Birthmarks are a naturally occurring phenomenon and they are present at birth in the form of moles, beauty spots, or certain variations in the skin pattern, like a fold or a dark coloured mark which may be red, pink or any other hue. Birthmarks if present in the form of beauty spots or moles tend to look pretty, like Sophia Loren’s famous beauty spot at the top of her lips.
- Types of Birthmarks
- Causes of Birthmarks
- 10 Useful Remedies to Remove Moles
- 7 Useful Remedies to Remove Birthmarks
Though some birthmarks also appear to be a bit unsightly and might cause certain people to feel embarrassed. Though most of the time these birthmarks are nothing to worry about, yet people would like to get rid of certain birthmarks.
Types of Birthmarks
Birthmarks are broadly classified into 2 types:
1. Pigmented Birthmarks
These marks arise due to the excessive accumulation of melanin pigment (produced by melanocyte cells) in the deeper layers of skin (dermal melanosis). These are generally brown or black in color and may be flat or raised.
Moles are usually small, round, brown spots. Occasionally, they can be larger in size and light pink, skin-colored or black. Some are flat and smooth, while others may be elevated.
Moles should be monitored for changes in color, shape or size and/ or itching or bleeding as they can lead to melanoma (skin cancer).
– Cafe au Lait Spots
Often oval shaped, small or large sized “coffee with milk” colored spots on the skin. They may appear darker in individuals with a dark complexion. They generally fade as you grow older, but may not completely vanish.
– Mongolian Spots
These are brown/ blue spots, that make the skin appear like it’s been bruised. Generally seen on the lower back or buttocks. They may completely fade away in some cases.
2. Vascular Birthmarks
Sometimes, the blood vessels clump together under your skin, appearing red, purple or bluish in color. These are called Vascular Birthmarks. They may be flat or elevated, with variable size.
– Salmon Patches
Pink or red colored, flat marks on the skin are Salmon Patches. If they are present on the face, they are called “Angel’s Kisses” whereas on the back they are known as “Stork Bites”.
They generally fade away on their own, but sometimes they don’t.
Hemangiomas are caused due to many tiny blood vessels bunched together under the skin. They might be flattened or raised and appear bluish-red in color. They vary in size. They grow very rapidly in the first year of the child, which may be a matter of concern to the parents. However, as the child grows, they shrink in size and eventually go away completely.
– Port-Wine Stains
Port wine stains are pink, red or purple marks that appear on the face. They grow bigger in size with the growth of a child and do not fade away on their own.
Causes of Birthmarks
The causes of birthmarks are not fully understood, but they are usually not inherited.
Pigmented Birthmarks are caused by abnormal cluster of pigment cells like melanocytes while vascular birthmarks occur due to aggregation of abnormal blood vessels in or under the skin.
Port-Wine Stain : This is caused because the nerves responsible for the contraction or widening of capillaries (tiny blood vessels) do not function properly or are less in number. This causes the increase in blood supply in that area, which makes the skin above it appear red or purple in color.
These stains may also be associated with syndromes example, Sturge-Weber Syndrome, Klippel-Trenaunay Syndrome etc.
The excess production of melanin pigment by melanocytes gives rise to Moles.
– Excessive exposure to sunlight.
– Hyper-activity of the sebaceous glands (oil producing glands) of the skin – such moles are yellow in color and are rough to touch.
– Puberty (due to hormonal changes)
– Pregnancy (due to hormonal changes)
10 Useful Remedies to Remove Moles
Follow these tips to get rid of moles.
Surgical treatment of moles may be by Electrocauterization (burning the mole with an electric instrument) or Surgical Excision (removal of the mole after cutting an incision with a scalpel followed by placing stitches).
1. Tea Tree Oil
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- Diffusing Tea Tree Oil will help purify and freshen the air
This oil has been used since centuries to treat moles and warts, without any side effects.
Method: Dip a cotton swab in tea tree oil and apply in on the moles and the area surrounding it. Following this ritual for a couple of weeks will lead to the mole eventually falling off.
The milk from the dandelion root is very effective in treating moles.
Method: Extract the milk from the root of dandelion and apply it to the mole, leaving it on for about an hour to allow it to get completely absorbed by the mole. This should be done two to three times a day for best results.
Method: Dissolve an aspirin tablet in water to make a thick paste. Apply it on the mole, leaving it on for 30 minutes before washing it off.
4. Baking Soda
This is one of the most effective methods to treat moles.
Method: Mix baking soda with water to form a paste and apply it on the mole, leaving it on for 15 minutes. Rinse it off with water.
This may lead to inflammation of the skin (causing redness), which will eventually subside on it’s own.
5. Castor Oil
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- While its use is applicable to many other areas of wellness
Castor oil works wonders when it comes to moles. Just 3-4 applications of castor oil will make the mole appear lighter.
- For small moles, a cotton ball soaked in castor oil must be taped on the mole, leaving it on overnight.
