V birthmark on forehead

Overview

Salmon patch is the name given to a very common group of birthmarks seen in babies. The birthmarks are caused by expansions (dilations) in tiny blood vessels called capillaries. When a salmon patch occurs on the face, it is often called an angel kiss, and when it occurs on the back of the neck, it is known as a stork bite. These types of birthmarks are very common, and at least 7 in 10 infants will be born with one or more salmon patches. Angel kisses tend to fade by age 1–2 (although some parents report that, for years, when their child cries, the angel kiss temporarily darkens and becomes apparent again), and stork bites tend to not go away at all but are usually covered by the hair on the back of the head. Salmon patches are different from port-wine stains (discussed as a separate topic) in that salmon patches do not grow larger or darker and are not associated with any syndromes involving the brain or development. Salmon patches are always noncancerous. It is sometimes difficult to tell the difference between a salmon patch and a port-wine stain.
In the past, port-wine stains and salmon patches were considered to be variations of the same kind of birthmark, but now it is now known that port-wine stains are truly malformations of capillaries and will never improve on their own, while salmon patches are temporary dilatations (expansions) of capillaries that do typically improve on their own.

Cult Classics: The Rocky Horror Picture Show

Lili Safon kicks off our new series on cult films with a look at the genre’s most iconic entry. The Rocky Horror Picture Show screens every Friday and Saturday night at Chelsea Cinemas for $9.

In 11th grade, I lost my Rocky Horror Picture Show virginity. Like many “virgins” before me, I was forced to sport a red “V” on my forehead painted on by lipstick. I was aware of all the infamous Rocky Horror traditions, such as throwing toast and taunting the characters, but I had no idea just how extensive the ritual was.

While I have not had a chance to return to a screening of this cult musical, I feel a sense of community any time I see the iconic red lips of the opening number “Science Fiction / Double Feature.” Since its first midnight showing in 1976, The Rocky Horror Picture Show has maintained a faithful cult following. Throughout the years, the community surrounding this film has provided a sense of security for those who don’t quite fit into the classic Dick and Jane relationship. In other words, my Gay-Straight Alliance friends and I were considered the “normal” people there.

The film centers on a naïve couple, Brad and Janet (played by Barry Bostwick and Susan Sarandon), as they break out of their stereotypical relationship and experience a sexual awakening with the help of Dr. Frank-N-Furter (Tim Curry). This “Sweet Transvestite” is conducting an experiment to rival Dr. Frankenstein’s. However, his creation is not necessarily in the name of science; in fact, he is making a man with “blonde hair and a tan” by the name of Rocky. Needless to say, sexual chaos ensues. But nothing onscreen is as shocking as the mayhem within the theater. The raucous audience yells at the screen, calling Brad and Janet “Asshole” and “Slut,” and dances along to “Time Warp.” The script of jeers and puns has remained ostensibly the same since my own mother went as a teenager. Some locations, such as the one I went to, even have actors who mime the story along with the film. This only adds to the chaotic party atmosphere.

But what has kept Rocky Horror from becoming archaic? While it does have devoted fans, the film itself is not considered fine cinema. In fact, it bombed at the box office when it premiered in 1975. The true heart of the film, its unabashed acceptance of unconventional sexuality, not only won over the original cult audience, but has also kept the following alive for years. As gender roles continue to be negotiated politically and socially, this film offers alternatives for those who want more. Even beyond that, the cult of Rocky Horror has created a world where everyone is accepted, where the abnormal is normal. It is the place where any outsider belongs. As Dr. Frank-N-Furter famously says, “Don’t dream it, be it.” Every audience member is encouraged to be who he or she truly is, whether their identity conforms to the gender stereotypes of everyday life or the less conventional ones found onscreen.

Written by: Lili Safon on October 18, 2012.
Last revised by: Double Exposure, our reviewer, on January 14, 2013.

Overview


Birthmarks

Vascular birthmarks

Some of the most common types of vascular birthmarks include:

Salmon patch (stork mark)

Credit:

DR P. MARAZZI/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Salmon patches are flat red or pink patches that can appear on a baby’s eyelids, neck or forehead at birth.

They’re the most common type of vascular birthmark and occur in around half of all babies.

Most salmon patches will fade completely within a few months, but if they occur on the forehead they may take up to four years to disappear. Patches on the back of the neck can last longer.

Salmon patches are often more noticeable when a baby cries because they fill with blood and become darker.

Infantile haemangioma

Credit:

Alamy Stock Photo

Infantile haemangiomas, also known as strawberry marks, are raised marks on the skin that are usually red. They can appear anywhere on the body.

Sometimes infantile haemangiomas occur deeper in the skin, in which case the skin can look blue or purple.

Haemangiomas are common, particularly in girls, and affect around 5% of babies soon after birth. They rapidly increase in size for the first six months before eventually shrinking and disappearing by around seven years of age.

