Q: My daughter is 2 months old and has developed a bright-red mark on her face. It's slightly raised and is about the size of a pencil eraser. What is this?
A: It sounds like she has a hemangioma, a big name for a collection of small blood vessels near the surface of the skin. Though its appearance may be frightening because it looks so fragile and "angry," it's not painful or dangerous.
Hemangiomas occur in about one in 10 babies during the first year of life; they usually are present at birth or develop within a few weeks. Though they can grow larger during the first month or two, approximately one-third of hemangiomas will decrease in size as they outgrow their blood supply. Approximately 50 percent will shrink by age 5, and 85 percent to 90 percent disappear by the time a child is 10.
Because hemangiomas can bleed if scratched and also become a social burden as a child ages, talk to your doctor if your daughter's gets very large or unsightly. Laser treatment, steroids or minor surgery often can be used to safely decrease the size and/or change the color of most hemangiomas.