A look into the strawberry birthmark, pictures, meaning, myths, causes, removal, on scalp, on the baby and bleeding.
Strawberry Birthmark Meaning
Birthmarks are the colored marks that are found on the skin. They’re usually present at birth or even develop soon afterwards.
There are many different types of the birthmark and some of them are too common.
The two main types of birthmark are:
- vascular birthmarks (often red or pink) brought about by abnormal blood vessels in or under the skin
- pigmented birthmarks (that are usually brown) brought about by clusters of pigment cells
Strawberry birthmark usually happen in the head and the neck area, mainly on the face. But both of the types of birthmark may appear anywhere, including inside the body.
If the surface blood vessels are much affected, a vascular birthmark can appear to be red, purple or even pink. If the affected vessels are very deep, the birthmark will thus look blue.
Blotchy pink or purple flat marks that are normally formed by the dilated capillaries near the surface of the skin. This is the most common type of a birthmark, with up to 70 percent of the babies having one or more of them.
The strawberry birthmark may become very noticeable when the baby cries or if there’s a change in temperature. The ones that appears on the back of the neck, known as stork bites, normally last into adulthood. The ones on the forehead or even eyelids, known as angel kisses, usually go away by age 2.
Tan or light brown flat patches that sometimes appear in multiples. Between 30 and 40 percent of newborns have one or two of these pigmented birthmarks. They normally fade or get smaller as a child grows, though they may darken with sun exposure.
Pigmented birthmarks are the tan or even brown-colored skin marks.
Birthmarks are the colored skin spots that either are present at birth or they develop shortly after birth. Birthmarks may be several different colors, including the brown, black, pink, white, red, or purple. Some of the birthmarks are only colorations of the surface of the skin; others are then raised above the surface of the skin or extend into the tissues under the skin.
Clusters of the pigment-making skin cells. Moles vary in size and then may be very flat or raised, black or brown or not. Many of the moles don’t even show up until a child is about 5 years old. About 2 percent of babies have moles that are present during birth, which are known as congenital nevi, or birthmark moles. The moles often start out flat and become slightly larger and more raised.
Red, black, purple, or white—birthmarks may come in several colors, sizes, and even the shapes. One type is the strawberry nevus of the skin, a fancy name for the red birthmark. This harmless birthmark normally fades by the time a child reaches age of about 8. If it does not, then removal options are considered to minimize the birthmark’s appearance.
A strawberry birthmark or hemangioma, is named for its color. This red tinge to the skin comes from the collection of blood vessels close to the skin’s surface. While the hemangioma may be anywhere, the most common locations are usually the face, scalp, and chest. If you observe closely at the area, you can see small blood vessels closely packed together.
Strawberry birthmark (also called strawberry mark, capillary hemangioma or hemangioma simplex) can appear anywhere on the body, but are most common on the face. They consist of the small, closely packed blood vessels.
They can be absent at birth, and develop at several weeks. They usually grow rapidly, remain a fixed size, and then subside. In most cases, strawberry hemangiomas go away by the time a child is exactly 12 years old. Some slight discoloration or even puckering of the skin can remain at the site of the strawberry birthmark.
Though it’s known a birthmark, a strawberry birthmark do not always appear at birth. The mark may appear when the child is several weeks old. It can grow very quickly and then slowly fade.
Strawberry birthmark of the skin can resemble a number of other types of the red birthmarks. A strawberry nevus is even with the child’s skin, while the cavernous hemangioma is usually sunken into the skin. A port-wine stain—a red or purple birthmark—differs from the strawberry nevus as port-wine stains normally happen on the face and are permanent.
A strawberry nevus is not harmful, but it may affect a child’s self-esteem if the mark is in a highly visible place and does not fade as the child grows up. Also, some of the strawberry nevi might leave behind a gray or white scar as they fade, leaving the area very different from the surrounding skin.
In the severest cases, a large hemangioma can be life threatening. A large nevus pulls blood platelets in from your bloodstream, which can lead to heart failure. A physician can evaluate the size of the marking and perform tests to determine its depth, if necessary.
Occasionally, the port-wine-stain birthmarks can indicate the presence of the rare underlying disorder, including:
- Sturge-Weber syndrome – which are the symptoms include a port-wine-stain birthmark on the upper eyelid and forehead, and the abnormalities of the brain (and sometimes of the eye).
- Klippel-Trenaunay-Weber syndrome – which are the symptoms include a port-wine-stain birthmark on the leg. The bones, muscles and other tissue near the birthmark grow larger than the other normal limb.
