Wednesday, April 23 2014, 09:23 AM MDT
Good Question: Why Do Some People Get Birth Marks?
By Matt Gephardt
Produced by Michelle Poe
Photography by Brian Morris
Edited by Ryan Malavolta
(KUTV) Birthmarks have many names: stork bite, salmon patch, wine stain; But why do some people get them? That question came to me from a viewer named Anne. Anne says that neither she nor her husband have birth marks but her newborn has several. She wants to know why some people get them and others don't.
I took the question to Allison Triplitt, a dermatologist with University of Utah Healthcare. She says to answer that question, first you have to define birth mark.
“To a dermatologist, that really just means a mark that is present at birth," she said.
A mole can be a birthmark, named for its resemblance to a burrowing mole. So too is a port-wine stain, a birthmark named for its resemblance to spilled wine. There also several other variances of skin pigmentation which Dr. Triplitt relates to the color of an eye.
“The eye is not brown, green or blue, but really a mixture of colors,” she said.
And like the color of your eye, most birthmarks are simply cosmetic but in some cases, birthmarks can be precursors for skin cancer or even a rare syndrome that can lead to seizures.
Doctor Triplitt says whether or not you get a birth mark is probably tied to your genetics.
(Copyright 2013 Sinclair Broadcasting Group)