What are pigmented birthmarks?

Posted on 19 Aug, 2011

When pigment cells form a cluster, the result is a tan or brown mark that appears on the skin. A birthmark is usually present from birth, although they can also develop during the first weeks of life. There are different types of pigmented birthmark, as detailed below:

Café-au-lait spots
As the name suggests, these marks are the colour of milky coffee, and it is not unusual for children to have one or two of these somewhere on their body. As with most pigmented birthmarks, these spots are not a cause for concern, unless more than six appear in the first five years of life. Café-au-lait spots may cause people to feel self-conscious, particularly if they appear on the face. Birthmark removal using laser treatment is highly effective, causing the pigment cells to break up.

Many people have these large brown or black moles that occur when the skin produces an excess of pigmentation. This type of mole (congenital melanocytic naevi) can range in diameter from 1.5 cm to 20cm, which can have a significant effect on someone’s appearance. They are not considered dangerous unless they change size or shape. Surgery is the only way to remove these birthmarks.