INSIDER Magazine: What Birthmarks Are and How You Get Them

If you don’t have a birthmark, you probably know someone who does. These unique skin features can look like freckles, moles, scars, or even dabs of paint. But what exactly are they?

INSIDER turned to dermatologists and other doctors to answer just that.

There are two main types of birthmarks

There are two main categories of birthmarks: vascular birthmarks and pigmented birthmarks. “Vascular birthmarks are an overgrowth of small skin blood vessels that end up giving red, pink, or blue color to the skin area involved,” family medicine physician Dr. Viquar Mundozie told INSIDER.

The second type of birthmark is called a pigmented mark. Unlike vascular marks, which are caused by having more blood vessels than normal in a certain area, pigmented birthmarks have to do with the distribution of color in your skin.

“Pigmented birthmarks are due to over-secretion of the skin pigment melanin or clustering of pigment cells called melanocytes in the area involved,” Mundozie explained. “This gives the mark an appearance that is different than the rest of the skin.”

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