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Red Birthmarks, Hemangiomas, and Your Skin

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What Are the Signs of Red Birthmarks?

Signs of red birthmarks include:

  • Skin markings that develop before or shortly after birth
  • Skin markings that resemble blood vessels

How Are Red Birthmarks Diagnosed?

In most cases, a health professional can diagnose a red birthmark based on the appearance of the skin. Deeper birthmarks can be confirmed with tests such as MRI, ultrasound, CT scans, or biopsies.

What Is the Treatment for Hemangiomas and Red Birthmarks?

Many capillary birthmarks such as salmon patches and strawberry hemangiomas are temporary and require no treatment. For permanent lesions, concealing cosmetics may be helpful. Oral corticosteroids can reduce the size of a hemangioma that is growing rapidly and obstructing vision or vital structures.

A new and very promising treatment for serious hemangiomas is propranalol, a drug usually used for the treatment of high blood pressure.

Port wine stains on the face can be treated at a young age with a pulsed dye laser for best results.

Other treatments for red birthmarks may include:

  • Cryotherapy (freezing)
  • Laser surgery
  • Surgical removal

In some cases, birthmarks are not treated until a child reaches school age. However, hemangiomas are treated earlier if they compromise vital functions like vision or breathing or make the child self-conscious.

Can Hemangiomas and Red Birthmarks Be Prevented?

Currently, there is no known way to prevent hemangiomas or red birthmarks.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini, DO, MS on October 27, 2014
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