Birthmarks are abnormal skin discolorations in spots that are either present at birth or appear shortly thereafter. They can be flat or slightly raised from the skin. They can be any number of colors, including red, brown, black, tan, pink, white or purple. Birthmarks are generally harmless. There are two major categories of birthmarks: pigmented birthmarks and red birthmarks.
Pigmented Birthmarks can grow anywhere on the skin and at any time. They are usually black, brown or skin-colored and appear singly or in groups. They can be moles (congenital nevi) that are present at birth, Mongolian spots, which look like bluish bruises and appear more frequently on people with dark skin, or café-au-lait spots that are flat, light brown or tan and roughly form an oval shape.
Red Birthmarks (also known as macular stains) develop before or shortly after birth and are related to the vascular (blood vessel) system. There are a number of different types:
- Angel kisses, which usually appear on the forehead and eyelids.
- Stork bites, which appear on the back of the neck, between the eyebrows on the forehead, or on eyelids of newborns. They may fade away as the child grows, but often persist into adulthood.
- Port-wine stains, which are flat deep-red or purple birthmarks made up of dilated blood capillaries (small blood vessels). They often appear on the face and are permanent.
- Strawberry hemangiomas, composed of small, closely packed blood vessels that grow rapidly and can appear anywhere on the body. They usually disappear by age nine.
- Cavernous hemangiomas are similar to strawberry hemangiomas but go more deeply into the layers of the skin. These can often be characterized by a bluish-purple color. They also tend to disappear naturally around school age.
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Dyshidrotic eczema: Overview
What is dyshidrotic eczema?
Dyshidrotic (dis-hi-drah- tic) eczema (DE) is a common group of skin conditions in which the skin cannot protect itself as well as it should, so the person often gets itchy, dry skin).
DE causes itchy, dry skin. People also develop small, deep-seated blisters, usually on their hands. It’s also possible to develop blisters on your feet.
Whether on your hands, feet, of both, the blisters are often very itchy and painful.
When the blisters clear (usually in 2 or 3 weeks), the skin tends to be red, dry, and cracked.
There is no cure for DE, so people can have flares. For many people, DE flares when they’re under a lot of stress, temperatures rise (such as in spring or summer), or their hands stay wet for long periods of time.
DE flares range from mild to debilitating. A severe flare on your feet can make walking difficult. Having many blisters on your hands can make it difficult to work and perform everyday tasks like shampooing your hair and washing dishes.
This common skin disease has many names, including:
- Cheiropompholyx (affects the hands)
- Dyshidrotic dermatitis
- Foot-and-hand eczema
- Pedopompholyx (affects the feet)
- Vesicular eczema
- Vesicular palmoplantar eczema
Image used with permission of the American Academy of Dermatology National Library of Dermatologic Teaching Slides.
Habif TP, Campbell JL, et al. “Pompholyx” (card #16). In: Dermatology DDxDeck. Mosby 2006.
Miller JL, Hurley HJ. “Diseases of the eccrine and apocrine sweat glands.” In: Bolognia JL, Jorizzo JL, et al, eds. Dermatology. Mosby Elsevier 2008. p. 543.