A birthmark is a discolored patch or spot of skin that’s present at birth or develops shortly after, and its color can vary from brown, black, bluish to blue-gray. Birthmarks include moles, cafe-au-lait spots and mongolian spots. Moles are extremely common and are visible as dense, small clusters of pigmented skin cells that usually appear after birth. Large moles that are present at birth (congenital nevi) have a higher chance of developing into skin cancer.
Generally, risk corresponds to the size of the mole - the larger the area, the higher the risk. Regular self exams are encouraged and an annual assessment by a qualified physician is recommended to monitor for any changes. Be aware of any differences in terms of size, color, bleeding or itching at the site of the birthmark. Cafe-au-lait spots are light tan in color, and are so termed because they resemble the shade once cream is mixed with coffee. These skin discolorations are considered to be normal, however, they can indicate an impairment in the cellular growth of nerve tissues. A mongolian spot looks like a bruise due to its bluish color - they are most commonly found over the lower back or buttocks. Mongolian spots do not evolve into cancer, but they are more frequently found on people with darker skin.
If you’re not certain, it's always best to seek medical advice. It's also important to note that daily sunscreen use can help to reduce the risk of developing skin cancer.