Strawberry mark; Vascular skin changes; Angioma cavernosum; Capillary hemangioma; Hemangioma simplex
Red birthmarks are skin markings created by blood vessels close to the skin surface. They develop before or shortly after birth.
There are two main categories of birthmarks:
Hemangiomas are a common type of vascular birthmark. Their cause is unknown. Their color is caused by the growth of blood vessels at the site. Different kinds of hemangiomas include:
The main symptoms of birthmarks include:
A health care provider should examine all birthmarks. Diagnosis is based on how the birthmark looks.
Tests to confirm deeper birthmarks include:
Many strawberry hemangiomas, cavernous hemangiomas, and salmon patches are temporary and do not need treatment.
Port-wine stains may not need treatment unless they:
Most permanent birthmarks are not treated before a child reaches school age or the birthmark is causing symptoms. Port-wine stains on the face are an exception. They should be treated at a young age to prevent emotional and social problems. Laser surgery can be used to treat them.
Concealing cosmetics may hide permanent birthmarks.
Oral or injected cortisone may reduce the size of a hemangioma that is growing quickly and affecting vision or vital organs.
Other treatments for red birthmarks include:
Birthmarks rarely cause problems, other than changes in appearance. Many birthmarks go away on their own by the time a child reaches school age, but some are permanent. The following development patterns are typical for the different types of birthmarks:
The following complications can occur from birthmarks:
Have your provider look at all birthmarks.
There is no known way to prevent birthmarks.
Dinulos JGH. Vascular tumors and malformations. In: Dinulos JGH, ed. Habif's Clinical Dermatology. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 23.
Folpe AL, Kozakewich HP. Benign vascular tumors and malformations. In: Goldblum JR, Folpe AL, Weiss SW, eds. Enzinger and Weiss's Soft Tissue Tumors. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 20.
Patterson JW. Vascular tumors. In: Patterson JW, ed. Weedon's Skin Pathology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Limited; 2021:chap 39.BACK TO TOP
Review Date: 11/10/2020
Reviewed By: Ramin Fathi, MD, FAAD, Director, Phoenix Surgical Dermatology Group, Phoenix, AZ. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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