Medical Definition of Birthmark

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Birthmark: A persistent visible mark on the skin that is evident at birth or shortly thereafter. A birthmark is often due to a nevus (a mole) or an hemangioma (a localized collection of small blood vessels).

Birthmarks that are pink or red are commonly capillary hemangiomas -- collections of tiny blood vessels -- that are most evident when the baby cries. Common locations are on the midforehead, the eyelids, just above the nose, between the nose and the upper lip, and the so-called "stork bite" on the nape of the neck. These marks generally become harder to see or disappear entirely within a few years.

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Reviewed on 12/11/2018

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