A mother is always cautious about her baby. Anything unusual with the baby is a matter of concern for the mother as well as the family. When a child is born, parents want to see their newborn normal and healthy. But many times, it is observed that newborns have birthmarks on their body. Some birthmarks appear bluish-gray. These are the Mongolian spots that are present on a baby's body right from birth or appear after sometime. Medically, this condition is known as "Congenital dermal melanocytosis" or simply "Dermal melanocytosis".
These spots are dark bluish-gray, blue, deep brown or black in color. These mostly appear on the lower back region, buttocks, shoulders, and rarely on the tummy of the baby. These are flat with irregular shapes and ill-defined borders. A baby may have one or several such spots on the body, which usually fade off from the body by the time the child reaches puberty. In rare cases these may remain life-long on the body.
"Melanocytes" are cells present deep in the epidermis of the skin. These cells are responsible for producing the pigment "melanin" which gives that "tan" to the skin. Dermal melanocytosis is accumulation of excess melanocytes at one place on the skin. This causes the skin to turn bluish-gray in color. When the cells accumulate close to the upper layer of the skin, the spots appear deep brown in color. When they are present deep inside the skin, they appear blue.
Mongolian spots are prevalent among Asians. 10% or less white-skinned people show their presence. 70% Hispanics, 80% Asians, and more than 90% Americans and African-Americans have them in childhood.
Associated Morbidity/ Mortality
Appearance of such spots cause no harm to the baby. They remain or fade away with time. Doctors identify them through visual examination, and no medical treatment required to treat them.
Associated Legal Angle
There is a legal bend associated with such spots. As these appear in the childhood when the baby cannot present his viewpoint in the court of justice, it is essential that parents get a certificate from their child's physician stating the presence of such spots on the baby's body. As these appear like bruises, they might be mistakenly linked to child abuse and parents may suffer unnecessary problems due to this.
Variants of Mongolian Spots
Some variants of these spots are also observed. These include -
- Aberrant Mongolian Spot: This appears on visible parts of the body like face and other extremities.
- Persistent Aberrant Mongolian Spot: This is macular-type and is known as macular-type blue nevi because the nevus cells or melanocytes appear blue in color as they are scattered deep in the skin.
- Persistent Mongolian Spot: This remains on the body for many years. It does not fade away easily. It is larger than regular spots with a prominent margin.
- Superimposed Mongolian Spot: When one spot overlies another, it falls in this category. Usually, a dark spot overlies a lighter one and is clearly visible.
It is evident that Mongolian spots are not harmful or lethal in any way. However, if parents are concerned, they can approach to a pediatrician or a dermatologist for consultation. Usually, no medical treatment is advised as these spots fade away on their own.
I hope this article has given you some relief! If you are a parent of a newborn or a child with a Mongolian spot, don't worry. As we know, time heals everything. Give some time and it will go away on its own. All you need is a little patience. Time will cure it. However, if you observe any unusual changes in the Mongolian spot, do get in touch with your child's physician and get it examined. Your baby will be fine. Don't worry!