- When to See a Doctor
- Related Resources
What are Mongolian spots?
Skin color in babies often changes depending on the environment and health. Other factors that influence a baby's skin color include the baby's age, race or ethnic group, temperature, and whether or not the baby is crying. While some of these differences are just temporary, others can be permanent like certain birthmarks.
There are two main types of birthmarks. First are vascular birthmarks that are caused by abnormal blood vessels in or under the skin. They are often red, pink, purple, or blue in color. Second are pigmented birthmarks that are caused by groups of pigment cells and are usually brown or tan colored. Although vascular birthmarks usually appear in the face, head, and neck area, both types of birthmarks can occur anywhere, including inside the body.
Birthmarks are made up of abnormal color cells or blood vessels. They present as areas of discolored and/or raised skin. A baby who is born with a birthmark is completely normal and healthy. The only time it is considered an issue that needs medical attention is if the birthmark prevents your baby from living comfortably.
Mongolian spots or slate gray nevi are a kind of birthmarks that are flat, blue, or blue-gray. They appear at birth or in the first few weeks of life. Most birthmarks go away with time, although some will persist until puberty. In such a case, it is likely that the person will remain with the mark for life.
Apart from Mongolian spots, there are other types of colored birthmarks. Café-au-lait spots are coffee-colored skin patches. They are common among many children, but if your child is already five years old and has more than six of these patches, consult your doctor as it could be a sign of neurofibromatosis, a condition that causes tumors to grow in the nerves.
Symptoms of Mongolian spots on babies
Mongolian spots are usually:
- Blue or blue-gray spots on the back, buttocks, base of spine, shoulders, or other body areas
- Flat with irregular shape and unclear edges
- Normal in skin texture
- Two to eight centimeters wide, or larger
Mongolian blue spots are sometimes mistaken for bruises. The birthmarks are not associated with any other medical symptoms or illnesses and do not cause any pain. Their color is most intense at the age of one year and gradually fades afterward. It is barely noticeable after the age of six years.
Causes of Mongolian spots on babies
Slate gray nevi spots appear when melanocytes or cells that produce melanin remain in the deeper skin layers during the development of a child in the womb. It is not yet known why this happens. These spots can appear on anyone, but they are more common among Asian, Native American, Hispanic, East Indian, and African children.
IMAGESBrowse our medical image collection of allergic skin disorders such as psoriasis and dermatitis and more caused by allergies See Images
When to see the doctor for Mongolian spots
Normally, Mongolian spots will not need to be taken to the doctor. They are not painful, do not make your child uncomfortable, and are not even noticeable to the one having them unless they are told. Doctors think these spots are harmless. However, some birthmarks are accompanied by other conditions.
Mongolian spots are present at birth or soon after so your doctor will notice them early. If you ask your doctor about the spots, they may mention congenital dermal melanocytosis in reference to the condition. If you are concerned that the mark on your child is not a Mongolian spot, consult the doctor. Other things to look out for are an enlarging or growing mark, one that is close to the mouth, or if it starts to change shape or color.
Diagnosis of Mongolian spots on babies
Mongolian spots may resemble bruises but they are not. They are birthmarks. Your doctor will ask about your family history, seeking to establish whether other family members had Mongolian spots at birth. In some cases, doctors have found up to 13 people in a single-family born with the birthmarks.
Treatment for Mongolian spots
Birthmarks do not require any treatment as most fade away with age. Since Mongolian spots usually appear in places where clothes will easily cover-up, they are not an issue needing much attention. It is advisable to talk openly and in a simple manner about a birthmark with your child. It will make them feel comfortable and more likely to accept the mark as a part of themselves. Doctors recommend early documentation of Mongolian spots in a baby. This reduces the chances of suspecting abuse on a child when seeking medical attention for these marks later in life.
Latest Health News
- Two Natural and Powerful Tools to Manage Blood Sugar
- Severe Food Allergies Can Traumatize Kids, But New Program Helps Ease Fears
- Coldplay Suspends Tour Over Chris Martin's 'Serious Lung Infection'
- Firefighters Show Fasting Diets Can Work for Shift Workers
- Move to Zero-Emission Trucks Could Save 66,000 U.S. Lives
- More Health News »
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Iranian Journal of Pediatrics: "Extensive Mongolian Spots with Autosomal Dominant Inheritance."
Johns Hopkins Medicine: "Birthmarks in Infants."
Johns Hopkins Medicine: "Neurofibromatosis."
MedlinePlus: "Mongolian blue spots."
Pregnancy, Birth and Baby: "Birthmarks."
Mount Sinai: "Mongolian blue spots."
The Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne: "Congenital dermal melanocytosis."
Tokyo Medical University: "Mongolian Spot."
World Journal of Clinical Cases: "Mongolian spots: How important are they?"
Top What Causes Mongolian Spots on Baby Related Articles
Skin Diseases: 15 Uncommon Skin ConditionsGenetic illnesses, health conditions, or infections cause your skin to react in unusual ways. Learn about these conditions and what they can do to skin.
Babies QuizTake the Babies Quiz to learn what milestones and developments you can expect from your baby’s first year.
Baby's 1st Yr SlideshowWhat developmental milestones can you expect to see during baby's first year? Find out when babies learn to smile, laugh, crawl, and talk.
Baby Skin Care: Tips to Keep Newborn’s Skin HealthyBaby skin care products can help with peeling, rashes, baby acne, and dryness that can develop on a newborn baby's skin. Develop a baby skin care routine to pamper your baby’s skin.
BirthmarkA birthmark is any abnormal mark, spot, or bump that is present in or around the time of birth on the skin of an infant. Types of birthmarks include cafe au lait marks, Mongolian spots, strawberry marks, and others. Depending on the birthmark type, birthmarks can be removed by scalpel surgery, lasers, and rarely radiation.
How Can I Treat My Baby's Rashes Naturally?A baby may get rashes due to numerous causes. Try to pin down the cause of rashes in the case of your baby. Is it a diaper rash? Is it a reaction to the baby oil? Is it eczema due to dry skin? Is it a viral infection?
RashThe word "rash" means an outbreak of red bumps on the body. The way people use this term, "a rash" can refer to many different skin conditions. The most common of these are scaly patches of skin and red, itchy bumps or patches all over the place.
Skin Picture QuizCould you identify a scabies infestation? Take the Skin Diseases Pictures Quiz and learn to identify common conditions that plague human skin.
Kids' Skin ProblemsWhat are the most common skin rashes in children? Learn about childhood eczema, ring worm, chicken pox and more. Get the facts on treatment for childhood skin problems.