Strawberry birthmarks (also called strawberry hemangiomas, nevus vascularis, capillary hemangioma, hemangioma simplex) may appear anywhere on the body but are most common on the face, scalp, back or chest.
The marks consist of small closely packed blood vessels. They may be absent at birth and develop at several weeks. They usually grow rapidly, remain a fixed size and then subside. In most cases, strawberry hemangiomas disappear by the time a child is 9 years old. Some slight discoloration or puckering of the skin may remain at the site of the hemangioma.
The cause of most birthmarks is unknown. Most birthmarks are not inherited. Many folk tales and myths exist about the causes of birthmarks but none of these stories have been proven to explain the true causes of birthmarks.
Most birthmarks need no treatment. They often fade as a child grows older. However, some birthmarks may need treatment because of their location. For example, a raised birthmark near a child's eye may interfere with his or her ability to see. In rare cases, birthmarks are associated with other conditions, such as growths on the liver, lungs, stomach or intestines.
There are two main categories of birthmarks-red birthmarks and pigmented birthmarks. Red birthmarks are colored, vascular (having to do with blood vessels) skin markings that develop before or shortly after birth. Pigmented birthmarks are skin markings that are present at birth. The marks may range from brown or black to bluish or blue-gray in color.
The hemangioma is a common type of vascular birthmark. It is usually painless and harmless and its cause is not known. Color from the birthmark comes from the extensive development of blood vessels at the site.
Other types of hemangiomas include cavernous hemangiomas, port-wine stains and salmon patches.
Cavernous hemangiomas (also called angioma cavernosum or cavernoma) are similar to strawberry hemangiomas but are more deeply situated. They may appear as a red-blue spongy mass of tissue filled with blood. Some of these lesions may disappear on their own -- usually as a child approaches school age.