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Birthmarks

Birthmarks are coloured marks on the skin that are present at birth or soon afterwards. Most are harmless and disappear without treatment, but some may need to be treated.

There are many different types of birthmark.

Flat, red or pink areas of skin (salmon patches or stork marks)

Image of a baby's face with a salmon patches birthmark on their eyelids and forehead

Salmon patches:

Red, purple or dark marks (port wine stains)

Image of a port wine birthmark on a person's cheek and nose

Port wine stains:

Flat, light or dark brown patches (cafe-au-lait spots)

Close-up image of a flat, light brown patch on a person's skin

Cafe-au-lait spots:

Blue-grey birthmarks (Mongolian blue spots)

Image of an Asian baby's leg with a large, dark coloured birthmark that looks like a bruise

Mongolian blue spots:

Brown or black moles (congenital moles or congenital melanocytic naevi)

Congenital moles:

Information:

Find out about other types of birthmark:

The Birthmark Support Group has information about other types of birthmark and getting help and support.

Non-urgent advice: See a GP if:

  • you're worried about a birthmark
  • a birthmark is close to the eye, nose, or mouth
  • a birthmark has got bigger, darker or lumpier
  • a birthmark is sore or painful
  • your child has 6 or more cafe-au-lait spots
  • you or your child has a large congenital mole

The GP may ask you to check the birthmark for changes, or they may refer you to a skin specialist (dermatologist).

Most birthmarks do not need treatment, but some do. This is why it's important to get a birthmark checked if you're worried about it.

A birthmark can be removed on the NHS if it's affecting a person's health. If you want a birthmark removed for cosmetic reasons, you'll have to pay to have it done privately.

Possible treatments for birthmarks include: