cafe-au-lait spots

Cafe-au-lait spots.

Birthmarks are skin blemishes, usually congenital. There are two main types: pigmented nevuses, or moles, which are usually brown or black and may be raised or flat; and vascular nevuses, local growths of small blood vessels, such as the "strawberry mark" and the "port-wine stain." Although harmless, they are sometimes removed for cosmetic reasons or if they show malignant tendencies. See also tumor.


Symptoms of birthmarks

Each type of birthmark has its own appearance:


  • Cafe-au-lait spots are light tan, the color of coffee with milk.
  • Moles are small clusters of colored skin cells.
  • Mongolian spots (also called Mongolian blue spots) are usually bluish or bruised-looking. They usually appear over the lower back or buttocks, but can also appear in other areas, including the trunk or arms.

    Other symptoms of birthmarks:


  • Abnormally dark or light skin
  • Contain hair
  • Skin lesion
  • Skin lumps
  • Textured – smooth, flat, raised, or wrinkled


    Treatment varies depending on the type of birthmark and related conditions. Usually no treatment is needed for the birthmark itself.


    Large birthmarks that affect your appearance and self-esteem may be covered with special cosmetics.


    Moles may be removed surgically if they affect your appearance or have an increased cancer risk. Discuss your options with your doctor to decide how and when to remove any moles.