A Salmon patch is a rash-like skin mark and a widespread type of birthmark seen in babies. These birthmarks are usually harmless and disappear naturally. Salmon patches are the most common type of vascular birthmark. According to their location, these are also known as Angel Kiss or Stork Bite.
Salmon Patch: An Overview
Salmon patches commonly occur in babies. These birthmarks are caused by expanding or dilating tiny blood vessels called capillaries. Salmon patches on the face are called Angel’s Kisses, and on the back, Stork Bites. These birthmarks are so common that at least 7 out of 10 infants will have one or more salmon spots. An Angel Kiss tends to fade between the ages of one and two.
However, some parents report noticing Angel’s Kisses becoming more apparent temporarily when their child’s crying. On the other hand, Stork Bites usually don’t disappear on their own but are often covered by the hair on the back of the scalp. Salmon patches are different from port-wine stains as they do not get darker or larger and are not associated with any brain disorders or developmental syndromes. In addition, salmon patches are non-cancerous, but sometimes it becomes difficult to distinguish between a salmon patch and a port-wine stain.
Signs and Symptoms
Most babies have salmon spots before birth, but about 80% of babies have them after birth. The patches usually disappear within one to two years, but some may remain on the skin for longer periods. Salmon patches are diagnosed based on their location and appearance. These patches are usually flattened, dull, and pink with irregular shapes.
Patches commonly appear over the eyelids, between the eyebrows, the nape of the neck, and around the nose or mouth. In clinical terms, they can appear as enlarged or stretched blood vessels of a particular area. Hence, when the baby’s muscles contract, or if the baby cries or gets excited, the dilated blood vessels become more prominent. However, parents must be aware that salmon patches are treatable and harmless. They will fade away gradually and not impact the baby’s growth and development.
Difference between Angel’s Kisses and Stork Bites
These are both salmon patches, with two major differences. The first difference is their location. Angel’s Kisses appear on the front side, typically around the mouth or on the nose. On the other hand, Stork Bites occur on the backside, i.e., on the nape of the neck. Another point differentiating Stork Bites and Angel’s Kisses is the timeline or duration they take to fade away. Angel’s Kisses are more likely to disappear than Stork Bites, but they may remain on the baby’s skin in some cases.
When to See a Doctor?
The skin around and on the salmon patch should behave and appear like the rest of the skin. However, consulting a doctor or skin specialist is advised in the following circumstances.
- Whenever you notice any mark or patch on your baby’s skin
- The salmon patch bleeds, develops cracks, or the area becomes wider or darker
- Any other related signs or symptoms
It is advisable to avoid any self-diagnosis or assumptions about your baby’s skin marks. A doctor can quickly make out a salmon patch simply by inspecting it. There might not be the need for a biopsy or test to prove the diagnosis unless your doctor suggests. Once your doctor confirms a salmon patch on your baby’s skin, you don’t need to be worried. It is harmless and will soon disappear. In some cases, the doctor may advise going for salmon patch treatment.
You can opt for the Laser treatment if the large birthmark does not fade away even after several years. It can help to reduce the size of a Stork Bite. The treatment targets the blood vessels that lie under the skin. Apart from being highly effective, they are painless as well. If you don’t want to opt for laser treatments, makeup could help conceal the marks.
A salmon patch may not always require treatment. It is advisable to wait for the patch to disappear on its own. It might take a year or two after the baby’s birth. In some cases, the birthmarks may be hereditary. However, it is normal for parents to be concerned about the reason for Angel’s Kisses or Stork Bites in infants. So, naturally, they may seek salmon patch treatment.
Any spot or mark on their baby’s skin may raise concerns in parents, and it’s pretty normal to feel this way. In most cases, Angel’s Kisses and Stork Bites remain on the skin for a short time and fade away on their own. However, it is advisable to consult your dermatologist on any concerns about the appearance of salmon spots.