Birthmarks & Skin Pigmentation Disorders Treatment In Gainesville, FL
When we think of “great skin,” we may envision evenly pigmented skin without discoloration or imperfections. Yet, most people are born with or develop marks on their skin. Birthmarks and skin pigmentation conditions affect a significant portion of people worldwide. In Florida, skin sun damage is a leading cause of skin pigmentary changes. While many of the conditions discussed here are cosmetic, others may be a health threat. If you have one or more pigmentation abnormalities, or you seek to improve your skin, then contact John W. Tyrone, MD, PLLC, Plastic Surgery, to schedule a skin care appointment.
Our skin care specialists and aesthetic plastic surgeon offer a comprehensive range of personalized skin care treatments and innovative cosmetic procedures, including skin lesion removal, to help patients look and feel their best. Contact our plastic surgery center today to book your treatment for skin care in Gainesville, FL.
What Are Birthmarks?
As suggested by its name, a birthmark is a marking on the skin that is present at birth or shortly thereafter. Birthmarks can range in color, from brown to black or blue to bright red, and vary in opacity, size, and tone from person to person. Pigmented birthmarks appear different in color than the surrounding skin pigment. There is often no need to treat birthmarks, though individuals may seek to remove them for cosmetic reasons. Our skin care professionals and aesthetic surgeons have specialized experience caring for patients with birthmarks and other vascular abnormalities. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment for treatment.
What Are Red Birthmarks?
Red birthmarks are colored, blood vessel (vascular) skin markings that develop on the skin prior to or shortly after birth. Red birthmarks, or vascular birthmarks, develop due to the overgrowth of blood vessels in the skin.
Types Vascular Birthmarks
Several types of red or vascular birthmarks include macular stains, hemangiomas, port wine stains, and salmon patches. Please contact our office for more information about our available vascular birthmark treatments.
Macular stains are a type of birthmark that can appear anywhere on the body and are among the most common type of vascular birthmarks. They are characterized by their light red color and flat appearance. These birthmarks can develop in two forms: “angel’s kisses,” which may appear on the forehead and eyelids and typically fade away after age two, and “stork bites,” which typically develop on the back of the neck and can remain into one’s adult years. These birthmarks are often mild and harmless. As such, they typically do not require removal, though they may be removed for cosmetic reasons.
Hemangiomas are a vascular birthmark caused by numerous, tiny blood vessels that bunch together and rise off the skin, though some hemangiomas may be more severe. Hemangiomas are more common in females and premature babies and present as small marks on the face, trunk, arms, and legs. In some children, hemangiomas can grow large and quickly through their first year of life.
If a hemangioma is unproblematic, it can be left and observed. Problematic hemangiomas can cause issues with functions, ulceration, pain, or bleeding. The two types of hemangiomas are strawberry hemangiomas and cavernous hemangiomas. Strawberry or superficial hemangiomas are slightly raised and can appear anywhere on the body. Cavernous or deep hemangiomas are deeper-rooted marks with a bluish color.
Port Wine Stains
A port wine stain appears as a flat, pink, red, or purple-colored mark on the face, trunk, or extremities (arms and legs). Caused by the abnormal development of blood vessels, or capillaries, port wine stains can become raised and thickened and grow larger over time. The presence of port wine stains on the eyelids can increase the risk of glaucoma. These stains are permanent unless treated, and because they can become more severe in appearance over time, they may result in emotional distress. Laser treatment is typically used to treat port wine stains.
Salmon patches, also known as stork bites, appear on up to half of newborn babies. These vascular skin lesions are characterized by marks comprising small blood vessels visible through the skin. Salmon patches typically develop on the forehead, eyelids, upper lip, between the eyebrows, and the back of the neck. In most cases, these birthmarks fade over time and as infants grow older.
What Are Pigmented Birthmarks?
Pigmented birthmarks are markings on the skin, present at birth or soon after. While most birthmarks are harmless and maybe only cosmetically concerning, certain types of birthmarks can pose health risks.
Several types of pigmented birthmarks exist, including nevi (moles), congenital moles, Nevus of Ota, Mongolian spots, and café-au-lait spots. Please contact our office for more information about our treatments for pigmented birthmarks.
Nevi, commonly known as moles, are pigmented birthmarks on the skin ranging in color from flesh-colored to brown to black. Moles can appear anywhere on the skin, as a single mole or in groups of multiple moles. A mole develops due to a collection of melanocytes on the skin. Moles are extremely common, and, in most cases, harmless. Many people have between 10–40 moles on their bodies. It is important to have your moles checked regularly by a skin specialist or dermatologist, as doing so can help detect any signs of skin cancer, such as melanoma.
Congenital nevi, or congenital moles, are moles present at the time of birth. A fairly common type of pigmented birthmark, a congenital mole may have an increased risk of becoming skin cancer, depending on the size of the mole, among other factors. Congenital nevi that are larger than 20 centimeters in diameter have a greater risk of developing skin cancer than smaller congenital moles. All congenital moles should be examined regularly by your healthcare provider, and any changes to the birthmark should be reported promptly.
Nevus Of Ota
Nevus of Ota is a pigmented birthmark characterized by blue or gray discoloration on the face and, in some cases, the whites of the eyes. This discoloration is caused by increased amounts of melanin, or skin pigment, and the cells that produce this skin pigment, known as melanocytes. Individuals with this type of birthmark are at a higher risk of developing melanoma of the eye or central nervous system. Additionally, these individuals may have a higher risk of developing glaucoma, which causes increased pressure in the eyes.
