We all have birthmarks, we see them everyday. And while we see them, most of us tend to wonder what causes them, don't we? This HealthHearty article contains some scientific and non-scientific explanations for the same.
Big or small, light or dark, beautiful or ugly, we all have some type of birthmark in our body. While some are hereditary, some can occur without any logical explanation. Their shapes and sizes also vary from person to person. Also called ‘nevus’, they can occur at any part of the body. Occurrence of large birthmarks on the exposed areas, such as the face, arms, or legs can lead to emotional or social repercussions. However, most of the time, they are small, and pose no threat to the bearer in any way whatsoever.
What are They
A birthmark is a spot, which could appear like a stain, or a lump, on the body of a person. Many are formed before a person is born. While most are present from birth, there are some which become visible and appear during early childhood. Their color may vary from light brown to black; some are also blue or pink in color. Another interesting thing about these mysterious spots, is that they may or may not disappear with age. The color too, tends to become lighter or darker as the age of the baby increases. Most birthmarks are harmless, but it is always advisable to get them checked by a health care specialist.
What Causes Them
That’s the real question, isn’t it? There is no scientific explanation as to what causes these unexplained spots in our body. Of course, it is a well-known scientific fact that some are a result of abnormal growth of blood vessels in the body, where they accumulate as a bunch and appear as birthmarks―such as the strawberry mark.
Medically, birthmarks are also defined as the blemishes on the skin that occur before the birth. Like the silvermark, which is a silver streak on the front portion of the hairline, some marks are considered to be hereditary and are found in many siblings; the cause however, is unknown. Some doctors believe their formation to be associated with pigment cells overgrowth, known as the melanocytes. An example for this would be ‘Congenital Melanocytic Nevus’, which is found in almost in 1% of the American infants.
Apart from the scientific causes, there are many folklore about their occurrences. Birthmarks are known as vogile in Italian, Wiham in Arabic, and Antojos in Spanish. The meaning for all these words is the same, wishes. According to a folklore, birthmarks occur due to the unfulfilled wishes of the mother while she was pregnant. Do you know what they say about strawberry birthmarks? It is believed that because the mother’s wish to eat strawberries wasn’t fulfilled, the child got a strawberry mark. According to an Iranian belief, a birthmark is the result of a pregnant mother touching her stomach during the period of solar eclipse. On the other hand, in Hungarian and Dutch cultures, they are considered to be spots that the infant inherits from the mother.
These facts and information can give us an idea, but not a logical or scientific explanation. We know that birthmarks occur due to abnormality in blood vessels, but why does this abnormality occur in only a few infants? Why do they vary from one another? Do you have an answer to that?
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is meant for informational purposes only and should not be considered as a substitute for expert advice.