No Birthmarks Is Your Birthright!
You may be born with it but you don’t have to live with it. If you have an unseemly birthmark that affects your confidence, your dermatologist might have a solution for you. We get Dr Rinky Kapoor, Cosmetic Dermatologist and Co-founder, The Esthetic Clinics, to tell us more about how to deal with birthmarks.
Birthmarks are seen in a variety of shapes, sizes and textures. They can appear on any part of the body, and when they are in visible areas, such as the face, neck or arms, they tend to affect the person’s perception of the self. As the name suggests, any mark on the skin that is present since birth or has appeared shortly after birth (within a month or so) is referred to as a birthmark. This means it is congenital, and they are generally caused by overgrowth of factors such as fat, smooth muscle, blood vessels, melanocytes, keratinocytes or fibroblasts. Dr Rinky Kapoor, Cosmetic Dermatologist and Co-founder, of The Esthetic Clinics, sheds light on treating birthmarks.
Get them diagnosed
Some birthmarks generally do not need treatment and you can safely leave them alone. But if you notice a birthmark then it is best to see a dermatologist to get a diagnosis on the type of birthmark it is. Your dermatologist will recommend treatment, if it is necessary, to remove some birthmarks such as raised birthmarks, which can cause cosmetic and functional problems later.
Dermatologists can treat all kinds of birthmarks including:
- Vascular birthmarks such as haemangioma, port wine stain
- Pigmented birthmarks such as Mongolian spots, moles, and café au lait spots
The range of types of these birthmarks is quite extensive. They vary in shape, size, and colour (ranging from black to brown red to pink and purple to blue). Treatment depends on the location, type and severity of the birthmark. The important thing to keep in mind is that one should never try to treat or remove birthmarks at home. All types of birthmarks should always be assessed by a dermatologist before cosmetic surgery to rule out any cancerous growths.
Course of treatment
Lasers are the best and most successful treatment for both vascular and pigmented birthmarks. They are safe to use and produce long-lasting results with no side effects. Before lasers, doctors and dermatologists used various methods such as peels, excision, cryosurgery and cosmetic camouflage but none produced satisfactory results and had a poor aesthetic outcome.
Both ablative and non-ablative lasers are used for the treatment of vascular and pigmented birthmarks. Commonly used lasers are Pulsed Dye Laser, CO2 laser and Q-Switched YAG (QSY) lasers. Lasers are suitable for most skin types for birthmark removal. Your dermatologist will know which laser will work the best for your skin type and the birthmark type and might use a combination of lasers and treatments to get the best result.
Face the facts
Most laser birthmark removal is done for the face, neck and back where they are very visible. The same lasers are used for the face and other parts of the body. The patient should be healthy and have well-hydrated skin that is not prone to keloid formation. The important thing is to find the right dermatologist to do the procedure. Choose a skin specialist who has experience and proficiency in birthmark removal. It is not the devices that are important - more important is the right dermatologist who knows the right wavelength to use.
Lasers work by breaking up the skin cells and removing the dead skin cells. Therefore, some basic post-care treatment is always needed to ensure that the treated skin heals well and naturally. These include:
- Avoiding sun exposure for a week after each session of treatment
- Refrain from scrubbing or scratching the skin
- Avoid home treatments and other exfoliating treatments such as peels before the laser treatment
- Avoid hot showers for a few days
- Avoid makeup and harsh skincare products
Line of treatment
Laser treatments for birthmarks need about 3-8 sessions and each session is spaced about 3-5 weeks apart. One session of laser treatment can last for about 20 minutes to 1 hour depending on the area being treated. The results are permanent but, in some cases, the pigmented lesions might appear again. They can be treated with lasers again and they will fade away.
Surgery for birthmarks is recommended:
- If it is at a location that is not accessible by laser
- If the birthmark is blocking vision or hearing or interfering with breathing
- Deep haemangiomas that damage the surrounding skin
- In cases of sebaceous nevi, which can cause a large bald spot on the scalp
- If there are large moles
Surgery for birthmarks is often recommended before the child reaches maturity.
Disclaimer: The above content is for informational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for the advice of a qualified physician or doctor. The Company does not vouch for or endorse any of the above content, and disclaims any and all warranties, express or implied, relating to the same.