In the past, birthmarks \u2014 moles, colored patches, and other marks on the skin that are present at birth \u00a0\u2014 were said to be the result of something a baby’s mother ate or did while she was pregnant. There’s no truth to this old wives’ tale.\nIn fact, there’s nothing we can do to prevent birthmarks from forming, and these typically harmless marks often disappear on their own as a child gets older. If you or your child has a birthmark that bothers you, it may be possible to get it removed. To understand your options, it helps to be able to differentiate between the different types of birthmarks.\nTypes of Birthmarks\nMost birthmarks fall into one of two categories: pigmented (usually shades of brown in color) and vascular (red or purple-colored).\nPigmented marks\nThese birthmarks occur when you have more color, or pigment, in one area of the skin. Pigmented marks include:\n\nMoles.\u00a0Birthmarks that you are born with (as opposed to those that develop as you age).\nCaf\u00e9 au lait spots. French for “coffee with milk,” these light-brown patches may fade as you get older but don’t usually disappear completely.\nMongolian spots. These grayish-blue spots can look like bruises, particularly on darker skin, and tend to appear on the back and buttocks. They may or may not fade over time.\n\nRed (vascular) marks\nThese birthmarks are caused by small clumps of blood vessels in the skin. They include:\n\nSalmon patches. Flat, pinkish-red patches on the face or neck that are sometimes colloquially called “angel kisses” or “stork bites”.\nHemangiomas. When these birthmarks occur on the skin, they’re called strawberry hemangiomas because they are bright red and can resemble this fruit. When they form under the skin, they tend to develop as a child ages and can appear dark blue. Hemangiomas typically shrink over time. These types of marks can sometimes affect the deeper structures of the skin, so it’s important to have these evaluated by your pediatrician or dermatologist.\nPort wine stains. These pink, red, or purple marks often appear on the face, trunk and extremities. They don’t go away as a child ages \u2014 in fact, they tend to get bigger or may develop nodules within them.\n\nBirthmark Treatment Options\nYour pediatrician will evaluate any birthmarks after your child’s birth. In general, pigmented birthmarks usually aren’t treated, but vascular marks \u2014 with the exception of salmon patches \u2014 can often be treated or removed.\nLasers are typically used to treat port wine stains, while certain medications can treat large hemangiomas. Be sure to contact your doctor if a birthmark bleeds, hurts, itches, or becomes infected, or if a mole changes in color, size, or shape.