- For larger moles, a paste of baking soda and castor oil must be applied on the mole and left on overnight.
- After a few applications, the mole will begin to shrink and eventually fall off.
Potatoes are very effective in mole removal.
Method: A small slice of potato must be secured on a mole with a bandage for about a week. This will cause the mole to slough off, as the potato undergoes decomposition.
Grated radish is one of the best remedies to destroy moles.
Method: Apply grated radish to a mole several times a day until the mole eventually falls off.
Iodine is very effective in zapping moles.
Method: After securing the surrounding area with petroleum jelly, apply 1-2 drops of iodine directly on the mole for a week or until the moles disappears. This will cause the mole to flake off.
Discontinue the use of iodine if you experience a burning sensation, and DO NOT ingest it.
9. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is very effective in mole removal.
Method: Form a paste mixing apple cider vinegar with baking soda and apply it directly to the mole. Regular application will cause the mole to eventually fall off.
Application of fruit slices on the mole, such as strawberry, pineapple, sour apple, grape-fruit, banana peels will help the mole to eventually fall off.
– Cafe au Lait Spots
Cafe au Lait spots, in most cases, will fade off on their own.
Medical Treatment: Cafe au Lait spots do not require any surgical intervention unless they are caused due to an underlying condition like Neurofibromatosis. In such a case, they may impinge on an underlying nerve and must be regularly monitored by a doctor.
For esthetic reasons, Cafe au Lait spots can be treated using LASERs by Doctors.
– Mongolian Spots
These birthmarks are harmless and go away on their own by the age of 4.
– Salmon Patches
Salmons patches generally disappear on their own during the first year of birth. Those at the hairline at the back of the neck tend to remain, but are usually covered under hair.
Hemangiomas generally resolve on their own, requiring no treatment. However, hemangiomas located near the eyes, nose, lips or genitalia require treatment as they may interfere with vision, breathing, eating or defecating.
– LASER therapy to stop their growth. This treatment may involve risks such as pain, scarring or ulceration.- Medicines: Corticosteroids can be taken through mouth or as an injection. Other drugs such as Propranolol ( which is used to treat high blood pressure) can also be used.
– Port-Wine Stains:
Port-Wine Stains on the eye-lids must be treated as they pose as a risk for glaucoma (a disease in which the pressure increases in the eyes, which can lead to blindness)
Medical Treatment Options include:
- LASER is the most preferred treatment as it destroys the capillaries in the skin without damaging the surrounding tissues.
PS: In case of a small Port-Wine Stain, a Cosmetic Camouflage Cream can be used to cover the mark, but this does not treat it.
7 Useful Remedies to Remove Birthmarks
Follow these easy to apply home remedies to get rid of birthmarks.
1. Use Concealer or Foundation
The first and foremost thing you can do is to lighten the birthmark, if there’s a birthmark on your face you can try to hide it with a concealer and then apply a base or a foundation. This will relatively lighten your birth mark and make it less visible.
2. Use Lemon
If hiding it with makeup does not seem to appeal you, then you can use lemon juice over birthmark on a daily basis. Lemon is a natural bleaching agent and is used to lighten dark spots.
3. Use Olive Oil
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Some people use olive oil. Massaging a birthmark with olive oil daily helps reduce its visibility causing it to lighten over time.
Both of these above natural treatments may require weeks and weeks of diligence. If you leave the treatment somewhere in the middle you will not see any changes in the color of your birthmark. However with time your marks would fade and will also become less noticeable.
4. Use Birthmark Removal Cream
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You can also try using birthmark removal creams; there are many available in the market which claim to effectively remove birthmarks over a certain period of time. Though it is better if you get one prescribed from a dermatologist.
At first using these creams might cause a mild irritation or an itching or burning sensation but one which is manageable and will lessen with time.
5. Flax Seed Paste
Some people even use a paste made from flax seed and dandelion root. First both the natural ingredients are grounded to a powder form and then mixed with honey and applied to the affected area twice a day. This when done diligently will greatly reduce the appearance of birthmarks.
6. Laser Therapy
Laser therapy can also effectively remove birthmarks by the use of lasers. This is perhaps quite expensive for most people and might require quite a number of sittings. For the treatment also depends upon the size of the birthmark. A smaller area is easy to handle compared to a large area.
7. Surgical Treatment
Last but not the least is the most extreme measure which people often have to take because a birthmark can become a curse for them, these people often resort to the surgical removal of birthmarks. This is a permanent method of getting rid of a birthmark completely.
Birthmarks are very common and almost all children have a mark of some sort. Most are harmless and eventually go away as the child grows. Some birthmarks may be permanent and may require cosmetic procedures to remove them, in order to restore the confidence of a person.
Occasionally, a birthmark may be an indication of an underlying medical condition. In such cases, it is best to consult with a doctor such as a dermatologist, especially if the birthmark shows changes in its size, color or shape all of a sudden.