Birthmarks have always had this enigma associated with their existence. This HealthHearty article discusses some popular types of birthmarks, and some scientific facts and folkloric tales associated with them.
For some, a birthmark is a sign of beauty, for some, it is a curse. Many face readers believe that each and every mark on your body holds a meaning, while speaking scientifically, the exact cause as to why they occur, is unknown. They are more commonly found among Caucasians as compared to African-Americans or Asians. Medically, they are blemishes that form on the skin of a baby before birth, and are made up of cells found in the inner lining of the blood.
Some marks are considered to be hereditary. In fact, many siblings tend to have the same marks on them, but, this is not always the case. Mentioned below are some of the popular birthmarks that exist.
They can be present at the time of birth or may appear during the early stage of childhood. They are flat in appearance, round or oval in shape, with a light brown color tone. Mostly all humans have at least one or two of these, however, if a child has a lot of Café au lait spots, then medical checkup must be done. These are permanent and do not fade with time.
Mongolian Blue Spots
Named after the Mongolians, these are harmless flat congenital bluish marks on the skin. They have wavy borders and irregular shapes. The blue color is due to the presence of melanocytes which are present deep under the skin and contain melanin. These birthmarks occur mostly in the lower body and shoulders. Though they are usually blue, they can also be deep brown, bluish-black, and bluish-gray in color.
Nevus Flammeus or Port-wine Stains
These are present at the time of birth when they are pale-pink in color. As the age grows, they tend to become deeper and form the color of thick red wine, therefore, being named as port-wine stains. These affect only 0.3% of the entire population and are caused due to swollen blood vessels. With age, these may develop bumps and may create emotional as well as social repercussions.
Congenital Melanocytic Nevus
Approximately 1% of American infants have these marks since birth. They are usually situated on the head or neck, but can occur almost anywhere in the body. For people who are very fair, these have a light brown tone. The color would be darker for people with a dark skin tone. The texture and shape of these marks is irregular―for some these may appear flat, while for some they may be lumpy and raised.
Telangiectatic Nevus or Stork Bites
Also known as Angel’s kiss or Salmon patch, these are commonly found among infants with almost 50% rate of occurrence. These look like a pink tan and are flat in appearance. There is no difference in the texture of skin. The shape is irregular and they are mostly found on the knee, forehead, upper lip, eyelids, and the back of the neck.
Some birthmarks are a blessing, and this is one of them! This nevus is a silver-colored streak that occurs in childhood. This is known to be hereditary and is commonly found in the front portion of the hairline. People who have it are generally very proud as it brings a mysterious and charismatic feel along with it. This silver streak is also known as a witch’s streak and is definitely among the most popular birthmarks that exist.
Congenital Pigmented Nevi
These are the hairy skin moles found on the body. Their color tone varies from light brown to black. Their size can vary from small to large to giant, although the small pigmented nevi are more common than the giant ones. In case of the size being large, it is advisable to get it checked by a healthcare specialist for the possibility of malignancy.
These come under the category of vascular birthmarks that are formed before the birth of the baby. In fact, according to folklore, strawberry birthmarks occur in those babies whose mothers wished to eat strawberries during pregnancy, but couldn’t. They are soft reddish swellings on the skin that look like a strawberry, hence the name. They tend to get gray with time and also fade away with age. However, in some cases, they need to be removed by surgery.
In Italian, birthmarks are known as vogile, which means wishes. Even in Arabic and Spanish, the term translates into wishes. This is the reason why most folklore stories associate them with the unfulfilled wishes of the mother during pregnancy. However, American folklore associates birthmarks with one’s past life. They say that these indicate a traumatic experience in the previous life.
No matter what the reason be behind their occurrence, or, if the folklore is true or just a myth, birthmarks are a part of us. There are some people who proudly show them off, while some people are embarrassed by them. Every birthmark has a different story, a different perception, and the aforementioned content reflects the same.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is meant for informational purposes only and should not be considered as a replacement for expert advice.