Some time back, I read about a couple whose baby was taken from them by the authorities because they felt that the baby, who was only a couple of months old, was a victim of child abuse. The authorities noticed that the baby’s buttocks had several large blue bruise-like spots. The couple appeared devastated but later it was revealed to them and to the authorities that those bruises were actually Mongolian spots. Well, all’s well that ends well but can you imagine the trauma both the infant and the parents must have felt? And all that just for some silly spots!
What are Mongolian spots?
Mongolian spots are nothing but a type of birthmark that can be brown, slate grey or blue black in color. Their only claim to fame is that they can resemble bruise marks. These spots have edges that are commonly indistinct and are mostly found on the legs, back, shoulders or sides of the body. The size of these Mongolian spots can vary from that of a pinhead to approximately six inches and an individual can have one or many of these spots present.
The thing about Mongolian Spots is that they are most commonly found among certain ethnicities. Research by the Clinical Pediatric Dermatology shows that almost 80% of all Asians, 90% of Native Americans and Africans and 70% of Hispanics have these spots. However, the percentage of fair skinned infants sporting these spots is under 10%. Hence the requirement of clearer classification is needed to avoid the potential assumption of these Mongolian Spots being mistaken as bruises.
Mongolian Spots – A medical problem?
Mongolian spots by medical definition are a collective group of melanocytes. Melanocytes are the skin cells that contain the skin pigment called Melanin. The closer these melanocytes are to the skin surface the browner they are. As they go deeper into the skin, the bluer they tend to appear. The good news is that these melanocytes are not related to any other skin or medical problem and also have not been linked with skin cancer.
The truth behind Mongolian Spots
Mongolian spots do not require any treatment as these spots tend to normally fade away with age. Most Mongolian spots normally disappear by the age of five but the spots that remain present till puberty are likely to be permanent birth marks. Since these marks are benign, there is no fear associated with them. They can also be removed by laser treatment but since most of these marks fade away naturally over time, it is advised by physicians to let them be.
Do you have Mongolian Spots? How have you dealt with them?