Last Reviewed: April 2017
Watch a slideshow that explains common birthmarks.
Source: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research
What Your Newborn Will Look Like
Birthmarks are marks on a baby's skin that are noticeable at birth or appear shortly afterwards.
Birthmarks can be flat, raised, different colours or have regular or irregular borders. No one knows why birthmarks appear, and there's nothing you can do during pregnancy to prevent them.
Most birthmarks are harmless, but some can be related to health problems. Visit your family doctor if a mark or blemish appears on your baby's skin.
Types of birthmarks
The most common birthmarks are either vascular or pigmented.
Vascular birthmarks are related to blood vessels under the skin.
A hemangioma appears as a bright red, raised blotch. It can be as small as a kernel of corn or as large as a baseball.
- Are usually found on the head or neck, but can be anywhere on the body.
- Will generally disappear between five to ten years of age.
- Are sometimes not visible until a few days or weeks after birth.
Port wine stain
A port wine stain appears as a large, flat, dark red or purple spot - like wine was spilled on part of the body.
Port wine stains:
- Are usually found on the face, neck, arms and legs.
- Can grow and darken as a child develops.
- Don't fade or go away.
Salmon patches/stork bites/angel kisses
Salmon patches (also known as stork bites or angel kisses) appear as faint, irregular-shaped red patches.
- Are the most common type of vascular birthmark.
- Are usually found on the forehead, eyelids, back of neck or head, nose and upper lip.
- Usually disappear by one to two years of age.
Pigmented birthmarks are related to the colouring of the skin.
Café au lait spots and Monogolian spots are the most common types of pigmented birthmarks.
Café au lait spots
Café au lait spots
Café au lait spots appear as patches the colour of coffee with milk (tan). They can appear anywhere on the body and don't fade or disappear.
More café au lait spots can develop as a child gets older. A baby with more than one café au lait spot should be examined by a doctor.
A Monogolian spot appears as a greenish-blue mark that looks like a bruise under the skin.
Monogolian spots more often appear on the buttocks or lower back of babies of African, Asian, Hispanic and biracial descent and usually fade within a couple years.