Mongolian spots sound both frightening and fascinating at the same time. The name may sound exotic but the skin affliction is not. A skin condition that occurs in newborn babies, Mongolian spots are common and harmless. Read further to understand what Mongolian spots are and what you can do about them?
What Are Mongolian Spots?
Mongolian spots are a type of unusual appearing birthmarks, that are caused by dark pigments in the skin. These types of birthmarks that contain dark pigmentation are referred to as congenital dermal melanocytosis.
They occur during the development of the foetus inside the womb. Sometimes skin’s pigment gets lodged or trapped underneath the deeper layers of skin and appears as birthmarks once the baby is out of the womb. These underdeveloped dark pigments do not reach the skins surface and appear as blue, black or green marks. Mongolian spots are roundish bruise like marks. However unlike bruises, they do not cause any pain or discomfort to the baby and are not a result of any injury.
Mongolian spots are flat, irregular shaped marks. These spots often occur on the buttock and back region and equally among both genders. They can appear on the wrist, upper thighs, face and arms as well, although that is a rare occurrence. Mongolian spots vary in size (2 to 20 cm wide)
Pigmentation is more intense at age 1 year and it usually fades thereafter. It is rarely seen post age 6, but in some cases it may even be visible at teenage or in adults.
When Do Mongolian Spots Appear?
Mongolian spots appear at birth, but can also show up during the infant’s first/second month. These marks cannot be prevented and there is no scientific reason as to why some babies are born with them, while some are not.
What Causes Mongolian Spots?
Causes of Mongolian spots are unknown as there is no scientific evidence. They tend to appear at or shortly post birth.
These marks appear on darker skinned people as compared to light skinned people. Most common races include Native American, Hispanic, East Asian, Asian and African. These marks are not infectious, dangerous or further cause any complication to the individual’s health. Neither are they the symptom of any underlying health condition.
They can be mistaken for bruises or injury or child abuse, but that is far from true. There are many myths and cultural stories associated with Mongolian spots and why they appear, but none of them are supported by scientific reasoning.
What Are The Risk Factors?
Mongolian spots do not pose any major risk to the health or physique. There are no known medical risks that can occur due to Mongolian spots and most babies outgrow these birthmarks eventually. They are not cancerous or indicative of any health disorder. Extensive mongolian spots can be accompanied with inborn disorders of metabolism, and also co-exist with vascular or pigmented birthmarks.
Some unusual diseases can occur due to Mongolian spots, that include –
- Niemann-Pick disease
- Hunter’s syndrome
- Hurler’s disease
Treatments For Mongolian Spots
Mongolian spots fade away naturally without the intervention of any treatment. However, if the marks persist into adulthood, there are cosmetic treatments that can successfully remove Mongolian spots.
Laser therapy has been proven to remove Mongolian spots effectively without further complications. A unique type of Laser called Q-swithced Alexandrite Laser is considered the best method to remove Mongolian spots from skin type 1, 2 and 3 from Fitzpatrick’s scale. But for Indian skin types (Fitzpatrick 4,5 and 6) Q Switched Nd:YAG laser device (USFDA approved) may also be used to fade away the dark mongolian spots. If the treatment is done before the individual turns 25, then the skin darkening side effects are minimized.
You can get rid of these unsightly mongolian spots and achieve flawless, smooth and blemish-free skin if these persist beyond preeten age. Check with your dermatologist for more insights.