Learn about birthmark removal from your Arlington dermatologist

Birthmarks are one way in which our uniqueness shows. Depending on the size, color, and location of a birthmark, this uniqueness may lead to self-consciousness rather than a sense of authenticity. At Washington Dermatology Consultants, patients can experience a reduction in the appearance of birthmarks, and a subsequent increase in confidence. During a consultation with board certified dermatologist Dr. Kenneth Neal, you can discover the ideal treatment for healthy, beautiful skin.

What is a birthmark?

There are two categories of birthmarks, both of which are visible on the skin at birth. Some birthmarks are vascular, containing red or pink blood vessels. Others are pigmented, colored tan or brown due to excess melanin.

Vascular birthmarks

Port-wine stains and hemangiomas are two common vascular birthmarks for which there are treatments in our Arlington and Stafford offices. Each type of vascular birthmark is the results of abnormal development of blood vessels. The exact cause of vascular birthmarks is not known, and most occur independently, without other developmental defects.

One in ten infants is affected by a hemangioma, which may grow rapidly during the first years of life. Many hemangiomas first appear as small red dots, but quickly grown in thickness and size. Fifty percent of the time, these birthmarks will stop growing and eventually go away without treatment. Some, however, may grow quite large and remain if not medically treated.

Less common, port-wine stains occur in only about one in 1,000 infants in North America. Approximately 90 percent of port-wine stains develop on the face or neck. At first, port-wine stains may appear as pink patches, but usually grow darker and thicker, turning purple over time. Medical treatment is necessary for the elimination of port-wine stains.

Using specific lasers, Dr. Neal can remove vascular birthmarks safely and successfully in patients of all ages.

Pigmented birthmarks

Pigmented birthmarks may be called café-au-lait spots. The other most common pigmented birthmark is the common mole, or pigmented nevus. Café-au-lait spots, which look like pale brown patches of skin, affect only 10 percent of people. Without treatment, these types of birthmarks will remain visible. Nevi are typically darker than café-au-lait spots and are darker than freckles. Some nevi develop in a group to form a bluish-gray patch on the skin.

Pigment-specific laser treatment can effectively remove pigmented birthmarks.

Contact Washington Dermatology Consultants to learn more about laser treatment for the removal of birthmarks.