FOURTH QUARTER 2000, VOLUME 14, NO 4

What is it? A blemish or beauty mark?

IN THIS ISSUE

Feel better and look vibrant with a facelift

Your nose: form versus function

Ask the Surgeon / Health Tip / What’s New

What is it? A blemish or beauty mark?

Most of us can point to a small, inconspicuous beauty mark somewhere on our bodies. There are many types of skin blemishes; some are present at birth while others develop later in life. The following list defines the most common type of skin blemishes.

Hemangiomas , commonly called strawberry marks, are a collection of dilated capillaries that appear as bumpy, red blemishes. Most strawberries appear in infants, increase in size for a time, then shrink gradually and often disappear altogether.

Port wine stains are enlarged blood vessels under the skin that produce reddish to purplish discoloration of the skin, most often on the face. Port wine stains are present at birth, appearing in 3 out of 1,000 people. As the child grows, the birthmark will deepen in color and increase in size.

Café au lait spots are tan birthmarks caused by clusters of pigmented skin cells, i.e., an excess of melanin. Moles usually appear after birth. Those that appear at birth have a higher risk of becoming skin cancer, especially if it covers a large area.

Lentigines , also called age spots or liver spots, are harmless, oversized freckles. They appear as a result of aging and exposure to the sun.

Rosacea is distinguished by small, reddish bumps on the face that develop in middle aged individuals. Rosacea is not curable–although treatable–and the cause of the inflammation and redness is unknown.

Rhinophyma , or red-nose syndrome, is a severe form of rosacea localized on the nose. This type of blemish is a rare disorder that involves distended oil glands and a thickening of the upper layer of skin on the nose.

Seborrheic keratoses are common, benign tumors associated with aging skin. They are warty thickenings that can be anywhere from light skin color to dark brown little growths.

Actinic keratoses are patches of rough, reddish skin occurring generally in fair-skinned people. The growths sometimes develop after prolonged sun exposure, beginning as flat scaly areas that later develop into a hard wart-like surface, and can develop into skin cancers.

Xanthelasma refers to small, fatty bumps beneath the surface of the skin. They are elevated, yellowish growths that usually occur on the eyelids and appear later in life.

Telangiectases , also called couperose skin, are tiny, broken and dilated capillaries, or spider veins, that appear beneath the surface of the skin. Most frequently, this type of blemish appears on the cheeks or nose.

Most skin blemishes can be camouflaged with make-up or treated via topical creams, steroids, antibiotics, laser treatment, or surgical removal.

Make an appointment with your facial plastic surgeon today to discuss your aesthetic and medical concerns and the best mode of concealment or treatment.