Strawberry birthmarks are quite common and can be identified as a slightly raised lump on skin surface which is red in color. This article mainly highlights the causes of this type of birthmark and its treatment.
As the name suggests, birthmarks are the ones that are present on the skin surface at the time of birth. One is either born with these marks or may develop it soon after birth. There are many different types of birthmarks. A strawberry birthmark is one of them and is also referred to as strawberry hemangioma. It is named so because the area where it appears has a soft texture and the mark is shaped like a strawberry. Most babies are not born with this but it appears after a week or so. Then it starts growing in size very fast till the baby becomes 10 months old. A baby may have one or more strawberry birthmark on his or her body. It can be found in any part of the body like head, neck, back or chest.
Strawberry birthmarks are absolutely harmless and are not painful. So, there is nothing to worry about if your child has one or more of them. Studies have found that these marks appear when a number of blood vessels get concentrated in one particular area in the skin layers. The red color is owing to the fact that this area has more number of blood vessels. So far, it is not clearly known why so many blood vessels get collected abnormally in one given spot. Many researchers believe that a specific protein produced during pregnancy may be responsible for this.
In some cases, it has been found to be hereditary. Interestingly, it is more common in girls as compared to boys. This is because the female gender has certain hormones in her body that promote this condition. Another unique feature of this type of birthmark is that the light skinned babies are more prone to this it than those with dark skin tone.
In most of the cases, strawberry birthmarks do not require any treatment as it fades away once the child grows up. Usually, it disappears when the child reaches the age of ten. However, in some people, its size may continue to grow and turn darker with passage of time. If this mark appears near the eye, mouth or nose then it may interfere with the child’s vision, eating or breathing. In such cases, it has to be removed in order to provide relief to the child.
As far as the treatment is concerned, there are a number of options available. Corticosteroid injections are often used to shrink the size of the blood vessels. This in turn will reduce the size of the marks. Cryosurgery is another option where the tissues of the area are destroyed by exposing them to a very low temperature. Laser treatment is the most popular treatment for removal of the birthmark. In this procedure, laser beams are used to clear up the redness and also remove the lump.
In some rare cases, doctors may opt for plastic surgery. Surgery is recommended only when other treatments do not show good results. This surgery is also used to repair the damaged skin after removal of the mark with other treatments. All these treatments for strawberry birthmarks may have adverse side effects. It may even affect normal growth of the child. Therefore, it is advisable that parents should have an open discussion with their doctors before starting any treatment.
There is no way to prevent the appearance of such birthmarks. There is a misconception among people that these birthmarks appear if the mother eats or touches too many strawberries during pregnancy. However, research studies have found that it is not at all true.