Skip to main navigation Skip to main content Skip to footer For Medicare For Providers For Brokers For Employers Español For Individuals & Families: For Individuals & Families Medical Dental Other Supplemental Explore coverage through work How to Buy Health Insurance Types of Dental Insurance Open Enrollment vs. Special Enrollment See all topics Shop for Medicare plans Member Guide Find a Doctor Log in to myCigna
Home Knowledge Center Wellness Library Common Types of Birthmarks

Common Types of Birthmarks

Topic Overview

Birthmarks are colored marks on the skin that are present at birth or develop shortly after birth. They can be many different sizes, shapes, and colors, including brown, tan, black, blue or blue-gray, pink, white, red, or purple. Some birthmarks appear on the surface of the skin, some are raised above the surface of the skin, and some are located under the skin. Most birthmarks are harmless and do not need treatment. Many birthmarks change, grow, shrink, or disappear. There are many types of birthmarks, and some are more common than others.

Salmon patches (also called stork bites, angel kisses, or macular stains) are the most common type of birthmark. They are thin, flat, light pink or red areas of colored skin that occur most frequently on the back of the neck (stork bites) and on a baby's upper eyelids, upper lip, or between the eyebrows (angel kisses). Most salmon patches on the eyelids fade without treatment within the child's first year. Most salmon patches on the nape of the neck do not fade. Salmon patches are more noticeable when a baby is crying or when he or she is hot or cold.

Congenital moles (nevi) are present at birth and are usually brown in color. They can appear anywhere on the body and can be different shapes and sizes. Some moles appear alone, and some moles appear in groups. Large moles may need to be closely watched because they can become cancerous later in life.

Café-au-lait spots are smooth birthmarks that may be present at birth but tend to develop in childhood. They are usually oval in shape and range from light brown to chocolate brown in color. They are found most commonly on the torso, buttocks, and legs. Café-au-lait spots do not go away, may increase in number, and generally do not require treatment. A single café-au-lait spot is not a sign of a health problem. But six or more spots that are larger than 0.25 in. (6.4 mm) or ones that occur along with freckles in the armpit or groin can suggest neurofibromatosis.

Mongolian spots are smooth, blue or blue-gray birthmarks that usually are found across the lower back and buttocks. They tend to occur in children of Asian, Southern European, Hispanic, Pacific Island, or African descent. A child may have one or several Mongolian spots. These types of birthmarks usually disappear without treatment by age 3 or 4.

Port-wine stains are pink-red at birth and darken to a red-purple color after a few years. Port-wine stains are caused by blood vessels that do not develop normally. They can be small or they can cover a large area of the body. They generally are found on the face but can occur anywhere on the body. Port-wine stains on the face can be associated with brain problems caused by Sturge-Weber syndrome.

Port-wine stains do not fade or go away on their own and most darken, thicken, and form bumps during adulthood. Port-wine stains may become more obvious when the body's hormones are changing, such as during puberty or pregnancy. Laser therapy may lighten or reduce the bumpiness of port-wine stains. If a port-wine stain makes you or your child feel shy or self-conscious, ask your doctor about treatment options and/or support groups and counseling.

Hemangiomas are formed by a clump of immature blood vessels. They may be present at birth or may appear when a baby is several weeks old. Hemangiomas vary in size. They may be a few millimeters to a few centimeters in diameter. There are three basic types of hemangiomas:

  • Superficial or capillary hemangiomas are the most common type. They are thick, raised birthmarks that are soft, purplish red, smooth, or slightly bumpy. They may be irregular or round in shape and most often are on the face, scalp, back, or chest. These hemangiomas may never grow, may grow slowly, or may grow rapidly to many times their original size in just a few months. After they stop growing, they usually begin to shrink. And most of them go away.
  • Deep hemangiomas are thick, deep, raised birthmarks that can be pale, skin-colored, red, or blue. They often are round in shape and may feel like a sponge. Deep hemangiomas may not go away, or they may fade and leave a scar.
  • Compound hemangiomas are a combination of superficial and deep hemangiomas.

Some hemangiomas disappear completely by 18 months. Most hemangiomas disappear or fade by age 9. Most children who have hemangiomas have only one.

Few hemangiomas need treatment. But ones that grow rapidly or cause problems with sight, breathing, hearing, speech, or movement may need treatment. For example, babies born with severe hemangiomas that are growing rapidly need to be treated right away. And hemangiomas that grow on internal organs such as the stomach, intestines, liver, or kidneys may need treatment.

In rare cases, a hemangioma in the diaper area will become sore and bleed (ulcerate). Ulceration can be very painful. If this happens, apply pressure to the area continuously with a clean pad for 10 minutes. And contact your doctor for more advice and an appointment.

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated, disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Learn how we develop our content.

© 1995-2022 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.

Related Links

Birthmarks

<cipublic-spinner variant="large"><span>Loading…</span></cipublic-spinner>

Page Footer

I want to...

Get an ID card File a claim View my claims and EOBs Check coverage under my plan See prescription drug list Find an in-network doctor, dentist, or facility Find a form Find 1095-B tax form information View the Cigna Glossary Contact Cigna

Audiences

Individuals and Families Medicare Employers Brokers Providers

Secure Member Sites

myCigna member portal Health Care Provider portal Cigna for Employers Client Resource Portal Cigna for Brokers

Cigna Company Information

About Cigna Company Profile Careers Newsroom Investors Suppliers Third Party Administrators International Evernorth

 Cigna. All rights reserved.

Privacy Legal Product Disclosures Cigna Company Names Customer Rights Accessibility Non-Discrimination Notice [PDF] Language Assistance [PDF] Report Fraud Sitemap

Disclaimer

Individual and family medical and dental insurance plans are insured by Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company (CHLIC), Cigna HealthCare of Arizona, Inc., Cigna HealthCare of Illinois, Inc., and Cigna HealthCare of North Carolina, Inc. Group health insurance and health benefit plans are insured or administered by CHLIC, Connecticut General Life Insurance Company (CGLIC), or their affiliates (see a listing of the legal entities  that insure or administer group HMO, dental HMO, and other products or services in your state). Accidental Injury, Critical Illness, and Hospital Care plans or insurance policies are distributed exclusively by or through operating subsidiaries of Cigna Corporation, are administered by Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company, and are insured by either (i) Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company (Bloomfield, CT); (ii) Life Insurance Company of North America (“LINA”) (Philadelphia, PA); or (iii) New York Life Group Insurance Company of NY (“NYLGICNY”) (New York, NY), formerly known as Cigna Life Insurance Company of New York. The Cigna name, logo, and other Cigna marks are owned by Cigna Intellectual Property, Inc. LINA and NYLGICNY are not affiliates of Cigna.

All insurance policies and group benefit plans contain exclusions and limitations. For availability, costs and complete details of coverage, contact a licensed agent or Cigna sales representative. This website is not intended for residents of New Mexico.

Selecting these links will take you away from Cigna.com to another website, which may be a non-Cigna website. Cigna may not control the content or links of non-Cigna websites. Details