Birthmark Removal: Myths, Facts, and Procedures

Treatment Types and Associated Risk Factors for Birthmark Removal

by Saima
Birthmark Removal through laser

Generally, birthmark removal is not needed unless you feel uncomfortable, nervous or insecure. Some marks fade over time without undergoing any medical treatment; however, some including moles and scars, require their removal due to prominent appearance or medical reasons. In this case, your dermatologist recommends the best possible procedures like medicines, laser, or surgery to safely remove or fade your birthmark. Moreover, keep in mind that the complete disappearance of any birthmark is quite difficult.

Birthmark Removal Procedures

Some factors determine the success of birthmark removals, such as the size of the mark, area of the affected skin, and its depth. Generally speaking, the larger the birthmark, the more challenging is its removal. Similarly, the skin of different body parts differs for thickness, treatment responsiveness, and healing capacity.

According to professor Seth Orlow, pediatric dermatologist; at New York University School of Medicine, most birthmarks are quite harmless and disappear on their own during the first few years of life.

The possible treatment options may include:

1- Medicines

Some medicines, such as corticosteroids and beta-blockers, are generally used for birthmark removal. These medicines help shrink the blood vessels that minimize the blood flow towards that specific area. However, these medicines can only work more effectively when the birthmarks are in the dividing phase or till the kid is 14-18 months old.

Beta-blockers and corticosteroids (anti-inflammatory medicine) help fade or disappear the birthmarks; however, if there is some leftover residue, it can be removed later by surgery or laser.

2- Birthmark Laser Removal

Laser puts a narrow beam of laser light on specific skin area carrying the birthmark. This light produces heat that eventually destroys the blood vessels of that area. When a laser beam hits the skin, it treats only a small area of a few millimeters known as a laser ‘spot’.

This treatment is more effective in infant stages but can be helpful for adults. Keeping the area clean and avoiding direct sunlight after laser treatment can prove to be beneficial for quick skin recovery.

According to a study, complete elimination of café au lait marks is possible by pulsed dye laser treatment without any lesion recurrence after treatment.

After laser therapy, you may expect some side effects or complications like:

  • Immediate dark bruising for few days to weeks after treatment.
  • Blistering or crusting
  • Skin shows sensitivity to touch
  • Redness, rash, or swelling after 24 hours of treatment
  • Total disappearance of birthmark can’t be expected

3- Surgical excision

Surgical excision with local or general anesthesia (depending upon the size and severity of birthmark) is a good choice for birthmark removal. In this case, a clean scalpel is used to remove the birthmark. Keeping the surgical area or stitches clean and dry is good for quick recovery.

After laser therapy, you may expect some side effects or complications like:

  • Bruising or redness
  • Swelling of the targeted area
  • Delayed healing process

Tips to Follow Before Birthmark Removal Treatment

You must be calm and  prepare your mind before surgical or laser treatment as it can boost the incredible results. You must follow the guidelines of your dermatologist along with the following tips:

  • Take care of your physical hygiene to avoid skin infections before or after treatment.
  • Clear all your ambiguities before taking the treatment.
  • Stop drinking alcohol and quit smoking
  • Tell your doctor about all the medicines you are taking for any disease especially blood thinning medicines.
  • Discuss with your doctor about pros and cons of the treatment.

Treatment Cost for Removing Birthmarks

The cost for treatment largely depends on type of birthmark, severity, and treatment options. Laser resurfacing costs more than surgical excision, and you have to manage more appointments from your dermatologist. However, mostly you need not take a break from your daily life activities and job during the treatment.

According to a report, the scar treatment market size throughout the world is expected to expand to almost double in size, approximately 35 billion US dollars from 2017-2023.

Risk Factors Associated with Birthmark Removal

It would be best to care about the doctor’s recommendations to avoid skin infections and associated skin problems after birthmark removal. However, some types of infections may appear despite of taking all the suggested precautions. These risks may include:

  • Rash or redness
  • Pus or blood from the laser-treated or surgical area.
  • Sleep disturbance due to medicines
  • Anxiety
  • Slowed heart rate

Does Birthmark Removal Hurt?

Little bearable pain as the snapping of rubber band can be expected in case of laser therapy or surgical procedures for birthmarks. The procedure is quick, you hardly have to bear any severe pain. However, children may need mild sedation or local anesthesia for carrying out the procedure.

After the procedure, you may also feel a mild burning sensation which generally goes away within 24 hours.

Can Birthmark Re-appear after Removal?

Mostly, birthmarks don’t re-appear but some types of pigmented skin lesions can appear after few months or even a year of treatment. In this case, you can take another treatment session depending upon the condition of your birthmark.

Your dermatologist’s main goal is to remove the birthmark completely or fade it to the extent that it lightens up about 70-90%. So, you notice the difference in visibility after treatment.

Are There Any Home Remedies for Birthmark Removal?

Some people focus on applying some home remedies for getting rid of birthmarks, but this approach is quite useless; instead can be harmful. Always consult your dermatologist for any treatment you want to take, as he shall prescribe you the proper handling depending upon your skin type, age, and size of birthmark.

Pictures Before and After Birthmark Removal

Have a look at the pictures before and after the treatment of birthmarks!

Before and after birthmark removal pictures

Fading the birthmarks

Comparison of birthmark before and after removal


Most birthmarks don’t need to be removed for medical reasons, but if you have one that you’d like to hide, you can use any of the above-mentioned procedures (surgery, laser, and medicine) to remove or fade the birthmark.  The key point is that in most of the cases, you can’t completely remove the birthmark. However, fading of blemishes is sure in each treatment procedure.

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