When it comes to newborns, rash-like marks on their skin are a common occurrence. But luckily most of these birthmarks tend to be harmless and some disappear on their own. Salmon patches are the most common vascular birthmark and are sometimes known as Angel Kisses or Stork Bites, depending on the part of the body they appear.
All parents, especially new parents, worry about salmon patches. Are they harmful to the baby? Will they last a lifetime? Can they be removed? Hopefully this article will answer all your questions and concerns about salmon patches.
What are Salmon patches?
Salmon patches are dilated capillaries inside the skin. They are the remaining spots of the way blood vessels looked during fetal circulation and are commonly found at the back of the neck “stork bite” or between the eyes “angel kisses.” They are small, flat patches of pink, dark, or red color with poorly defined borders. The colors of the salmon patch will depend on your skin tone.
Birthmarks appear on both white and dark skin infants. In black babies the mark is more of a darker shade and in white babies it’s more pink or red in color.
Before birth, all children have salmon patches, but by the time baby is born they have often disappeared. If you’re baby has a salmon patch it is not alone. It os believed around 40% of newborns will still have visible salmon patches. With salmon patches being the most common type of vascular birthmark, it’s quite noticeable to parents – especially when the baby is excited or cries.
Angel Kisses (salmon patches on the face) usually disappear within a short period. Stork Bites (back of the neck) seem to be persistent in around 50% of cases.
There isn’t an exact diagnostic test for angel kisses or stork bites birthmarks but doctors examine newborns during the routine physical examination after birth and they will identify the mark.
What are the Causes of Salmon Patches?
In clinical terms, the patches happen from dilated or stretched blood vessels of a particular area, thus when the baby’s muscles are contract or if the baby cries the underlying enlarged or stretched blood vessels get more prominent.
What are the Symptoms of Salmon Patches?
The signs of salmon parches on newborns depend on the location of the patches and their appearance. The marks usually appear to be flat, dull and pink in mostly irregular shapes. Their natural areas are over the eyelids or between the eyebrows, the nape of the neck and around the nose or mouth.
Sometimes if the baby is excited, upset or is crying you may notice a slight difference on the patches, which may have become darker looking or even redder. This shouldn’t alarm you. When the baby is upset or excited the heart beats faster and pumps more blood to the blood vessels more quickly. This causes the change in color.
Should I See a Doctor?
Seeking medical care is always essential for newborns if you notice any change in their skin, body or change in their mood.
If you are sure that the patch on your child skin is a birthmark, there isn’t any reason to seek medical care. Birthmarks are not harmful. But if you are unsure, or the patch has only appeared recently then we would strongly recommend seeing a doctor/ dermatologist.
What Are Ways To Deal With Salmon Patches?
Newborn’s skin naturally changes and thickens as the infant develops. The birthmark mark will often get less and less noticeable as the baby gets older. Treatment for salmon patches isn’t necessary, spots on the face usually disappear within the first or second year after birth.
Stork bite birthmarks are the ones that are the most likely to remain. Although they often become less visible as the hair of the newborn grows.
Some parents may not to like their appearance, especially if they are very large or remain longer than expected.
The best option for reducing the size and appearance of the stork bites is the Pulsed Dye Laser Treatment. This targets the blood vessels underneath the skin that causes the marks. Laser treatment can cause discomfort so if you decide to have this procedure done it’s best to wait until the child gets older.
Please remember, salmon patches aren’t contagious, or harmful. Thus it’s not that important to remove them because they don’t harm the child or anybody else. Remember, another name for birthmark is beauty mark, so leaving it as it is may be a beauty bonus.
When Should I Notify a Doctor?
The skin of a salmon patch should behave just like the rest of the child’s skin. However, if the area around or on the salmon patch bleeds, develops cracks, or the area becomes more raised or darker please contact a dermatologist or doctor for further advice