Pigmented birthmarks

What is a pigmented birthmark?

Pigmented birthmarks are caused by clustering of pigmented cells that are normally spread out. 

How common are pigmented birthmarks?

They are very common and occur equally between male and female.

Where do they occur?

Anywhere on the body.

Types of pigmented birthmarks

Café au lait spot
Flat, tan spots that can appear anywhere on the body. They’re completely harmless, but if you or your child has more than five of them, you should be screened for neurofibromatosis or other genetic conditions.    

Slate gray nevus (“Mongolian blue spot”)
Large, blue-gray birthmarks that resemble bruises and commonly appear on the lower back or buttocks but can also be present on the arms and trunk. They’re completely harmless and usually fade without any treatment. Usually present from birth. They may last for months or years, but usually disappear by the age of four.They are more often seen on individuals with darker skin.

congenital nevus (“mole”)
Raised brown spots which are extremely common and can appear anywhere on the body. Larger congenital nevi have a greater risk of developing skin cancer and should be checked by a specialist, with any changes in size or shape reported. 


Most pigmented birthmarks are harmless and do not need to be treated. Many of these types of birthmark will not cause any issues or are likely to fade over time. They can be treated with laser depigmentation, or surgery depending on the patient preference and site of the lesion.

This site does not provide medical advice and is not a substitute for medical or professional care, and if you see a birthmark growing or changing significantly, see a specialist.