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Birthmarks

Birthmarks are frequently seen. They may be present at birth or appear during childhood. Birthmarks can take on a variety of shapes and appearances, including a range of colours and sizes. While often harmless, birthmarks may be cosmetically undesirable. Fortunately, these markings often can be addressed utilising laser technologies and other advanced techniques. Our extensively trained consultant dermatologist is experienced in a broad array of treatment options.

How common are birthmarks?

It is estimated that at least 5 per cent of the population has some form of birthmark.

What causes birthmarks?

The skin is composed of many different structures (e.g. blood vessel cells, pigment producing cells, keratin producing cells). Birthmarks are caused by a collection of one type of these cells clumping together. Sometimes they are visible at birth, but sometimes they only become noticeable after a few weeks or years.

What happens to birthmarks with time?

The majority of birthmarks are simply a cosmetic issue. Some forms of blood vessel birthmarks (cavernous haemangionas) fade with time, but other birthmarks do not fade and some become more prominent and noticeable with time.

Are birthmarks dangerous?

The majority of birthmarks pose no danger and are simply a cosmetic issue. However, there are some types of birthmark (e.g. birthmarks composed of pigment producing/mole cells) which do have a small but increased chance of developing skin cancer later on in life.

How can birthmarks be treated?

The best way to treat birthmarks will depend on the type of birthmark. Red birthmarks due to increased blood vessels can be treated with lasers that specifically target the red of the blood vessels. At Dermatology Consulting, we have a range of powerful lasers for treating blood vessel birthmarks, including pulse dye laser, long pulse Nd:YAG laser, and the unique combination of these two lasers called Cynergy MultiPlex. Birthmarks due to increased numbers of keratin producing cells can be flattened by resurfacing lasers. Some other forms of birthmark are best removed by minor surgery and the fine scar can then be faded with scar reducing lasers e.g. Fraxel® laser.

How do I decide which is the best treatment for a specific birthmark?

Dr Farrell, as a consultant dermatologist, is able to diagnose the different types of birthmark and organise the best treatment and this can be discussed in more detail at your consultation

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