A birthmark is a dark spot on the skin. It contains extra pigment, which is the dye that darkens the skin when exposed to the sun. Most birthmarks are harmless, but it is important to keep track of changes.
Birthmarks are sometimes called liver patches and in the medical language, they are called a nevus.
Symptoms of birthmarks or liver spots
Everyone can get birthmarks and they can get anywhere on the body.
Birthmarks are dark but can differ in size, shape, and color. Birthmarks can be difficult to see on dark skin.
Some have a smaller number of birthmarks, and some have many. It is not uncommon to have around 70 birthmarks, but even more than that can occur.
Birthmarks can come in different ages. The first ones can be seen already during the first years of life, and then more and more arrive at about the age of 30. Women often get more birthmarks during pregnancy.
When and where should I seek care?
If you have a birthmark that matches one or more of the following, contact a health care provider :
- It turns into a wound.
- It grows or changes shape.
- It changes color or becomes flames.
- It starts itching or bleeding.
- It sits so that clothes or jewelry rub against it.
You can also contact a health care center if you have birthmarks that you are worried about.
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Treatment for birthmarks or liver spots
Birthmarks can be removed by surgery, scraping, laser or freezing. Another method is the so-called diathermy when tissue is burned using electricity.
Birthmarks that are operated away are examined in a microscope in a laboratory. Birthmarks that are removed by scraping, laser or freezing cannot be examined afterward. The same applies if birthmarks are removed.
You have to pay for the procedure yourself if you want to remove birthmarks for cosmetic reasons.
Birthmarks and other skin changes
Almost all birthmarks are harmless. Single birthmarks can develop into disease. It is therefore important to pay attention to whether birthmarks change.
There are also other types of skin changes that can sometimes be difficult to distinguish from birthmarks. Examples of these are so-called age warts, actinic keratosis and lentigo Solaris which are also called sunspots. However, these skin changes usually come at a higher age.