Angels are in much of our folklore regarding humans and health. If you think your baby has an angel kiss birthmark or have been diagnosed with such, it is nothing to fear, and will most likely fade. While common, this birthmark is unique to each baby.
This birthmark, which usually presents itself as a flat red or salmon-hued patch with jagged edges, is very common and does not cause harm to the child. In fact, it can be present in the majority of newborn babies. It can be found over two locations on the face:
- In between the eyebrows
- On one or both eyelids
- The birthmark may also extend from between the eyebrows to the forehead.
The appearance of this type of birthmark often appears as a heart shape or looks like wings.
The table below shows examples of common shapes and placements of these birthmarks.
There is nothing a parent can do to prevent his or her child from getting this birthmark, nor can it be diagnosed before the child is born. Birthmarks are a common skin discoloration and are not caused by anything the mother did or ate during pregnancy as 'old wives' tales might suggest. Vascular birthmarks, such as the angel kiss, are caused by red blood vessels. They are not inherited and are harmless.
This birthmark is actually blood vessels, more specifically capillaries, showing through the baby's skin. During development, all babies have these blood vessels present near the skin. The vessels causing the birth mark are simply ones that remained longer than needed for one reason or another. Since blood vessels cause it, the birthmark can appear to get darker when there is greater blood flow to the region, such as when the baby is fussy or upset. This does not mean it will remain that color.
Another name a parent may hear a doctor use is macular stain. A macular stain is the most common type of vascular birthmark and appears in light, flat, red patches. They are also referred to as salmon spots.
Changes After Birth
As development continues outside of the womb, most babies lose the birthmark on their face within their first year of life. There are a few that will retain the birthmarks for a longer period.
Even when the birthmark remains, there is very little chance that it will become darker over time, as is possible with a port wine stain. The faint red or pink color in an angel kiss is usually not very noticeable and parents need not worry about the social impact.
Parents who notice birthmarks on their babies should have a doctor look at them to ensure that they are not harmful. They should not try to diagnose them themselves. Since the angel kiss is so common, most any pediatrician should be able to diagnose it right away during a well baby visit without having to do a biopsy or any other type of test.
One difference parents should be aware of between this type of birthmark and a more serious one like hemangioma is that this type of birthmark is always flat. It is possible that other birthmarks that are raised may need more interventions at a later date, even if only for cosmetic reasons.
When to Seek Medical Help
As with any unknown or new spot on the skin, a doctor should look at the birthmark as soon as it appears to verify what it is and if treatment should be administered. While angel kisses are generally nothing to worry about and have no effect on your baby's health, you should notify your doctor if you notice bleeding, signs of infection, or if your baby is showing signs that it is painful or bothersome.
No treatment is required to remove the birthmark when the child is a baby or infant. It's best to wait since it is very likely that it will disappear on its own. These birthmarks are harmless and do not cause pain, allergic reactions, or increased skin cancer risk.
Why Is It Called An Angel Kiss?
There are many interpretations of the different meanings of birthmarks. Many explain them as results of the mother's cravings or unfulfilled wishes while pregnant, such as a craving for strawberries would produce a red birthmark on the baby. Regardless of the translation, they all seem to filter back to what the mother did or did not do, with the exception of the angel kiss.
It is said that this birthmark received its name because an angel kissed the baby either before or as it was born. What a wonderful thought! Your precious little angel was kissed by an angel before birth.
Stork bites are similar to angel kisses as they are both vascular birthmarks. They can show up anywhere on the face or neck and are darker than angel kisses. Stork bites are more likely to remain until adulthood. There is very little chance that it will become darker over time like is possible with a port wine stain.
If it becomes bothersome in adulthood, have it checked by a dermatologist and ask for ways to fade it or to remove it. They are commonly removed by a laser treatment.
To Hide Or Not To Hide?
Birthmarks are nothing to be upset about and can change color or disappear over time. They can be hidden by headbands on infants or by bangs if they do not go away in the first year. Whether you believe in the folklore or not, your baby's angel kiss can be considered a mark of their uniqueness.