Haemangiomas that get bigger rapidly, or those that interfere with vision or feeding, may need to be treated.

Capillary malformation (port wine stain)

Credit:

Alamy Stock Photo

Capillary malformation, also known as port wine stains, are flat red or purple marks that affect a very small number of newborn babies. They can vary in size, from a few millimetres to several centimetres in diameter.

Port wine stains often affect one side of the body and usually occur on the face, chest and back (although they can occur anywhere).

They tend to be sensitive to hormones and may become more noticeable around puberty, pregnancy and the menopause. Most are permanent and may deepen in colour over time.

V Shape Birthmark On Center Of Forehead

I am 28 years old and I was born in an Asian country where the majority of people practice Buddism. In my family however we respect all religions equally. My parents have statues of Father Jesus, Mother Mary and Buddas in seperate sections in my home. We go to the Buddest temple as often as we go to the Catholic church. I pray occasionally because I am not very religious.

I was born with a big letter V birthmark on the center of my forehead starting from the middle of my 2 eyebrows go all the way up to the hair lines. My mom said that I am a child of Budda because she prayed to get pregnant at a Buddist temple near the sea. I am very sensitive to spiritual things and oftenly I attracts both good & bad spirits. I have dreams of seeing myself as a different person living, fighting and dying in a different world/city/place meeting with different people and some of them are people that I meet in this life.

The more I grow up, the more my birthmark becomes lighter. However it gets very visible (pinkish red color) when I get very sick or very angry.

When I was 15 years old, I saw a women wearing all white clothes for a nun in my dream. She said: “This is me. I am Mother Teresa.” It hadn’t known about that name before I got that dream so I was suprised. I asked my grandma & mom & they said it was a sign that I need to practice Catholic. But I did not do it simply because I was still a child and I did not know anything better.

When I was 24 and desperately looking for a job in a new city, I saw the image of Father Jesus’s face created by my fingerprint shown on my iphone’s screen while the screen turned black. I told my grandma & my mom again and they again reminded me to practice Catholic or at least going to the church. Soon after that I got a job even without me going to the Church. But I still highly respect all religions equally.

When I was 28, I unexpectedly got very sick after attending a funeral. Knowing that I am very sensitive to spiritual things, my parents always kept me away from attending such events. However I decided to come to this one to pay my respect to my coworker. I asked for help so my Christian coworker took me to a Christian church to pray and help me cleanse bad energy. She made a cross on my forehead with a yellowish color oil from a crystal bottle. It was supposed to bring me blessings. We prayed together and I felt much better when I left.

After leaving the church, I took the train planning to also visit a Buddist temple because I always wanted to show my equal respect to religions that I am familiar with. As I was walking I visited an unfamiliar church which I later found out it was a Catholic one. I normally avoided going to the Churches overall by myself simply because I do not know what to pray or how to pray in there. But something made me going inside this time just by myself. The Church was empty because it was quite early for the praying time started at 5:30pm. I wanted to leave but there were sounds, noises, and random unexplainable things that happened to me to keep me stay until other Catholic people came almost an hour later. Somehow I was accompanied by a Dominican woman who shared with me her similar stories that she also saw signs happened to her before. I ended up staying in that Church until the end and the Father gave me my blessing my making a cross on my forehead.

And only at the end, I found out it was the Church of Saint Teresa. And I did not even know there were even 2 Saint Teresa. But I do not know who Saint showed up in my dream 18 years ago.

Right now I am very confused. I do not know what religion I should practice. And what is the meaning of the letter V birthmark on my forehead?

What to know about birthmarks

Share on PinterestLaser surgery is an option for treating a birthmark.

A significant number of birthmarks fade away without treatment.

However, if the birthmark causes health problems, or if a person feels strongly about getting rid of it, a doctor may recommend treatment.

Treatment can sometimes be painful, and it is not always effective. Unless a birthmark causes problems with sight, feeding, hearing, or breathing, caregivers should try to weigh the potential risks of treatment with the anticipated benefits for the child. Not all birthmarks are treatable.

A doctor can usually make a fairly accurate prediction of how a child’s birthmark will progress. If they believe that a birthmark requires treatment, they may suggest one of the following options:

  • Propranolol: A doctor may prescribe this for an infant to take by mouth. It helps prevent the further development of hemangiomas by narrowing the existing blood vessels and preventing new ones from forming.
  • Corticosteroids: Doctors can inject corticosteroids into some types of birthmark, or an infant can take them orally. This can help shrink certain birthmarks or prevent any further growth.
  • Interferon alpha-12: If a corticosteroid does not have the desired effect, a doctor may suggest this medication instead.
  • Laser therapy: Doctors commonly use this type of therapy for port-wine stains and other birthmarks that are close to the skin’s surface.
  • Surgery: If other therapies are not effective and the birthmark is causing a medical problem, a doctor may recommend surgery.

Treatment options depend on several factors, including the type, location, and severity of the birthmark.

