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What Is a Strawberry Birthmark?

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  • Written By: Dee S.
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 25 June 2014
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There are two main kinds of birthmarks: hemangiomas and pigmented birthmarks. The strawberry birthmark falls under the first category. The red colored mark usually appears a few weeks after birth and grows quickly. Other names for the strawberry birthmark include nevus vascularis, strawberry mark, capillary hemangioma, and hemangioma simplex. The other kind of birthmark, the pigmented birthmark, is usually present when the affected individual is born and can be black, brown, blue, or gray in color.

The brightly colored strawberry birthmark is among the most common of the birthmarks. It can appear any place on the human body; however, it is usually found on a person’s head, face, chest, or back. It is formed from a small group of blood vessels that develop on a particular area of the body.

A strawberry birthmark is generally not painful or harmful; however, if it covers an individual’s eyes, nose, or mouth, it can lead to problems. For example, it can cause problems with the individual’s eyesight if it covers an eyelid. In addition, a birthmark can cause problems breathing, if it is on a person’s mouth or nose.

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Luckily, individuals who are affected with a strawberry birthmark find that it disappears before ten years of age. Sometimes there is a light discoloration mark or even a texture to the skin in the area of the strawberry birthmark; however, the birthmark itself will be gone. Many other kinds of birthmarks do not disappear on their own, making the strawberry birthmark rather unique.

The reason behind most birthmarks is not yet determined. Researchers do know that they are not genetically inherited. Birthmarks do not require treatment, unless they impair the individual’s eyesight or ability to breathe, as mentioned above. Many people with birthmarks opt to have them removed for psychological or aesthetic reasons, especially if they are located on the face.

In most cases, red birthmarks are easy to diagnose. Occasionally, a deep birthmark may require a confirmation test, such as an ultrasound or biopsy, to finalize confirmation. Once conformation is received, the individual can decide whether she wants to hide or remove it.

An easy way to hide a strawberry birthmark is to cover it with concealer. In addition, cortisone can be applied to it to limit its growth. Freezing, laser surgery, and surgical removal are other treatment options. It is important to talk to a qualified dermatologist or other medical doctor before undergoing any procedure.

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Discuss this Article

anon934933
Post 12

My son got a strawberry mole on his head. I found it a few days after his birth. That was the first time I had ever seen one in my life. I was alarmed and took him to the doctor and they said it was a strawberry mole and would disappear on its own.

Now he is 10 and it disappeared two years back. It grew faster but took a long time to go away. People in my country suggested some religious rituals which I did (nothing but pray to God.) We had a custom to shave the hair at the age of one but due to this mole, we never did that for fear that he may bleed and I was told by my doctor that if blood comes from that mole, it would not stop.

Sinbad
Post 11

@amysamp - While most strawberry birthmarks go away on their own, I would say from what I have read to always talk to the dermatologist about strawberry birthmark treatment - here's why...

As noted, a strawberry birthmark is only one of a few birthmarks, so what if you think it is a strawberry birthmark and it actually is not? Also different birthmarks, in different places on the body have different chances of scarring. All things that are better off discussed with someone who has seen a lot of them!

More good news on the treatment though - there are also treatments for the scars if such do occur! Gotta love modern medicine in this case.

amysamp
Post 10

I knew a boy in high school that I always thought was particularly brave as he had kept a dark birthmark on his face.

In high school when it was difficult enough to be your own person, he seemed to not be bothered by this rather large birthmark and interestingly no one else in turn seemed to be bothered by it.

Is there a birthmark treatment of choice? I have read some of the comments here, in that the birthmark treatment left no signs of a birthmark ever being there, but I wondered if this was more true for freezing off a birthmark, applying laser surgery, or the surgical removal option.

Mykol
Post 9

Even though strawberry birthmarks can be concerning if you are not familiar with them, they usually go away on their own.

When parents see strawberry birthmarks on their babies, they wonder right away what might be wrong. This happened with our son and daughter in law.

Shortly after our grandson was born, these red marks appeared on his face and back. They had no idea what they were and took him to the doctor right away.

When they were told they were strawberry birthmarks and would eventually disappear on their own, they were greatly relieved. By the time he was 7 years old, you could not tell the marks were ever there.

