Cafe-au-lait spots are light tan or light brown spots that are usually oval in shape. They usually appear at birth but may develop in the first few years of a child's life. Cafe-au-lait spots may be a normal type of birthmark, but the presence of several cafe-au-lait spots larger than a quarter may occur in neurofibromatosis (a genetic disorder that causes abnormal cell growth of nerve tissues).
There is no known way to prevent birthmarks. People with birthmarks should use a broad spectrum sunscreen with zinc oxide and SPF 30 on exposed skin every day to prevent complications. Read more about the classifications and treatments for birthmarks.
Slideshow: Slideshow: A Visual Guide to Birthmarks