- The definition of a birthmark is a colored mark on the skin.
Facts About Birthmarks
- They can be either flat on the skin or be a slightly raised area.
- The birthmark can appear anywhere on the body.
- The shape of the birthmark is normally not a circle, but instead has irregular edges.
- Birthmarks are present at birth or appear within a few days. Many birthmarks also fade and disappear within a few weeks after birth.
- They will show up in a particular color that may vary from black, brown or tan to one that is more colorful such as, red, pink, pale blue or purple.
- Birthmarks can be caused by an abnormal growth in pigment cells (pigmented birthmark) or from a grouping of blood vessels too close to the surface of the skin or a group of blood vessels that do not grow normally.
- Birthmarks are often called stork bites, angel kisses or macular stains.
- The most common birthmark is probably a congenital mole. Other types of birthmarks are cafe au lait spots (small, oval, light brown spots on legs or torso), Mongolian spots (bluish or purple irregular spots on the lower back) and port-wine stains.
- Port-wine stains, a relatively uncommon birthmark, range in color from light pink to deep purple. Some fade, but most remain and grow. This type of birthmark is most notable on the forehead of Mikhail Gorbachev.
- Almost everyone has, or had, some type of birthmark, so they are familiar and common.
An example of a birthmark is a blush-red mark on the surface of the neck.
Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
birthmark - Medical Definition