SarahSon
Post 8

We have some friends who adopted their daughter from a foreign country when she was 8 years old. She had several large birthmarks on her face when they brought her home.

These must not have been strawberry birthmarks, because they knew even before they adopted her that they would need to be removed with surgery.

She had been placed in the orphanage because her mother was too poor to take care of her, and knew that in her country she would never be able to marry with these birthmarks on her face.

Shortly after she arrived they began the process of her birthmark removal. I remember that it took more than one surgery, and it was quite a long time before the marks were completely gone.

Today you would never know she had birthmarks on her face. Now she is in college and has adjusted very well to life in America.

summing
Post 7

I had one of these on the back of my neck from the time I was about 3 years old into my early adolescence. Then, as if by magic, it completely disappeared. I didn't do anything to treat it, it just faded away until it became completely invisible. If only everything had such a simple resolution.

MissMuffet
Post 6

@ysmina - My brother was born with a port wine stain birthmark on his face, and life was a bit tough for him when he went to elementary school.

It's sometimes difficult for adults to understand this experience, especially if they haven't had the same problem. Plus, being on the face or head, well it's pretty hard to avoid it being seen.

The great news is that strawberry birthmark removal is, as someone already said, largely unnecessary. The odds of it disappearing are very much stacked in your favor.

My brother had laser treatment because medical intervention was the best option for him. If there's an end in sight then I think building your son's confidence as he grows older, and more aware, is the best thing you can do.

SZapper
Post 5

@Azuza - I personally think people with strawberry birthmarks, as opposed to the other types, are lucky. Most birthmarks don't just disappear on their own!

That being said, I can understand why some parents might consider having their child's strawberry birthmark removed. Young children get teased by their peers for every little thing, and a birthmark on the face is quite noticeable! I guess it's up to every family to decide for themselves though.

Azuza
Post 4

My friends daughter has a large strawberry birthmark on her forehead. However, since strawberry birthmarks go away on their own, my friend decided to leave it alone.

Although the birthmark is big, it's not hurting anything. My friend his wife both think there's no reason to subject a child to a surgical procedure just for appearances sake.

candyquilt
Post 3

@ysmina-- My daughter had a nevus on her chest and it also got bigger after birth as you described. It even looked blistery at times. But the doctor told us it would disappear with time and we left it alone.

I think the nevus grew until she was close to one years old and then started to get smaller and fade. She is now three, and it's basically disappeared. The area where it was looks a little raised, but hardly noticeable.

I recommend that you listen to the doctor and let it disappear on its own. I've seen kids that had strawberry birthmarks removed and they all have scars where it was. It's really unnecessary since it goes away on it's own and with little or no marks.

I think the only exception is if the birthmark gets infected, if it's in a place that's at risk for being irritated or hurt, like in the hands or the diaper area. It could get infected then and the doctor might want to do something about it at that point. Otherwise, it's not a problem at all.

ysmina
Post 2

Hi, my son has a nevus on his forehead. He was born with it and it was quite small then. Now he is close to three months old and the nevus is getting bigger and bigger.

The doctor told me to leave it as it is but I don't know if that's the best thing to do. If it was on another area, maybe I wouldn't be so concerned. But since it is on his face, it's very visible and I'm afraid how that would impact him when he comes to school age.

Is anyone else going through this with their son or daughter right now?

fify
Post 1

My brother was born with the first type of strawberry birthmark, a hemangioma on his head. My mom says that it was so big that she took him to the hospital right away and had it surgically removed. Now there is a small spot on his head where hair doesn't grow. It might have disappeared or gotten smaller as he got older but I think my mom was too worried about it.

She also thinks that it happened because she witnessed a strawberry birthmark being removed while she was pregnant. We are from the Middle East and some people there believe that what you look at while you are pregnant impacts the baby's physical appearance.

My mom was working at the hospital as a nurse and took part in a surgery where they removed someone's strawberry birthmark. Apparently, the operating doctor had told her not to look as it could appear on her baby. My mom didn't believe in it though.

I don't know if I believe in it either, but it might be a compelling reason to not look at birthmarks when I'm pregnant.

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