Do you have a birthmark? Chances are pretty good you do. After all, most people do. Birthmarks come in all shapes, colors, and sizes, and can develop anywhere on the body. While these markings typically aren’t anything to worry about, you may wish to see a dermatologist about your birthmark if it negatively impacts your appearance or begins to change appearance.
Most Birthmarks are Harmless
As we mentioned before, most birthmarks won’t cause you any harm or affect the health of your skin. Of course, some birthmarks could potentially cause complications and should be monitored by a dermatologist. For example, a strawberry mark can sometimes evolve into an open wound and become infected. If you’ve been told that your birthmark is a melanocytic nevus, then this is something that should be monitored regularly to make sure that it doesn’t develop into cancer later in life.
Treating a Birthmark
If you are feeling a bit self-conscious about your birthmark you’ll be happy to hear that many of them will fade over time. Of course, you may want to talk with your dermatologist about birthmark removal options if the birthmark you have could potentially cause some health risks for you or if your birthmark embarrasses you.
It’s always a good idea to talk to a dermatologist who can assess whether the benefits of having your birthmark removed outweigh the cons. For example, birthmarks that could potentially affect vision or hearing should be removed. Some removal methods include:
- Corticosteroids: injections or oral steroids can stop the birthmark from growing and can shrink it
- Interferon alfa-12: this can also shrink the birthmark (particularly if corticosteroids do not work effectively)
- Laser therapy: can be used on certain birthmarks like port wine stains
Surgery may be necessary only if these other treatment options haven’t provided the proper results or if the birthmark is causing other health issues. The type of treatment you need will depend on your health, the type and location of your birthmark, and whether it’s causing any complications.
Whether you want to find out if you should have a birthmark removed or you just want to schedule a skin cancer screening, a dermatologist can help you make important decisions regarding treatment options and your skin health.