Strawberry Birthmark Myths
Although not very common, some of the birth marks might point to a more serious conditions, which is probably the reason behind the African cultural belief that ibala may kill a baby if the mark grows and reaches the fontanel at the back of the baby’s head.
African culture also dictates that the baby that is born with ibala must be taken to the traditional healer, and often a new mother is to be advised of this fact by elders in the family. In fact, in a report that was done in Wits University in 2008, it says that ibala is one of the most common reasons why a baby will be taken to the traditional healer.
About 75% of the babies taken to traditional healers have either ibala or inyoni (which is characterized by severe gastro and a sunken fontanel). Both of the conditions are considered to make the child vulnerable to evil spirits, something only a traditional healer can combat, said the report.
The treatments for strawberry birthmark often included the application of enemas, as well as the cuts and lesions on the body into which are the shoe-polish-type mixture known as mohlabelo was rubbed. Because of the high rates of consultation with the traditional healers, it was urged that healthcare workers should stress the normality of the kinds of conditions to parents and reassure them that their children would likely be fine.
While the strawberry birthmark is generally harmless and may not leave you worried sick, it is also crucial to always consult the doctor if you suspect that anything is out of the ordinary. Treatment is also an option, especially for the unsightly birthmarks, and will be based on the type, severity as well as the position of the mark.
The maternal impression myth. The theory also suggests that if the woman has a strong emotion during pregnancy, her baby might be born with a birthmark. Not only that, but if the woman touches a particular location on the body while experiencing the emotion, that is where the birthmark can appear on her baby’s body. In Iranian lore, meanwhile, it is also believed that if a woman touches her stomach while watching a solar eclipse, her baby may well have a birthmark.
Strawberry Birthmark Causes
The cause of most birthmarks is unknown. Most of them are not in any way inherited. Most of the folk tales and myths talks of the causes of birthmarks, but none of the stories have been proven to explain the true causes of the birthmarks.
Physicians do not understand the cause of the strawberry nevus. According to researchers, one in 9 babies are born with the marking. Most develop while the baby is in the uterus, when the small veins and capillaries collect under the skin, thus creating a red patch.
In most of the cases, the cause of a birthmark is not established. They are not brought about by mothers who are doing something wrong during the pregnancy. These happen by chance.
The happening of birthmarks may be inherited. Some marks can be similar to marks on other family members, but most are not. Red birthmarks are brought about by an overgrowth of blood vessels. Blue or brown birthmarks are caused by pigment cells (melanocytes).
Strawberry Birthmark on Baby
Infantile haemangiomas are proliferative lesions that normally develop shortly after birth. They are different from vascular malformations, which are normally present at birth and are less common.
Over 75%of infantile haemangiomas happen on the head and the neck area. They grow to about 90% of maximum size in the first three months and then most stop growing at about 6 months. However, they may keep growing for up to 18 months.
About one in every ten babies experience a haemangioma. They are more common in the girls, premature babies, low birth weight babies as well as the multiple births, such as twins.
Most strawberry birthmark appear during the first few weeks and then grow rapidly for about 12 months (the proliferative phase). Then they start a process of shrinking, which might take one to eight years. The majority of haemangiomas only grow to the size of about 1 or 2 pence coin but a few can grow much bigger.
After that, they undergo regression or the involution. This may take as long as 3-10 years. Nearly all flat infantile haemangiomas eventually involute and disappear without treatment. However, regression of bulky haemangiomas tends to be incomplete, and they may leave an irregular atrophic (thin) scar or anetoderma (a dented scar) in at least 50% of cases.
Haemangiomas can appear anywhere on the body. Approximately 60% of haemangiomas occur in the head and neck area, 25% occur in the trunk and 15% in the arms or legs.
They can also appear on internal organs – this is more common when a child has multiple haemangiomas, and an ultrasound scan can confirm this if a child has 3 or more. The liver is most commonly affected, but the airway, heart and brain are occasionally affected.
Infantile strawberry birthmark is classified as superficial, deep or mixed lesions. They may be localised (confined to a small area) or segmental.
- The superficial infantile haemangiomas is also called capillary haemangioma, capillary naevus, strawberry haemangioma, strawberry naevus, and haemangioma simplex. The blood vessels in uppermost layers of the skin are much dilated.
- Deep infantile haemangiomas are also known as cavernous haemangiomas and are more deeply set in the dermis and subcutis. They appear as a bluish soft to firm swelling.
- Both types of haemangiomas may occur together in mixed angiomatous naevi. A strawberry naevus overlies a bluish swelling.
