Birthmarks are essentially growths on the skin. They come in two basic forms, according to the Cleveland Clinic. The first is often referred to as a red birthmark, which is largely made up of blood vessels near the surface of the skin. The second is a pigmented birthmark, thought to consist of excess melanin. The methods used to remove a birthmark depend largely on the type.
Consult a dermatologist before trying to lighten, fade or remove a birthmark. Certain types of birthmarks can turn malignant as well as indicate an underlying condition, so a medical professional should assess the skin mark to evaluate potential complications prior to recommending treatment.
Undergo laser therapy to remove the birthmark, advises the American Academy of Dermatology. Port-wine stains, hemangiomas, café au lait spots and many other types of birthmarks respond favorably to laser therapy. Laser energy shrinks the blood vessels associated with the hyperpigmentation, causing the mark to fade and take on a color closer to the surrounding skin.
Freeze the birthmark through the process of cryotherapy, suggests the Cleveland Clinic. The extreme change in temperature causes the discolored area to die and eventually fall off.
Remove the birthmark with a surgical procedure. Congenital nevi are commonly treated in this fashion, but hemangiomas may sometimes require surgical intervention. In this form of treatment, a cosmetic surgeon creates an incision around the birthmark and extracts it from the skin. The area is rebuilt and the wound sutured or fitted with a skin graft.
Many birthmarks can be concealed by applying makeup to the area of hyperpigmentation. If you'd rather not go through a medical procedure, this is a viable option to hide the marking.
Corticosteroids are sometimes used to reduce large hemangiomas, explains the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology. Corticosteroids are administered either orally or through injections.
Experimental medications are available to reduce the signs of birthmarks, so talk to a doctor or dermatologist about the most recent developments in treatment.