Mongolian spots are pigmented birthmarks appearing bruised or bluish and usually develop on the skin covering newborns’ or babies’ back or buttocks. They may also appear on the trunk, including the chest and stomach, or the arms. The discoloration produced on the skin from these spots is most often seen in those with darker skin tones, though they may appear on individuals with lighter skin tones as well. These pigmented spots usually disappear in a few years after they develop and don’t require treatment.
A café-au-lait spot is a light brown to dark brown flat-pigmented birthmark with smooth or irregular borders. Café-au-lait spots are relatively common, and most individuals with this type of birthmark have one or two on their skin. However, having six or more café-au-lait spots larger than 0.5 centimeters in diameter may be associated with a genetic disorder known as neurofibromatosis. Should patients desire café-au-lait spot removal, they may do so for cosmetic purposes. Café-au-lait spots are typically treated using a cosmetic skin laser.
What Causes Pigmented Birthmarks?
The exact cause of pigmented birthmarks is not known, however, the amount and the location of the melanin (or the substance determining the skin’s color or tone) decides the color of a pigmented birthmark. Different pigmented birthmarks may occur for different reasons. For example, café-au-lait spots are usually considered a normal type of birthmark, but having several spots larger than a quarter in size might occur in people with a genetic disorder. Nevi occur when cells (melanocytes) in the skin grow in a cluster rather than spreading throughout the skin. Moles can darken over time and with exposure of the skin to natural sunlight, as well as during teenage years and pregnancy.
What Are The Symptoms Of Birthmarks?
Pigmented birthmarks can change over time, with sunlight exposure or other factors. They may increase in size as the person grows older, they may change colors with sunlight exposure, and as hormonal changes take place during teen years, become itchy or cause discomfort, or they may occasionally bleed or produce a discharge. Vascular birthmarks or red birthmarks may occur with symptoms such as skin marking that develop before or after birth, red skin lesions, skin lesions that look like blood vessels, bleeding, and skin that might break open easily. For more information about symptoms associated with pigmented and vascular skin lesions and birthmarks, please contact our office.
How Are Birthmarks Treated?
The vast majority of birthmarks pose no threat to health. Some birthmarks and pigmented skin marks may disappear on their own and without treatment. In most situations, patients may seek pigmented skin lesion removal for aesthetic and cosmetic purposes. However, certain types of pigmented skin lesions and birthmarks may increase the risk of developing skin cancer. If your birthmark bleeds, causes you discomfort, itches, develops an infection, or changes in appearance, including in thickness, size, color, shape, or another feature, birthmark removal from our skin care specialists may be necessary to preserve your health.
Currently, there is no known way to prevent red birthmarks or pigmented birthmarks. Whether you desire to remove your birthmark for medical or cosmetic reasons, our team of skin specialists and our Gainesville plastic surgeon at John W. Tyrone, MD, PLLC, Plastic Surgery are available to help you identify the optimal course of treatment for your needs. The treatment for birthmarks and pigmented skin lesions vary based on the mark and any potentially related conditions. Contact us to learn more about our skin conditions treated and to book an appointment.
Skin Pigmentation Disorders
Our skin color is determined by melanin, a pigment made by specialized cells in the skin or melanocytes. The amount and type of melanin in our skin determines our skin color and tone. Melanin protects the DNA in our bodies’ cells from solar damage or damage from the sun. It provides color to our hair, skin, and the eyes’ irises.
The levels of melanin in a person depending on their race and the amount/degree of sunlight exposure they experience. Exposure of the skin to natural sunlight increases the body’s melanin production. In addition to sun exposure, hormonal changes can likewise affect melanin production. The following comprises information about several skin pigmentation disorders.
Albinism is a rare, inherited condition that reduces the amount of melanin in the skin, hair, and eyes. Individuals with this condition have very light-colored hair, skin, and eyes, such as white hair, pale skin, and blue eyes. People with albinism may experience vision problems, and their eyes may appear red under certain lighting conditions. There is no known cure for albinism. Individuals with albinism should avoid sun damage to their skin and eyes by wearing sun protection, sun-protective clothing, hats, and protective eyewear.
Melasma is a skin pigmentation disorder that causes dark brown or gray-brown, symmetrical patches of pigmented skin lesions on the face. In pregnant women, this is called the “mask of pregnancy.” Birth control pills, hormonal changes, and sunlight exposure are thought to be causes of melasma. Avoiding exposure of the skin to sunlight and wearing sunscreen and protective clothing daily can help prevent melasma from becoming more severe. Other possible treatments may include prescription topical medications, chemical peels, microneedling, and laser treatment.
In some cases, the skin fails to replace a portion of pigment in the affected area after the development of an ulcer, blister, burn, acne spot, or infection. When this occurs, it is known as pigmentation alteration or pigment loss after skin damage. No treatment is required for pigmentation alterations, however, patients may undergo cosmetic treatments to improve the aesthetic appearance of their skin and the altered area of pigment. In many cases, this type of alteration is not permanent, but it may take several months to fade or improve in appearance. Patients with pigmentation alteration due to skin damage, or post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, or hypopigmentation should protect their skin from sun damage, as sunlight can prolong the darkness of the affected areas of skin.
Vitiligo is a skin pigmentation disorder in which the body’s immune system attacks melanocytes, resulting in skin pigment loss. Immune system conditions associated with vitiligo include thyroid disease, diabetes, and Addison’s disease. This condition causes smooth, white-colored patches to appear on the skin. These patches usually develop around the mouth and eyes, or on the backs of the hands, though they can occur elsewhere on the body. There is no known cure for vitiligo, but several treatments help improve the skin’s appearance. Contact our office for more information.