Segmental haemangiomas are very much serious than the localised haemangiomas.
- They occur at a younger age and grow up to ten times larger
- They are then more unsightly
- Other congenital anomalies can be related to facial segmental haemangiomas (PHACE syndrome). These include posterior fossa abnormalities, arterial abnormalities, cardiac abnormalities, and eye abnormalities.
- Likewise, segmental infantile haemangiomas involving the perineum can be associated with the pelvic congenital anomalies, the pelvis syndrome (perineal hemangioma with any of the following: the external genital malformations, vesicorenal abnormalities, imperforate anus, or skin tag)
A let-it-disappear-on-its-own approach is usually the best, unless the hemangioma also continues to grow, spontaneously bleeds or even becomes infected, or its location interferes with the baby’s vision or ability to eat. Then you should consult the doctor.
The simplest treatment is the compression and massage, which may speed its fading. More aggressive treatments include steroids, surgery, laser therapy, cryotherapy (freezing), and injection of hardening agents (such as those used to treat varicose veins).
If these interventions leave a scar, a plastic surgeon may be able to remove it. Talk to your pediatrician about your options and your concerns.
Although most of the infantile strawberry birthmark is not anything to worry about, about 12 percent of these are complex enough to warrant a visit to the specialist who is much more familiar with birthmarks and vascular anomalies and knows what to look for. If the child develops any of the marks or lumps, it’s best to have them checked by the pediatrician who will let you know whether you should see a specialist.
Infantile strawberry birthmark always grow rapidly for the first few weeks or months. They then enter the rest phase by 9 months of age. And they normally start to shrink (involution phase) around 2 years of age. As the lesion shrinks, the color can change from red to purple and then gray. It can take many years for the hemangioma to disappear completely. Larger lesions take a longer time to disappear and have a greater chance of scarring.
Strawberry Birthmark on Scalp
Hemangiomas often appear on the infant’s head and neck area or other areas that are easily noticed. This can be quite disconcerting to parents as they are frequently asked if their baby was injured or has a tumor.
In a more rare instances, the lesions may happen in locations that normally interfere with the normal function. Depending on the size, hemangiomas can interfere with the breathing, feeding or even urination. For instance, hemangiomas that involves the eyelid can interfere with the development of normal vision and should be treated as quickly as possible.
Strawberry Birthmark Bleeding
The most common complication of the hemangiomas is bleeding. Bleeding happens because the skin overlying the hemangioma is thinner and more friable than normal. If the skin dries out and cracks or is scratched, then the area may bleed or become ulcerated (breakdown of skin).
Bleeding may be stopped more effectively with the direct and continuous hand pressure over the hemangioma for five to 15 minutes. If bleeding is uncontrolled with hand pressure, then the child should be seen by a physician in the local emergency department. Ulcerations might be painful and very uncomfortable. They might also be infected.
Strawberry Birthmark Removal or How to Get Rid of
Physicians normally diagnose most strawberry marks by physical examination. In some cases, the child’s physician can recommend testing to ensure that the strawberry mark do not go deep into the skin. If the doctor suspects that the strawberry mark is deep, a cavernous hemangioma, or close to a major organ, he or she may require to remove it.
Superficial haemangiomas are very different to other types of the birthmark and easily recognizable, so no special diagnostic tests are usually needed.
A deep strawberry birthmark, the one near the eye or on internal organs usually requires ultrasound or MRI scans to confirm the diagnosis, location, and to check the depth of the affected blood vessels.
An estimated one in ten babies is born with the strawberry hemangioma. Some may get bigger for a while, but most of them eventually stop growing and then fade to a gray before disappearing completely. Some disappear by the time kids start the preschool, most of the rest go away by the elementary years, and virtually all are gone without a trace by adolescence.
Tests to determine the birth mark’s depth are:
- biopsy, or the tissue removal
- computed tomography scan
- magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan
Because strawberry birthmark is not very harmful and can fade with time, treatment is not necessarily much recommended. However, if the mark is in a visible area, such as the face, it may be a source of anxiety for the child. You may first try pressing on and then kneading the mark to fade it more quickly.
If this doesn’t work, the physician may apply steroid injections, laser removal, or cryotherapy—using liquid nitrogen to freeze the tissue—to fade the abnormal areas of skin. However, these procedures are not without their side effects. Side effects may include scarring and pain as the removed tissue heals.
In very severe cases, a plastic surgeon can be able to extract the entire strawberry birthmark. This is usually recommended only when the birthmark extends much deep into the skin.