However, the majority of birthmarks do not cause health problems and will fade over time.

Q:

Is birthmark removal covered by insurance if there is no medical risk?

A:

Health insurance does not typically cover birthmark removal for cosmetic reasons alone. There may be exceptions for certain large, prominent birthmarks in locations such as the face.

As many birthmarks change during childhood, often becoming smaller or lighter, waiting until adolescence or adulthood to decide on cosmetic treatment may be the best option.

Karen Gill, MD Answers represent the opinions of our medical experts. All content is strictly informational and should not be considered medical advice.

Birthmarks: Overview

What exactly is a birthmark?

If your baby has a birthmark, you’ll likely see a spot, patch, or lump that looks different from the rest of your baby’s skin. You may see this when your baby is born. Some birthmarks appear shortly after birth.

Birthmarks come in many shapes and colors. You may see a flat or raised mark. It may the size of a pinhead or cover a large area of your child’s skin. Most birthmarks fall somewhere in between. A birthmark can be pink, red, tan, brown, or any other color. Some look like a bruise. Others look like a stain on the skin.

Some birthmarks are common. It’s estimated that between 3% and 10% of babies are born with a type of birthmark called a hemangioma. Other birthmarks, such a port-wine stain, are less common.

Salmon patches

This harmless birthmark will fade with time and tends to be most noticeable when your baby cries or becomes too warm.

Certain types of birthmarks, such as a salmon patch or hemangioma, often fade on their own. Others, such a mole, tend to remain on the skin for life.

Yes, a mole is a birthmark when a baby is born with it, or it appears on the skin shortly after birth.

View pictures of different birthmarks

Why a dermatologist should examine your baby’s birthmark

One thing that most birthmarks have in common is that they’re harmless. Yet, if you see a birthmark on your child’s skin, it’s wise to have a dermatologist examine it.

What you think is a birthmark could be the first sign of a skin disease.

It’s also possible that your baby has a harmless birthmark that will grow quickly. Seeing a birthmark grow quickly can be scary. Knowing this will happen and learning what to watch for can help put your mind at ease.

Some birthmarks are a sign that something is going on inside your baby’s body.

By making an appointment with a board-certified dermatologist as soon as you notice the birthmark, you’ll know what to expect. A dermatologist can also tell you whether treatment is recommended, be it a birthmark or skin condition.

Related AAD resources

  • Ask a Dermatologist: Are there different types of birthmarks?

  • Heart medicine can clear strawberry birthmarks

  • Hiding child’s skin condition with makeup may bood self-esteem

Image
Image used with permission of the American Academy of Dermatology National Library of Dermatologic Teaching Slides.

American Academy of Dermatology, “Red, white and brown: Defining characteristics of common birthmarks will determine type and timing of treatment.” News release issued Feb 4, 2011.

Anderson KR, Schoch JJ. “Increasing incidence of infantile hemangiomas (IH) over the past 35 years: Correlation with decreasing gestational age at birth and birth weight.” J Am Acad Dermatol. 2016 Jan;74(1):120-6.

Del Pozzo-Magana B, Dizon M, et al. “Newborn skin disease, Part 1: Birthmarks.” In: Society for Pediatric Dermatology and the American Academy of Dermatology’s Basic Dermatology Curriculum. Peer review by: Maguiness S. May 2016.

Pigmented Birthmark

There are many kinds of pigmented birthmarks. Common types include:

  • Café-au-lait spots. These marks are the color of coffee with milk and can appear anywhere on the body. Your child may have one or more café-au-lait spots. These birthmarks are generally not a problem. If several café-au-lait spots are larger than 0.5 centimeters in younger children or 1.5 centimeters in older children, a doctor should evaluate them. This can be a sign of neurofibromatosis, a genetic disorder that causes abnormal growth of nerve tissues.
  • Moles. Also called nevi, moles usually remain for your child’s lifetime. Large or giant moles are more likely to develop into skin cancer. Moles can be tan, pink, brown or black in color. They may be flat or raised. Some moles may have hair growing out of them.
  • Mongolian spots. These are flat bluish-gray patches of skin usually found on the buttocks or lower back. These spots usually fade on their own by the time your child begins school. Mongolian spots are more common in people with darker skin, such as children of African, American Indian, Asian, Hispanic and southern European backgrounds.

Symptoms of pigmented birthmarks depend on what kind of birthmark it is. Symptoms can include birthmarks that are:

  • Flat or raised
  • Have regular or irregular borders
  • Are different colors (brown, tan, black, blue, purple)

Pigmented birthmarks generally do not cause health problems, but larger birthmarks, or those that may be irregular or rapidly changing, may need to be checked for early signs of skin cancer.

Diagnosis of Pigmented Birthmark

If your child shows signs of a pigmented birthmark, a pediatric dermatologist can perform a physical exam to make a diagnosis and look for any concerning signs.

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