatologist.
Café au lait spots are oval in shape and light in color and can occur anywhere in the body. A larger number of these birthmarks might be due to a condition called neurofibromatosis.